The Complexity of Transdisciplinary Literature Reviews

The transdisciplinary literature review is an opportunity to situate the inquirer in an ecology of ideas. This article explores how we might approach this process from a perspective of complexity, and addresses some of the key challenges and opportunities. Four main dimensions are considered: (a) inquiry-based rather than discipline-based; (b) integrating rather than eliminating the inquirer from the inquiry; (c) meta-paradigmatic rather than intra-paradigmatic; and (d) applying systems and complex thought rather than reductive/disjunctive thinking.

What sets transdisciplinarity apart from multi- and inter-disciplinarity is that it is grounded in a fundamental reappraisal and reformulation of the nature of knowledge and inquiry. While considerable steps have been made to articulate the more theoretical dimensions of transdisciplinarity, a new fertile ground is the application of a transdisciplinary approach to education, specifically graduation education, and to very basic dimensions of scholarship such as the literature review. Interweaving dimensions of theory and practice, I have reflected on some of the issues that arise in the process of developing a transdisciplinary literature review, emphasizing in particular the creative/constructive and complexity dimensions of the process.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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