Methods of Research
ZTG research projects deal primarily with complex societal problems and often require a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary approach. The guiding principle of sustainable development is a normative orientation for many projects at the ZTG.
We define interdisciplinary work as an approach according to which several disciplines of equal value address a societal problem by means of an overarching question, the goal being the integration of heterogeneous bodies of knowledge into an overall result from multiple perspectives.
We define transdisciplinary research as the equitable inclusion of practical perspectives into problem-oriented research. In our experience, transdisciplinary work is particularly creative, innovative and productive in cooperative projects dealing with engineering questions as well as in socio-ecological research. Multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research also contributes to the distinction and further development of the disciplinary perspective.
We define problem-oriented research as a type of research that combines descriptive-analytical and solution-oriented methods and research objectives.
We define sustainability research as a type of research that is committed to the guiding principle of sustainability when compiling new design knowledge, while continuously reflecting on the normative bases of this guiding principle and the societal negotiation processes related to the transformation. Furthermore, we consider sustainable structures in research as a factor enabling the continuous professional development of researchers (competence building, co-determination, etc.).
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