Integrating knowledge: challenges raised by the "Inventory of Synthesis"

Defila, Rico and Di Giulio, Antonietta. (2015) Integrating knowledge: challenges raised by the "Inventory of Synthesis". Futures, 65. pp. 123-135.

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The paper is devoted to the crucial issue of inter- and trans-disciplinary research: the synthesis. Its aim is to contribute to the enhancement of the scientific quality of integrated knowledge. The synthesis is the common result that has to be achieved through processes of integration. In order to be successful and lead to scientifically valid results, such processes of integration have to be convincing in terms of methods and in terms of epistemology. However, in inter- and trans-disciplinary projects, the fact that methods of integration have to be chosen and described in a way that allows a judgement of the validity and scope of findings is often neglected. Furthermore, there is a marked lack of concern in many such projects about the epistemic challenges that should be met in order to integrate knowledge originating from different fields. We introduce the “Inventory of Synthesis”, an instrument developed to facilitate the epistemic analysis and description of the integrated results of inter- or trans-disciplinary research and to identify where methods of integration are needed. This instrument thus helps to link the connected issues of the epistemic structure of the synthesis and of the choice of integration methods. Referring to the results of an interview study, we discuss the special challenge trans-disciplinary research has to cope with in dealing with non-academic knowledge. We endorse a double perspective, one from the point of view of inquiring into processes of integration and one from the point of view of designing and implementing them. Because we observe how the scholarly discourse on inter- and trans-disciplinary research and the demands accompanying the practical work in such projects risk drifting apart, we call for an approach to integration taking into account research findings on such processes and for research into integration informed by practical needs.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Aquatische Ökologie (Holm)
UniBasel Contributors:Di Giulio, Antonietta and Defila, Rico
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:04 Aug 2016 06:17
Deposited On:04 Aug 2016 06:17

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