Archive for the ‘Research’ Category
ReadCube develops software to make the world of research more accessible and connected. The free ReadCube desktop application for PC and Mac helps researchers in any discipline easily organize and manage existing article libraries, and discover new literature through searches and personalized recommendations. ReadCube is supported by Digital Science, a technology business unit within the Macmillan Science and Education portfolio which serves the needs of scientific research. It offers a range of scientific technology and data solutions, from intelligent knowledge discovery tools to software applications for the laboratory and decision support systems for managers.
Cybernetics and Systems Research (CSR) were developed in the mid-twentieth century, offering the possibility of describing and comparing different phenomena using the same language. The concepts, which originated in CSR have spread to practically all disciplines, many now used within the scientific study of complex systems. CSR has the potential to contribute to the solution of relevant problems, but the path towards this goal is not straightforward. This paper summarizes the ideas presented by the authors during a round table in 2012 on the past, present and future of CSR.
CSR have strongly influenced all scientific disciplines. As an example, the term “system” is used commonly in daily language. One of the breakthroughs of CSR involves the attempt to find commonalities across disciplines. Even when this was achieved to a certain degree, there is still a lack of a common language to communicate successfully, especially between the natural and social sciences. Currently, the scientific study of complex systems has several commonalities with CSR. It could be argued that complexity has inherited many of the aims of CSR, and they can be distinguished roughly by complexity being dominated more by natural sciences and CSR more by social sciences, although there is a strong overlap. One of the aspects that has propagated complexity has been its ability to contrast its theories and dispose those that do not match observations. This is a challenge for CSR, where theories should also be contrasted with real data. Nevertheless, this is becoming feasible due to the increased accessibility to several sources of information and methods for analysing this data.
This paper defines a theoretical framework aiming to support the actions and reflections of researchers looking for a ‘method’ in order to critically conceive the complexity of a scientific process of research. First, it starts with a brief overview of the core assumptions framing Morin’s “paradigm of complexity” and Le Moigne’s “general system theory”. Distinguishing ‘methodology’ and ‘method’, the framework is conceived based on three moments, which represent recurring stages of the spiraling development of research. The first moment focuses on the definition of the research process and its sub-systems (author, system of ideas, object of study and method) understood as a complex form of organization finalized in a specific environment. The second moment introduces a matrix aiming to model the research process and nine core methodological issues, according to a programmatic and critical approach. Using the matrix previously modeled, the third moment suggests conceiving of the research process following a strategic mindset that focuses on contingencies, in order to locate, share and communicate the path followed throughout the inquiry.
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.
The aim of this article is to open a conversation between the complexity & education community and the field of interdisciplinarity (as well as its close relative, interprofessionalism). It starts by describing two very different streams of thought in the literature on interdisciplinary research and education: One that focuses on the socio-cultural dynamics among disciplinary ‘knowers’ and one that emphasizes the complexity of the phenomena studied by these disciplinary knowers. Next, the author argues that recent epistemological thinking associated with the complexity & education community can help to integrate these streams of thought—offering a way for interdisciplinary inquiry to respect both the complexity of knowers and the complexity of the known.
In a previous issue of Mind, Brain, and Education, Hinton and Fischer argue that educational research needs to be grounded in the lived realities of school life. They advocate for research schools as a venue for accomplishing this. The Center for the Study of Boys ’ and Girls ’ Lives represents an alternative model — a research collaborative among independent schools and university-based scholars. This article describes the Center ’ s experience with democratic, participatory action research. It discusses major roadblocks encountered doing such work, including difficulties selecting research topics collaboratively, epistemological differences in methods and design, the scarcity of time, and resistance to results when they challenge gender stereotypes or the status quo or involve student researchers. The article concludes with strategies for overcoming these roadblocks, including clearer, upfront negotiations with schools and a compact that specifies roles and responsibilities for both school and Center personnel.
While most people know on some level that the arts can reach and move us in unique ways, there is actually science behind this. The arts can tap into issues that are otherwise out of reach and reach people in meaningful ways. This realization brought me to arts-based research (ABR). Arts-based research is an emergent paradigm whereby researchers across the disciplines adapt the tenets of the creative arts in their social research projects. Arts-based research, a term first coined by Elliot Eisner at Stanford University in the early 90s, is based on the assumption that art can teach us in ways that other forms cannot. Scholars can take interview or survey research, for instance, and represent it through art. I’ve written two novels based on sociological interview research. Sometimes researchers use the arts during data collection, involving research participants in the art-making process, such as drawing their response to a prompt rather than speaking.