A Research Agenda for Environmental Management
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A Research Agenda for Environmental Management

Edited by Kathleen E. Halvorsen, Chelsea Schelly, Robert M. Handler, Erin C. Pischke and Jessie L. Knowlton

The understanding of global environmental management problems is best achieved through transdisciplinary research lenses that combine scientific and other sector (industry, government, etc.) tools and perspectives. However, developing effective research teams that cross such boundaries is difficult. This book demonstrates the importance of transdisciplinarity, describes challenges to such teamwork, and provides solutions for overcoming these challenges. It includes case studies of transdisciplinary teamwork, showing how these solutions have helped groups to develop better understandings of environmental problems and potential responses.
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Chapter 5: Transdisciplinary research teams: broadening the scope of who participates in research

Erin C. Pischke, Kathleen E. Halvorsen, Tuyeni Heita Mwampamba, Lily House-Peters, Amarella Eastmond, Lucía Pérez Volkow, Mayra de Carmen Fragoso Medina and Marcella Ohira


Transdisciplinary research that addresses global change or sustainability issues often involves coordinated actions and processes involving diverse groups that cross sectorial, disciplinary, and organizational boundaries. In this chapter, we describe several key kinds of groups and discuss the challenges of incorporating them into research teams. These challenges include avoiding bias and promoting equality among actors, equity among transdisciplinary actors, cultural and language differences, parallel play instead of integrated efforts and managing multiple motivations and expectations. The strategies we review to mitigate the challenges discussed above are: managing conflict and overcoming cultural barriers; constructing shared conceptual frameworks; utilizing boundary spanners; utilizing guided dialog; and consilience workshops.

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