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Ten essentials for transformative research

A world-leading team of transformations researchers, including cCHANGE's Karen O'Brien, outline the 10 essentials for making sustainability research more action and solutions-oriented in a new paper.Read More

Our world is facing complex interconnected changes that are often difficult to understand, and unfortunately, often have detrimental environmental and social impacts. Action is required … but can we really change a problem by using the same kind of thinking that created it in the first place?

The changes we face require solutions that emerge from transformative ways of thinking and acting, and the way knowledge is produced and used can play a key role in this. Often more theoretical than practical, much of the current approach to knowledge production doesn’t focus on action and solutions.

So, the key question is … how do we create knowledge in implementing and developing innovative and transformative solutions?

This issue has been explored by cCHANGE’s Karen O’Brien together with more than 40 others researchers and professionals, in the freely accessible research paper, Ten essentials for action-oriented and second order energy transitions, transformations and climate change research.

The article identifies ways to ensure that knowledge production contributes more directly to social needs. It highlights 10 essentials that research and science should consider for developing action and solution-oriented approaches:

Ten essentials for action-oriented transformation research

  1. Focus on transformations to low-carbon, resilient living
  2. Focus on solution processes
  3. Focus on ‘how to’ practical knowledge
  4. Approach research as occurring from within the system being intervened
  5. Work with normative aspects
  6. Seek to transcend current thinking
  7. Take a multi-faceted approach to understand and shape change
  8. Acknowledge the value of alternative roles of researchers
  9. Encourage second-order experimentation
  10. Be reflexive

The more they are applied together, the more these ten essentials will have great impact in improving possibilities for learning about sustainability and transformative change.

The article published in Energy Research & Social Science is available here.

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