A framework to plan for preferred outcomes in transdisciplinary projects.
How does it work?
1) A facilitator introduces the conceptual map of the outcome spaces displayed on a paperboard or the like (see Figure) and explains the three spaces:
"The first outcome space is improvement within the ‘situation’ or field of inquiry, that is, the everyday world of our research collaborators and clients. Changes in the situation may be institutional (e.g. a shift in a policy), or biophysical (e.g. more efficient water use). Secondly, the generation of relevant stocks and flows of knowledge, including rigorous scholarly knowledge and other forms of knowledge (e.g. decision-making tools, industry reports, interactive websites, apps) in order to make insights accessible and meaningful to both research participants i.e. clients and collaborators, as well as broader beneficiaries i.e. industry sectors and/or citizens. Finally, outcomes of mutual and transformational learning by both researchers and research participants increase the likelihood of persistent change." (Mitchell, 2015 #1473, p. 90)
The facilitator may explain the difference between knowledge stocks – (i.e. doing research, creating new knowledge, rigorous scholarly knowledge, producing scientific papers), and knowledge flows – (i.e. making research available to those that need or want it in ways that are meaningful and useful (Duncan et al. 2020)).
2) The participants write their expectations on cards. They might provide several expectations for the same space and not necessarily expectations for all spaces.
3) Participants stick their cards to the map, locating it to one of the outcome spaces.
4) The facilitator goes through each space and asks the participants to say a few words about their expectations. (If the aim is to clarify if, for instance, researchers have other expectations than representatives of other sectors of society, cards with different colours for the different kinds of participants can be used).
5) If needed, the group discusses and decides for each expectation whether it falls inside or outside the boundaries of the project and how these preferred outcomes might be incorporated into project planning.
How are thought-styles bridged?
|Learning which outcomes other participants expect enhances getting to know each other and each other’s thought style better.|
What’s the output/outcome?
The outcome is a map that compiles the project outcomes expected by the collective of project participants. It sorts these expectations in relation to the situation under consideration, to knowledge stocks and flows and to learning. With step 5, the expected outcomes are further classified into those who fall inside or outside the project’s boundaries, respectively.
Who participates in what role?
The participants are project team members who individually reflect on their own preferred outcomes before sharing them with the group. A facilitator guides through the process.
What do I need to prepare?
The facilitator needs to prepare the map of the outcome spaces to be displayed on a paperboard, table or the like, cards to stick or pin on the map and pens.
Mitchell C, Cordell D, Fam D 2015. Beginning at the end: The outcome spaces framework to guide purposive transdisciplinary research. Futures 65: 86-96.