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4.4.2 -

Working Group #4:

How do we research and evaluate transdisciplinarity?

To analyze the issue of research and evaluation of the processes in which a transdisciplinary approach is expected to be used, the participants of Working Group #4 referred to Professor Masini’s report on her research.

A working definition of transdisciplinarity, assumed as main reference for the internal

discussion was elaborated. In their view, c{multiplicity of disciplines that must integrate

“transdisciplinarity to solve a problem)).

is

conceived

as

a

Based on this ‘problem-solving-oriented

instrumental conception, essential steps to

undertake fruitful research based on a transdisciplinary

approach were isolated.

An “unambiguous”

definition

requirement.

Consequently,

it

the research itself

should

also

of the “research was stated, a clear be provided.

object” outline

was identified as preliminary of the most important goals of

It

could be

noted that,

although at

in

advance

the aim of

a research -

a first instance it would seem inappropriate to edge and consequently to force its possible unexpected

findings into an a priori

frame -

conceptual framework of the often the case, a reorganization

inquiry of the

an explicit unmistakable description has been proved fruitful exactly when, research itself is needed.

of

the

as

it is

Furthermore, it was made clear how the transdisciplinary team has to be preferably formed by people having “dtfferent cultural backgrounds”.

It was a widely accepted opinion that this team is supposed to utilize transdisciplinary processes and methods of analysis to reach an immediate provisional outcome, which has to be immediately evaluated.

It was suggested that as fruitful evaluation technique one could try to answer questions

like:

  • a.

    does the outcome meet the goals fixed at the beginning of the research itself?

  • b.

    does the outcome show an underlying consistent way of inquiry?, etc.

This outcome, once methodologically

analyzed, should be used as input for new

transdisciplinary programme and

investigations to in other theoretical

be carried domains.

out

both

within

the same research

Future disciplinary practices are also supposed to be positively affected by this feedback: this is a further element endorsing a conception of transdisciplinarity not alternative but rather complementary to the notion of “discipline”.

In this view, the development of transdisciplinary methods and principles is intended to support the various disciplines in increasing their cohesion and consistency.

34

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