Bridging transdisciplinarity and action research

Transdisciplinarity brings a focus on real-world problems. Action research focuses on solutions. Yet, both transdisciplinarity and action research share similar principles such as reflexivity and participation. How, then, might transdisciplinarity and action research ‘speak’ to each other?

In our new article, our group of four graduate students and one community partner reflected on our experiences of working together on a community food security project. As neither of us had previously worked together, nor shared disciplines in common, we found it essential to first develop a guiding framework for collaboration. Our thinking, which revolved around transdisciplinarity and action research, led us to develop the transdisciplinary action research framework.

We found that applying the framework supported the development of shared purposes, mutual responsibility, and meaningful relationships. One main concern with the framework, however, was not achieving the full integration of our disciplines and practices. Yet, transdisciplinarity has offered us important insights into engaging with complex sustainability problems and integrating diverse knowledge systems. Overall the framework helped us, to a ‘good enough’ extent, integrate different knowledge which led to the co-publication of the Farmer-led Research Guidebook, of what we perceived to be a high level of collaborative effort and useful to all of us.

For us, reflecting has made a substantial difference in the quality of our work. If you have engaged in collaborative research, what guiding framework did you use? What challenges did you face and how did you solve them? Finally, what was the most important lesson you learned?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s