1st Edition

Transdisciplinary Research and Practice for Sustainability Outcomes

Edited By Dena Fam, Jane Palmer, Chris Riedy, Cynthia Mitchell Copyright 2017
    268 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    292 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    ‘Transdisciplinarity’ is a form of research and practice that synthesises knowledge from a range of academic disciplines and from the community. There is now global interest and a significant body of work on transdisciplinarity and its potential to address the apparently intractable problems of society. This creates the opportunity for a specific focus on its practical application to sustainability issues. Transdisciplinary Research and Practice for Sustainability Outcomes examines the role of transdisciplinarity in the transformations needed for a sustainable world. After an historical overview of transdisciplinarity, Part I focuses on tools and frameworks to achieve sustainability outcomes in practice and Part II consolidates work by a number of scholars on supporting transdisciplinary researchers and practitioners. Part III is a series of case studies including several international examples that demonstrate the challenges and rewards of transdisciplinary work. The concluding chapter proposes a future research pathway for understanding the human factors that underpin successful transdisciplinary research. As Emeritus Professor Valerie Brown AO notes in her Preface, this book moves transdisciplinary inquiry into the academic and social mainstream. It will be of great interest to researchers and practitioners in the fields of sustainability, qualitative research methods, environmental impact assessment and development studies.



    1. Transdisciplinary research and practice for sustainability outcomes: Introduction

    2. Transdisciplinarity and sustainability: patterns of definition

    Part 1: Working in the transdisciplinary space: Navigating diverse knowledges to create change

    3. Beginning at the end: the outcome spaces framework to guide purposive transdisciplinary research

    4. Tools for transdisciplinary research

    5. Transdisciplinarity as transformation: a cybersystemic thinking in practice perspective

    Part 2: Developing and supporting researchers in transdisciplinary practice

    6. Being a transdisciplinary researcher: skills and dispositions fostering competence in transdisciplinary research and practice


    7. Seeding a new transdisciplinary community of practice

    8. Supervising transdisciplinary doctoral research: adopting transcendent and transgressive supervisory strategies Catherine Manathunga

    9. Assessing transdisciplinary doctoral research: quality criteria and implications for the examination process

    Part 3: Creating change through transdisciplinary research and practice


    10. Transforming cities: securing food and clean waterways through a transdisciplinary phosphorus approach Dana Cordell, Genevieve Metson and David Iwaniec et al.

    11. Creating knowledge: visual communication design research in transdisciplinary projects

    12. Trandisciplinarity in action: four guidelines, a reflexive framework and their application to improving community sanitation governance in Indonesia

    13. Ethnography as transdisciplinary inquiry: two stories of adaptation and resilience from Aceh, Indonesia


    14. ‘To be green, clean and beautiful is progressive’: reframing sustainability through transdisciplinary research and practice in northern Việt Nam


    15. Transdisciplinarity as an emergent property in an agricultural research for development project on the East India Plateau

    16. Trouble at the disciplinary divide: a knowledge ecologies analysis of a co-design project with native Alaskan communities

    17. Future directions: a trans-anthropo-logic of transdisciplinarity



    Dena Fam is Research Director and UTS Chancellor’s Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

    Jane Palmer is Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow (Community Futures) at the Institute for Resilient Regions, University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

    Chris Riedy is Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

    Cynthia Mitchell is Deputy Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.