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Thinking about knowing: conceptual foundations for interdisciplinary environmental research

  • Sanjeev Khagram
  • Kimberly Nicholas
  • Dena Macmynowski Bever
  • Justin Warren
  • Elizabeth H. Richards
  • Kirsten Oleson
  • Justin Kitzes
  • Rebecca Katz
  • Rebeca Hwang
  • Rebecca Goldman
  • Jason Funk
  • Kate A. Brauman
Publiceringsår: 2010
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 388-397
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Environmental Conservation
Volym: 37
Nummer: 4
Dokumenttyp: Artikel
Förlag: Cambridge Univ Press


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.



  • Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • theory development
  • sustainability science
  • research methods
  • philosophy of science
  • interdisciplinary research
  • epistemology
  • environment and security
  • environmental studies


  • ISSN: 0376-8929

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