Ten essentials for action-oriented research

(22 January 2018) – Researchers have come up with a list of ten essentials for action-oriented research that will accelerate learning about how to achieve transformations to sustainability. The first three essentials are a focus on transformations to low-carbon, resilient living; on solution processes and on ‘how to’ practical knowledge.

“Addressing challenges like climate change requires much more focus on learning how to achieve transformational changes in society,” says professor Ioan Fazey of the University of Dundee, the lead author. “But academia is not currently well set up to provide the know how about how to make change happen. This paper outlines a framework for more action-oriented and practical research that is needed for a more sustainable world.”

Tom Henfrey of the ECOLISE Knowledge and Learning working group and a contributor to the paper says: “There is a small but growing realisation among academics that research needs to make active contributions to societal transformation, not pretend it can be detached or objective. This paper is an important part of that trend and provides new insights into how innovative action-led research methodologies can strengthen and support community-led action for sustainability and climate change.”

The ten essentials for guiding action-oriented transformation and energy research are framed in relation to second-order science. Such research begins from the assumption that researchers are part of, and not separate from, the systems or issues they seek to understand.

Joint application of the essentials would create highly adaptive, reflexive, collaborative and impact-oriented research able to enhance capacity to respond to the climate challenge, say the researchers.

The list of ten essentials is freely available in the journal of Energy Research and Social Science.