This working paper argues that transformation research is an emerging research perspective and analyses the goals, contents, results and research approaches of this perspective as well as its social science methods.
The last years, calls surged for a transformation research, which addresses the increasing global environmental and social challenges and supports transformations towards sustainability. As transformation research developed rapidly in relation to various societal domains and established research strands, there is currently a need for self-reflection with regard to empirical and theoretical concepts, foci and frameworks. Especially the far-reaching ambitions of transformation research, namely to contribute actively to societal change processes towards sustainability, are controversially debated and need a critical reflection of research approaches and methods.
This working paper contributes to the ongoing discussion about transformation research. We argue that transformation research is not (yet) an established research field, but an emerging research perspective that joins together different research streams focusing on societal change towards sustainability. We analyse the goals, contents, results and research approaches of this perspective as well as its social science methods. A specific focus of this paper is on the description and analysis of suitable methods for transformation research. We analyse social-science methods with regard to their contributions to the goals, results and research foci of transformation research as well as their use in descriptive-analytical and transformative research approaches.
Wittmayer, J.M., Hölscher, K., Wunder, S., & Veenhoff, S. (2018). Transformation research. Exploring methods for an emerging research field.
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February 3, 2018