Prospects for, and Challenges of, Research Design and Training in Cross-Disciplinary Environmental Management Research

Nicole Ashby*, Kirstie Fryirs, Richard Howitt

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Research in coupled human and natural systems can be quite a cross-disciplinary endeavour, requiring the combination of diverse concepts, methods, and approaches. While there is a wide recognition of the importance of incorporating different viewpoints, perspectives, and disciplines in achieving positive environmental and social outcomes, the methods through which such research is designed, specifically the processes engaged in, are largely absent from the literature. This presents challenges in research training for students in the field. This paper uses the example of a recent student project examining the management of Temperate Highland Peat Swamps on Sandstone to consider how research training might address project design, conceptual challenges, and methodological choices. The goal of this project was to build improved understanding of the role of context in the adaptive management of these endangered ecological communities from Commonwealth to micro-local scales. The paper explores the complexities of integrating approaches and methods drawn from both social sciences and environmental sciences. Rather than providing a definitive 'how to guide' for conducting integrative cross-disciplinary research, it offers food for thought on the processes involved in creating a research project which transcends boundaries between social science and environmental science that are easily entrenched in research training that is compartmentalised along discipline lines.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)81-94
    Number of pages14
    JournalGeographical Research
    Volume53
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015

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