Skip to main content Accesibility Help
×
×
Home

Thinking about knowing: conceptual foundations for interdisciplinary environmental research

  • SANJEEV KHAGRAM (a1), KIMBERLY A. NICHOLAS (a2) (a3), DENA MACMYNOWSKI BEVER (a4), JUSTIN WARREN (a2), ELIZABETH H. RICHARDS (a2) (a5), KIRSTEN OLESON (a2), JUSTIN KITZES (a6) (a7), REBECCA KATZ (a6) (a8), REBECA HWANG (a2) (a9), REBECCA GOLDMAN (a2) (a10), JASON FUNK (a2) (a11) and KATE A BRAUMAN (a2) (a12)...
Summary

Working across knowledge-based research programmes, rather than institutional structures, should be central to interdisciplinary research. In this paper, a novel framework is proposed to facilitate interdisciplinary research, with the goals of promoting communication, understanding and collaborative work. Three core elements need to be addressed to improve interdisciplinary research: the types (forms and functions) of theories, the underlying philosophies of knowledge and the combination of research styles; these three elements combine to form the research programme. Case studies from sustainability science and environmental security illustrate the application of this research programme-based framework. This framework may be helpful in overcoming often oversimplified distinctions, such as qualitative/quantitative, deductive/inductive, normative/descriptive, subjective/objective and theory/practice. Applying this conceptual framework to interdisciplinary research should foster theoretical advances, more effective communication and better problem-solving in increasingly interdisciplinary environmental fields.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Correspondence: Kimberly Nicholas Tel: +46 46 222 4809; e-mail: kimberly.nicholas.academic@gmail.com
References
Hide All
Atkinson, P. & Hammersley, M. (1994) Ethnography and participant observation. In: Handbook of Qualitative Research, ed. Denzin, N. K. & Lincoln, Y. S., pp. 248261. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: SAGE Publications.
Bates, R.H., Greif, A., Levi, M., Rosenthal, J.-L. & Weingast, B.R. (1998) Analytic Narratives. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Biagioli, M. (1999) The Sciences Studies Reader. New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
Bolin, B., Clark, W., Corell, R., Dickson, N., Faucheux, S., Gallopin, G., Gruebler, A., Hall, M., Huntley, B., Jager, J., Jaeger, C., Jodha, N., Kasperson, R., Kates, R., Lowe, I., Mabogunje, A., Matson, P., McCarthy, J., Mooney, H., Moore, B., O'Riordan, T., Schellnhuber, J. & Svedin, U. (2000) Statement of the Friibergh Workshop on Sustainability Science [www document]. URL http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/BCSIA/sust.nsf/pubs/pub3
Collier, P. & Hoeffler, A. (2004) Greed and grievance in civil war. Oxford Economic Papers 56: 563595.
Dallmayr, F.R. & McCarthy, T.A. (1977) Understanding and Social Inquiry. Hampton, VA, USA: Books Ahoy, Inc.
Demeritt, D. (1998) Science, social constructivism and nature. In: Remaking Reality: Nature at the Millennium, ed. Braun, B. & Castree, N., pp. 173193. New York, NY, USA: Routledge.
Demeritt, D. (2002) What is the social construction of nature? A typology and sympathic critique. Progress in Human Geography 26 (6): 767790.
Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, Y.S. (1994) Introduction: entering the field of qualitative research. In: Handbook of Qualitative Research, ed. Denzin, N. K. & Lincoln, Y. S., pp. 117. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: SAGE Publications.
Durkheim, E. (1894) Les Règles de la méthode sociologique. Revue philosophique 37; 38: 465498, 577–607; 414–439, 468–482.
Friedman, M. (1953) The methodology of positive economics. In: Essays in Positive Economics, pp. 343. Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Geertz, C. (1973) Thick description: toward an interpretive theory of culture. In: The Interpretive Theory of Culture, pp. 330. Boulder, CO, USA: Basic Books.
Glaser, B. & Strauss, A. (1967) The Discovery of Grounded Theory. Chicago, IL, USA: Aldine Publishing.
Greene, J. & Caracelli, V. J. (1997) Crafting mixed-method evaluation designs. New Directions for Evaluation 74 (Summer): 1932.
Gross, P. R. & Levitt, N. (1994) Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with Science. London, UK: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Hempel, C. (1965) The function of general laws in history. In: Aspects of Scientific Explanation, pp. 231244. New York, NY, USA: Free Press.
Homer-Dixon, T. (1994) Environmental scarcities and violent conflict: evidence from the cases. International Security 19 (1): 540.
Hume, D. (1964) A treatise of human nature. In: The Philosophical Works, ed. Green, T.H. & Grose, T.H.. Darmstadt, Germany: Scientia Verlag Aalen.
Humphreys, M. (2005) Natural resources, conflict and conflict resolution: uncovering the mechanisms. Journal of Conflict Resolution 49 (4): 508537.
Jick, T. (1979) Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods: triangulation in action. Administrative Science Quarterly 24 (4): 602611.
Kates, R.W., Clark, W.C., Corell, R., Hall, J.M., Jaeger, C.C., Lowe, I., McCarthy, J.J., Schellnhuber, H.J., Bolin, B., Dickson, N.M., Faucheux, S., Gallopin, G.C., Grubler, A., Huntley, B., Jager, J., Jodha, N.S., Kasperson, R.E., Mabogunje, A., Matson, P., Mooney, H., Moore, B., O'Riordan, T. & Svedin, U. (2001) Sustainability science. Science 292 (5517): 641642.
Khagram, S. & Ali, S. (2006) Environment and security. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 31: 395411.
King, G., Keohane, R.O. & Verba, S. (1996) Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Kuhn, T.S. (1962) Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Kuhn, T.S. (1970) Logic of discovery or psychology of research? In: Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, ed. Lakatos, I. & Musgrave, A., pp. 124. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Lakatos, I. (1970) Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programmes. In: Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, ed. Lakatos, I. & Musgrave, A., pp. 91138. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Marcus, G.E. (1998) Ethnography Through Thick and Thin. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Matson, P.A., Naylor, R. & Ortiz-Monasterio, I. (1998) Integration of environmental, agronomic, and economic aspects of fertilizer management. Science 280 (5360): 112115.
Nicolescu, B. (2008) Transdisciplinarity. Theory and Practice. Cresskill, NJ, USA: Hampton Press.
Oreskes, N., Shrader-Frechette, K. & Belitz, K. (1994) Verification, validation, and confirmation of numerical models in the earth sciences. Science 263 (5147): 641646.
Pedynowski, D. (2003) Science(s): which, when, and whose? Probing the meta-narrative of scientific knowledge in the social construction of nature. Progress in Human Geography 27 (6): 761778.
Popper, K. (1963) Science: conjectures and refutation. In: Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues, ed. Curd, M. & Cover, J.A., pp. 310. New York, NY, USA: Norton.
Rabinow, P. & Sullivan, W.M. (1987) The interpretive turn: a second look. In: Interpretive Social Science: A Second Look, ed. Rabinow, P. & Sullivan, W.M., pp. 130. Berkeley, CA, USA: University of California Press.
Ragin, C. (1997) Turning the tables: how case-oriented research challenges variable-oriented research. Comparative Social Research 16: 2742.
Rossman, G.B. & Rallis, S.F. (1998) Learning in the Field: An Introduction to Qualitiative Research. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: SAGE Publications.
Shadish, W., Cook, T.D. & Cambell, D.T. (2002) Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Generalized Causal Inference. Boston, MA, USA: Houghton Mifflin.
Tetlock, P.E. & Belkin, A. (1996) Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics. Princeton, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press.
Weber, M. (1949) Objectivity in social science and social policy. In: The Methodology of the Social Sciences, ed. Shils, E. & Finch, H.T. a. e., pp. 2437. Glencoe, IL, USA: Free Press.
Weber, M. (1962) Basic Concepts in Sociology by Max Weber. Translated and with an Introduction by H. P. Secher. New York, NY, USA: The Citadel Press.
Woolgar, S. (1988) Science: The Very Idea. Chichester, Sussex, UK: Ellis Horwood, Ltd.
Yin, R.K. (2003) Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: SAGE Publications.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Environmental Conservation
  • ISSN: 0376-8929
  • EISSN: 1469-4387
  • URL: /core/journals/environmental-conservation
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed