1st Edition

Researching Sustainability A Guide to Social Science Methods, Practice and Engagement

Edited By Alex Franklin, Paul Blyton Copyright 2012
    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book is for students and researchers across the social sciences who are planning, conducting and disseminating research on sustainability-related issues. Real-world sustainability problems cross many boundaries, and this is the first book to guide students and practitioners through the practical and theoretical challenges of doing interdisciplinary research in this vital and emerging area.

    Researching Sustainability contains many in-depth, 'hands on' accounts by expert contributors, providing real-life examples and lessons that can be put to use immediately. Coverage includes: 

    • the general challenges that sustainability presents to researchers, including frictions between sustainability and scientific tradition; complexity; research paradigms; interdisciplinarity; social-environmental interactions; and ethical concerns.
    • a host of social science based research methods and approaches. Each chapter presents a different method; its challenges and suitability for different situations; an in-depth example of the method in action; insights and lessons.
    • dissemination of sustainability research findings, including influencing policy, communicating with school children and working with the media.

    The book concludes with a critical synthesis of issues and methods examined in the book together with a discussion of future research pathways. This book is an essential tool for students, researchers and practitioners in planning, implementing and evaluating their sustainability research.

    Part 1: Issues in Sustainability Research  1. Sustainability Research: An Introduction  2. Directing an Inter-Disciplinary Sustainability Research Agenda  Part 2: Approaches to Sustainability Research  3. Ethnographic Practices and the Practices of Biosecurity  4. Case Study Method in Sustainability Research  5. Striving for Mutuality in Research Relationships: The Value of Participatory Action Research principles  6. 'Spaces of Sustainability': Using Mobile Methods to Investigate the Space of a Farmers' Market  7. Elite and Elite-Lite Interviewing: Managing our Industrial Legacy  8. Grounding Rapidly Emerging Disciplines: The Fairtrade Towns Movement  9. Surveying the Field: Applying the Just Sustainability Paradigm to Survey Research  10. Making Sense of Climate Change: Notes on Interpretive Policy Analysis and Discourse Analysis in Sustainability Research 1 1. Mediating Sustainability: Constructivist Approaches to Sustainability Research  12. Negotiating the Terrain: Doing Research Abroad  13. Sustainable Futures: Futures Studies and Food Supply Systems  Part 3: Disseminatin Sustainability Research  14. Generalising Sustainability Research: Some Reflections from a Study of Work-Life Integration  15. Engaging with Policy Makers: Influencing Sustainability Policy through Academic Research  16. Sustaining the extra-curricular: Communicating Sustainability Research to Children  17. Engaging the Media: an Academic's Sojourn in the Newsroom.  Conclusion  18. Sustainability Science: a Forward Agenda


    Dr Alex Franklin is a Senior Fellow within BRASS, with considerable research experience across a range of sustainability areas. She has been an ESRC Fellow and recently completed a large-scale ESRC-funded project on community sustainability. She has published on aspects of sustainability in such journals as Journal of Law and Society, Journal of Environment and Planning, and International Planning Studies. Professor Paul Blyton is Professor of Industrial Relations and Industrial Sociology at Cardiff University and a Research Associate within BRASS. He is the author and editor of fifteen books, the latest of which is Ways of Living, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.