Search by key issues

This section comprises cross-cutting challenges you may encounter in knowledge co-production processes.

Note: Listed methods offer first options and are not meant to be exclusive. We will add more methods over time.

Identify actors, roles and expectations

Clarify who to involve

We want to work together with various experts from science and practice and are unsure about who to involve and why.

Our collaboration doesn’t work as anticipated. We need to find out whether the right people are on board.

We would like to clarify the power constellations around the problem situation that are relevant for the project: Who has which and how much influence? Who has no voice? How can this be considered in the project?

We would like to get a better picture of how the problem is perceived and discussed. We also want to know by whom and in which contexts the problem is discussed in order to identify who the relevant actors for our project are.

(No tool at this stage)

We would like to make sure that we have involved the people that are needed to act on the problem.

Specify roles, tasks and responsibilities

The rough goals of our project are set. We need to clarify who participates, for what reason and in which role. We want to do this, either because we haven't done so yet or because we realise that roles are unclear or inadequate.

We have identified the relevant actors for our project. We need to define a) the role and tasks of our transdisciplinary group, b) rules of decision making and confidentiality, and c) intellectual property rights agreements.

In order to develop a collaborative project, we would like to clarify what each of the involved partners (or subprojects) could contribute to the overall project and vice versa. Furthermore, it could be useful to know whether important topics are missing.

We have identified the relevant actors for our project. We need to define who to involve in which stage of the process, in which form and to what extent.

(no tool at this stage)

Clarify expectations

Participants' expectations regarding the project outcomes are unclear or differ. We need to clarify these expectations in order to agree on realistic project goals.

Embrace differences, tensions and conflicts in a transdisciplinary group

Handle different perceptions of and opinions towards the issue

We have the impression that core actors of the project might be at cross-purposes. We want them to become aware of each other’s viewpoint, expertise and know-how in order to use the full potential for the benefit of the project.

We want to enhance mutual understanding of researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds through comparing conventions that are fundamental to their academic field (e.g. norms on knowledge generation, evidence, assumptions, values).

Our co-production process is stuck because different experts disagree on strategies for solving a problem or answers to a key question. We would like to collect and weigh the underlying arguments and rationales.

Participants' expectations regarding the project’s outcomes are unclear or differ. We need to clarify these expectations in order to agree on realistic project goals.

We would like to learn what the problem is, for whom it is a problem and how strongly we or other people agree on its framing. We want the various perspectives to become explicit.

Step 1 of:

As laypersons in a certain field, we would like to examine priorities, framings and models set by experts. We would like to uncover respective assumptions (e.g. system boundaries that were set when creating a model; aspects that are stressed or neglected in describing an issue).

Deal with power issues

In our collaborative project there is a key person who tends to dominate plenary discussions. We would like to have an exchange that allows everyone to share his/her thoughts.

We would like to clarify the power constellations in the transdisciplinary group that are relevant for the project: Who has which and how much influence? Who has no voice? How can this be considered in the project?

Deal with tensions in the transdisciplinary group

Our collaboration doesn’t work as anticipated. We think we need to do something to resolve interpersonal tensions.

(no tool at this stage)

Build ownership and trust

We realise people are less and less motivated in participating actively in the knowledge co-production process. We assume this might be related with weak ownership and missing trust.

(no tool at this stage)

We have the feeling the group is losing momentum and falling apart. We would like to review our collaboration through identifying which events the group members consider as key for the joint process. With this, we hope to enhance the team spirit.

Strive for societal relevance

Review understandings of the societal problem situation

We have the feeling our research project is too far away from practice, i.e. would benefit from a dialogue with repesentatives from practice. To resolve this, we would like to bring together a group of actors to assist the transdisciplinary process.

We want to come up with concrete transformation options developed in collaboration with actors and stakeholders relevant to dealing with a specific problem situation. The goal is clear, but we miss an overall picture of the situation, we don’t know where to set in.

We realise we have to better understand the societal problem our research deals with, i.e. the problem’s actual dynamics, how it is perceived or discussed and by whom and in which context.

(no tool at this stage)

Question scientific framings

We are not sure whether our research questions adequately respond to the societal knowledge demand we identified. We think it could be helpful to ask our research question in different ways.

As laypersons in a certain field, we would like to examine priorities, framings and models set by experts. We would like to uncover respective assumptions (e.g. system boundaries that were set when creating a model; aspects that are stressed or neglected in describing an issue).

Navigate through normative goals

This section is under construction, suggestions are welcome.

Relate research to normative principles (e.g. sustainable development)

(no tool at this stage)

Identify and integrate differing normative positions in research

(no tool at this stage)

Integrate different fields of expertise

Relate knowledge and perspectives on the issue

We would like to learn what the problem is, for whom it is a problem and how strongly individual group members agree on its framing. We want the various perspectives to become explicit.

Step 1 of:

We have a question to which there is no study, but there are some experts that, as a collective, have the knowledge and can provide relevant arguments to answer the question.

Our co-production process is stuck because different experts disagree on strategies for solving a problem or answers to a key question. We would like to collect and weigh the underlying arguments and rationales.

We would like to collect and interrelate our group’s knowledge on a certain topic. We would like to use a means of expression that removes potential hierarchies between participants.

Step 1 of:

We want to enhance mutual understanding of researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds through comparing scientific conventions that are fundamental to their academic field (e.g. norms on knowledge generation, evidence, assumptions, values).

Relate different languages, concepts and narratives

We want to develop a set of possible future development scenarios with respect to a societal issue. For coherence, we would like to describe the different scenarios with the same variables.

Our collaboration doesn’t work as anticipated. We think we need to do something about missing links between subprojects.

We would like to discuss an issue more in-depth from the perspective of different fields in order to increase (mutual) understanding.

We want to enhance mutual understanding of researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds through comparing scientific conventions that are fundamental to their academic field (e.g. norms on knowledge generation, evidence, assumptions, values).

Relate subtopics and develop a concept for integration

Our collaboration doesn’t work as anticipated. We think we need to do something about missing links between subprojects.

Our collaboration doesn’t work as anticipated. We think we need to clarify whether some subprojects deal with overlapping questions or issues.

We want to initiate a first exchange among (sub-) projects so that they start swapping ideas.

Relate different quality standards

We want to enhance mutual understanding of researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds through comparing scientific conventions that are fundamental to their academic field (e.g. norms on knowledge generation, evidence, assumptions, values).

Review process and impacts

Assess a project's impact and related assumptions and expectations

We need to clarify and/or review what impact our project realistically can have and how to assess it.

Our envisaged project outcomes are clear. However, we are not sure about intended and unintended effect the project had. Therefore, we would like to identify them from the perspective of the various involved actors.

We want to uncover desired changes and respective impact pathways participants implicitly have in mind.

Reflect on process and research question

We want to learn how participants have experienced the knowledge co-production process so far: What were important steps, events, influences, (team) dynamics etc. from their point of view?

Given that our collaboration is somehow stuck, we would like to develop more understanding for each other through exchanging what so far has been particularly important and for whom in the process.

As laypersons in a certain field, we would like to examine priorities, framings and models set in the project. We would like to uncover respective assumptions (e.g. system boundaries that were set when creating a model; aspects that are stressed or neglected in describing an issue).

We are not sure whether our research questions adequately respond to the societal knowledge demand we identified. We think it could be helpful to ask our research question in different ways.

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