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1 – 10 of over 2000
Article
Publication date: 7 March 2016

John van Breda, Josephine Musango and Alan Brent

This paper aims to improve the understanding of individual transdisciplinary PhD research in a developing country context, focusing on three individual PhD case studies in…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to improve the understanding of individual transdisciplinary PhD research in a developing country context, focusing on three individual PhD case studies in South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

Multiple-case method was used, and three completed transdisciplinary PhD research efforts undertaken at the Stellenbosch University were selected. They were coordinated through the TsamaHub, an inter-faculty platform at the University which organises educational modules for transdisciplinary research. Using actual research experiences and reflections of the three individual PhDs, the paper evaluates their work in terms of ontological, epistemological, methodological and methodical/methods aspects.

Findings

The central challenge to individual PhD researchers is engagement with non-academic actors to enable joint problem formulation, analysis and transformation. To overcome this, the paper suggests that developing individual epistemic relationships to build “transdisciplinary epistemic communities” should be considered for inclusion as an intentional aspect of transdisciplinary research design.

Research limitations/implications

Transdisciplinary epistemic communities” is still a concept in its infancy and needs more work before it may be theoretically and practically useful.

Practical implications

Continuously guiding the individual transdisciplinary research process in a reflexive, recursive, transparent and equal manner is absolutely critical because transdisciplinary research cannot be done successfully if dominated by overly methods-driven approaches.

Originality/value

The discourse around transdisciplinary methodology has major implications for the design of individual PhD research. The paper provides recommendations to enhance the theory and practice of individual transdisciplinary PhD research.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 November 2020

Cecília Galvão, Cláudia Faria, Wanda Viegas, Amélia Branco and Luís Goulão

This paper aims to understand if a project work methodology proposed to students, based on an inquiry perspective and dealing with different dimensions of sustainable…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to understand if a project work methodology proposed to students, based on an inquiry perspective and dealing with different dimensions of sustainable development, contributed to creating an interdisciplinary solution for a problem on sustainability challenged by food production and consumption, and also to understand if this methodological approach is perceived as important to their learning as professionals and citizens. Data were collected by direct observation, a questionnaire applied to the students and students’ individual reflections.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper aims to present the research results of the impact of a pedagogical approach on students, implemented as a part of the Doctoral Programme in Sustainability Science, which was designed following an innovative model at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. The main drivers include building a new body of interdisciplinary knowledge leading to the application of science to address real problems towards transdisciplinary education.

Findings

The results suggest great potential for an inquiry perspective in trying to solve a real problem. Students’ proposals were realistic, viable and complementary enough to collectively contribute in response to the global problem. The use of approaches acquired from different areas of knowledge was clear, and the project methodology was well understood. Students considered the experience very rewarding in terms of learning and contributing positively to their personal and professional development.

Originality/value

This Doctoral programme is anchored in a progressive continuum encompassing holistic debates with a multidisciplinary team of professors in environments that promote interdisciplinary attitudes and new knowledge, and also project work aimed at guiding students to transdisciplinary learning, which constitutes an innovative form of dealing with the complex challenges created by the science of sustainability.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 August 2016

Jonathan Garnett

The purpose of this paper is to show how transdisciplinarity is woven into the key curriculum components of individually negotiated work-based learning (WBL) programmes…

1228

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how transdisciplinarity is woven into the key curriculum components of individually negotiated work-based learning (WBL) programmes and to focus upon the performative value of knowledge in the work context.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws upon WBL academic literature and the authors 22 years operational experience of WBL.

Findings

The paper suggests that while university-level WBL can enhance the performance of organizations and individuals it is also inherently challenging and challenged by the hegemony of subject disciplines and disciplinary-based university structures. WBL is concerned with knowledge which is often unsystematic, socially constructed and is action focused in order to achieve outcomes of significance to work. This contests the supremacy of the role of the university in curriculum design, delivery and validation of knowledge and means that work-based knowledge is often seen as transdisciplinary rather than conforming to traditional subject disciplines (Boud and Solomon, 2001).

Research limitations/implications

Central to the distinctive nature of university WBL programmes is the role of the external organization as a partner with the university and the individual learner in the planning of learning activities which are intended to have significance for the workplace. For individual knowledge to become organizational knowledge, and thus fully contribute to the intellectual capital of the organization, it must be shared and accepted by others. It follows that a key concern for organizations must be the facilitation of the recognition of knowledge and this goes beyond using a transdisciplinary lens when guiding and assessing the work of individual higher education students.

Practical implications

The paper has practical implications for the design and facilitation of WBL programmes at higher education level.

Originality/value

Provides an informed and sustained examination of the concept of WBL and knowledge.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 19 August 2021

Brian M. Belcher, Rachel Claus, Rachel Davel and Stephanie M. Jones

The purpose of this study is to assess the contributions of graduate research to social innovation and change for learning and improved transdisciplinary practice…

1054

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to assess the contributions of graduate research to social innovation and change for learning and improved transdisciplinary practice. Universities, as centers of teaching and research, face high demand from society to address urgent social and environmental challenges. Faculty and students are keen to use their research to contribute to social innovation and sustainable development. As part of the effort to increase societal impact, research approaches are evolving to be more problem-oriented, engaged and transdisciplinary. Therefore, new approaches to research evaluation are also needed to learn whether and how research contributes to social innovation, and those lessons need to be applied by universities to train and support students to do impactful research and foster an impact culture.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses a theory-based evaluation method to assess the contributions of three completed doctoral research projects. Each study documents the project’s theory of change (ToC) and uses qualitative data (document review, surveys and interviews) to test the ToC. This paper uses a transdisciplinary research (TDR) quality assessment framework (QAF) to analyze each projects’ design and implementation. This paper then draws lessons from the individual case studies and a comparative analysis of the three cases on, namely, effective research design and implementation for social transformation; and training and support for impactful research.

Findings

Each project aimed to influence government policy, organizational practice, other research and/or the students’ own professional development. All contributed to many of their intended outcomes, but with varying levels of accomplishment. Projects that were more transdisciplinary had more pronounced outcomes. Process contributions (e.g. capacity-building, relationship-building and empowerment) were as or more important than knowledge contributions. The key recommendations are for: researchers to design intentional research, with an explicit ToC; higher education institutions (HEI) to provide training and support for TDR theory and practice; and HEIs to give more attention to research evaluation.

Originality/value

This is the first application of both the outcome evaluation method and the TDR QAF to graduate student research projects, and one of very few such analyses of research projects. It offers a broader framework for conceptualizing and evaluating research contributions to social change processes. It is intended to stimulate new thinking about research aims, approaches and achievements.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 February 2010

Inna Semetsky

This conceptual paper aims to explore ecoliteracy in education as originated in Fritjof Capra's ongoing efforts to foster ecological awareness through schools. Future

1106

Abstract

Purpose

This conceptual paper aims to explore ecoliteracy in education as originated in Fritjof Capra's ongoing efforts to foster ecological awareness through schools. Future leaders as ecoliterate will have developed an enhanced perception, a sense of value‐judgment in experience and sustainable self and other relations.

Design/methodology/approach

The argument is supported by contemporary science of the complementary pairs as based on coordination dynamics.

Findings

The paper presents Capra's work positioning it alongside new “transdisciplinary education”. The paper argues for the critical examination of the particular structure of knowledge able to inform/develop ecoliteracy, as well as of the nature of educational leadership.

Originality/value

The paper revisits John Dewey's philosophy and his pragmatic inquiry as especially significant for developing ecological thinking and presents his method of deliberation as remarkably similar to “imaginative narrative”, one of the methodologies of futures studies.

Details

Foresight, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Paula McIver Nottingham

The purpose of this paper is to examine work-based learning (WBL) pedagogy within higher education (HE) related to the use of the “field of study” concept.

1524

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine work-based learning (WBL) pedagogy within higher education (HE) related to the use of the “field of study” concept.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper reviews WBL literature to discuss the original context of the concept and relates this to current pedagogic approaches through qualitative interviews and written explanations.

Findings

WBL pedagogy continues to use the concepts from field of study WBL but the study also indicates that academic practitioners are developing pedagogy to meet the needs of current workplace and educational policy.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is limited in its scope due to the small number of respondents but there are potential implications about emerging directions for this pedagogic range.

Practical implications

The paper argues that field of study WBL is still relevant to existing practice but further engagement and research surrounding WBL pedagogy is needed to examine this range of HE.

Originality/value

The added value is the evidence of evolving WBL pedagogy that can inform issues of flexibility within HE provision.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 October 2021

Colin Bien and Coco Klußmann

The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework that systematically captures the ambiguity of different understandings about science, the university and its relation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework that systematically captures the ambiguity of different understandings about science, the university and its relation to society, while conceptualising sustainability. Following Corley and Gioia (2004, p. 174) on identity ambiguity and change, it seems pivotal to better understanding the ambiguity of sustainability in relation to academic cultures and university models to manage the transition more effectively.

Design/methodology/approach

The nature of this paper’s objectives as well as the wide thematic scope leads to the need of exploring a broad knowledge base. This was best addressed by an exploratory literature review with data collection from primary and secondary sources. The data was interpreted through a hermeneutic analysis and resulted in the inductive development of first categories and goals (further referred to as category development). In addition, a multi-method approach further adjusted the categories and raised their empirical validity and social robustness.

Findings

Implementing sustainability involves dealing with a double bound ambiguity due to organisational and individual identity reasons. Five fields of ambiguity were developed to systemise the conceptualisation of a sustainable university along contradictory understandings of science, the university and sustainability. These fields offer a framework to qualitatively assess the degree of sustainability in higher education institutions. Arguments for and against sustainability in universities have been categorised around five criteria and associated to the fields of ambiguity. The finding indicates that meaning in organisational change management for sustainability can be considered both, a potential driver and barrier for a sustainability transition in universities.

Research limitations/implications

This paper exclusively focussed on the internal perspective and left aside any external factors that influence the sustainability transition, such as political measures to stimulate sustainability in higher education. In addition, the operational dimension of a sustainable university has been neglected, which is by all means a necessary and important aspect. The interrelation of the identified goals has not been discussed.

Originality/value

This paper focusses on the conceptualisation and understanding of sustainability within the institution, an often-forgotten but fundamental aspect of implementation. The fields of ambiguity are designed to be applied for assessing the “degree of maturity” of a sustainable university. The fields reveal the different understandings about the role, the mission and the governance of universities, stemming from competing preferences about goals and their assumed relations by various stakeholders of a higher education institutions. The five fields are not an attempt to resolve the hidden contradictions and tensions in a sustainability transition, but to state them clearly to anticipate resistances and conflicts that hinder the development of a shared understanding.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 April 2007

Carol Costley and Pauline Armsby

Development activities at work require the use of abilities that include a range of methodological knowledge. This research seeks to develop and promote these abilities…

1627

Abstract

Purpose

Development activities at work require the use of abilities that include a range of methodological knowledge. This research seeks to develop and promote these abilities into the curriculum.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyses information from a variety of subject areas about the teaching and learning of practitioner‐led research and development projects. An action research approach was used in which staff across one university were asked to draw on best practice and expertise.

Findings

Differing approaches to practitioner‐led research were identified. A web‐based resource to facilitate the understanding of methodology in the practitioner‐led projects of students on work‐based and work‐related university programmes was developed.

Research limitations/implications

It is difficult to learn how to become a successful practitioner researcher outside of the “real‐time” contexts of the work environment.

Practical implications

To manage successful developments at work, students need to become “practitioner‐researchers”. The web‐based resource provides searchable examples of projects undertaken at work in placements and by part time students in their full time work. Practice‐based project information on a generic template cuts across the disciplines and uses a range of different methodologies. The practitioner‐led projects result in change or recommendations for change in professional practice.

Originality/value

This paper focuses especially on the methodological approaches used by undergraduate students. This kind of understanding is normally expected in the postgraduate curriculum where students are more likely to have work‐based experience. Data represented various and differing standpoints regarding research paradigms, different disciplinary practices and different practices between the Professions.

Details

Journal of Workplace Learning, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-5626

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 October 2011

Kevin J. Flint

Over the past two decades across a number of sectors of the economy there has been an ever increased interest in attempting to understand the mediation of “tacit knowledge

Abstract

Purpose

Over the past two decades across a number of sectors of the economy there has been an ever increased interest in attempting to understand the mediation of “tacit knowledge” in developing professional expertise. Much thought has been invested in studies which attempt to resolve the difficulty of revealing tacit knowledge and finding ways of transferring it within institutions and across organisations. But, in general these recent studies, and the approaches they have adopted, do not take sufficient account of the phenomenology of human being, Dasein, which is essentially temporal: the purpose of this paper is to address this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach here is based on a phenomenological and deconstructive study of two small–scale comparative cases of the mediation of tacit knowledge in the development of professional expertise in Higher Education, within the context of social practice and educational practice. The cases will each serve to provide a focus upon professional expertise in teaching in each of these domains of professional practice.

Findings

Deconstruction will serve to illuminate the essential differences between what is observed and re‐presented as episodes of teaching and the complex interplay of temporality that in each case is unique to the individual human being.

Originality/value

In the field of work‐based learning this paper adopts a novel approach. The deconstruction of tacit knowledge against indications drawn from Heidegger's ontology serves to bring into sharp relief the unfolding of essential forms of technology. By focusing the analysis upon the language in which the knowledge is generated and the phenomenology of human being, Dasein, the study will seek to explore some of the implications of attempting to convert “tacit knowledge” into a technology that can be transferred across organisations and institutions. It will illuminate the situation‐specific nature of tacit knowledge as grounds for professional expertise.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 January 2017

Petra Biberhofer and Christian Rammel

This paper aims to explain the relevance of science-society interfaces and their potential for higher education institutions to engage stakeholders in supporting…

1308

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explain the relevance of science-society interfaces and their potential for higher education institutions to engage stakeholders in supporting sustainable change in cities, via the transdisciplinary learning and teaching approach of the Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development Vienna.

Design/methodology/approach

This case study stresses new forms of transdisciplinary learning and teaching as essential drivers of a sustainable urban development. The inter- and transdisciplinary teaching course “Sustainability Challenge”, which has been offered since 2010 as a collaborative project by the four largest universities of Vienna, highlights the value of experienced-based learning approaches and the method of service learning. Special attention is devoted to the opportunities and challenges of the setting provided by the applied science-society interface and the particular method of service learning with its concrete benefits for the city of Vienna.

Findings

In analyzing the conceptual framework of the teaching course as well as conducted service learning projects, the authors prove potential benefits of transdisciplinary learning and teaching for real answers to urban sustainability challenges. Portraits of the most successful service learning projects are presented, with partners such as the City of Vienna, an organization and one enterprise. Lessons learned from the case study and key elements of the institutionalized umbrella function of science-society interfaces that provide prerequisites for applying transdisciplinary learning and teaching are shown.

Originality/value

Finally, main requirements, challenges and necessary institutional settings for transdisciplinary learning and teaching are summarized.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 2000