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Interdisciplinarity in integrated environmental research in Germany : lessons from an empirical evaluation

Interdisziplinarität in der integrierten Umweltforschung in Deutschland: Beispiele aus einer empirischen Evaluation
[working paper]

Osthorst, Winfried; Schuchardt, Bastian; Birner, Regina

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-219619

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Corporate Editor Universität Bremen, Forschungszentrum Nachhaltigkeit (artec)
Abstract "Endeavours to understand the complex interactions between society and environment have stimulated a lively debate over the prerequisites for interdisciplinarity and integrated environmental research. One highly contested issue is whether, and to what extent, interdisciplinarity can be achieved within the framework of present academic structures, considering their strong disciplinary orientation. Some scholars see a need for a fundamental reorganisation of science and its links back to society, in order to be able to develop trans-disciplinary and problem-oriented knowledge. Other authors reject this position and highlight the need for strictly disciplinary research which then has to be integrated into interdisciplinary re-search by appropriate organisational means. Against this background, this article describes to what extent the research organisation and research practices currently applied in major German university-based environmental re-search programmes can be said to be interdisciplinary and integrative. The programmes were also examined to find out how different outcomes could be explained. The most important finding was that the full challenge of interdisciplinarity only becomes apparent during the actual research process. Being predominantly based on an additive form of integration of results, these research processes were multidisciplinary rather than interdisciplinary, but nevertheless produced an interdisciplinary 'added value' beyond disciplinary perspectives. Variations in outcomes corresponded to differences in the organisation of the respective research processes and their management. Thus, while this study confirms the dependency of interdisciplinarity on suitable organisational structures and endeavours, it also points to the need for developing a supportive academic culture." (author's abstract)
Keywords Federal Republic of Germany; environmental research; sustainable development; interdisciplinarity; research approach; knowledge transfer; applied science; research practice; interdisciplinary research; integration; university
Classification Sociology of Science, Sociology of Technology, Research on Science and Technology; Ecology, Environment
Method applied research; evaluation; empirical; quantitative empirical
Free Keywords Akademie; Struktur; Disziplin; sozialer Prozess; Umwelt
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
City Bremen
Page/Pages 17 p.
Series artec-paper, Nr. 148
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne
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