Tips and principles for integration research
Some key tips for working with inter- and transdisciplinary teams on complex problems are:
Principles for effective inter- and transdisciplinary teamwork
- A shared sense of purpose (and urgency) is an important and powerful motivation for effective and sustained inter- and transdisciplinary teamwork.
- Patience, humour and flexibility are key elements for team efficacy.
- Psychological safety is also a critical element in effective teams – people need to feel safe to say when they do not understand something, or feel like they want to challenge assumptions.
“Emphasise values of humility, curiosity and empathy in recruiting people, developing project direction and establishing team culture”
Principles underpinning effective stakeholder engagement and knowledge co-production
- Building and maintaining trust with stakeholders takes a lot of time and requires sustained effort.
- Use approaches such as Theory of Change to build shared vision
- Acknowledge and legitimise the different objectives of partners and individuals on the team.
- Develop and use guidance notes on how to present to and communicate with different stakeholder groups, using diverse approaches such as visual tools, animations and stories.
- Construct opportunities for research participants to experience concepts underpinning the research. This can involve creating some tension in the participant that is resolved by a concept or tool.
- The use of metaphors and stories/narratives is a powerful way of breaking down barriers to new ideas and entraining sense making and action.
Principles for project and knowledge governance
- It is essential to establish project governance for transdisciplinary work, particularly with Indigenous and local knowledge holders, but also with other partners such as government and industry. Establishing committees with the right line of advice to the project will help to maximise the delivery of outcomes.
- There is a need to recognise knowledge-governance, establish Steering Groups, and work to ensure these are legitimate.
Grigg, N.J., K. Mokany, E. Woodward, R. Pirzl, C. S. Fletcher, M. E. Ahmad, and D. Lemon. 2020. CSIRO’s integrated national prediction, foresighting and scenarios capability. CSIRO, Australia.
Melbourne-Thomas, J. S. Mynott, D. O’Connell, I. van Putten, E. Plaganyi, B. Fulton, and A Hobday. 2021. Building capacity for interdisciplinary and integrative research in CSIRO. CSIRO, Australia.