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Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies


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Table of Contents

Foreword x Preface xi Chapter 1: Introduction 1 Challenges and opportunities 3 On quality 4 Background 5 A note on terminology 7 Notes 9 Chapter 2: Beyond CP Snow 11 Quantitative and qualitative studies 12 Improved understanding and quality 13 Drawing on commonalities 14 Context dependence and quantifi cation 18 Interpretation and context 21 Notes 23 Chapter 3: Questioning to learn and learning to question 24 Part I: Interdisciplinary expectations (Questions 1 to 3) 25 Part II: Transacademic aspirations (Questions 4 and 5) 26 Part III: Academic rigour (Questions 6 to 10) 27 Notes 29 Chapter 4: Why do you conduct interdisciplinary work? 30 Where do you position yourself on the refl ection scale? (Question 1) 30 To what end are you using knowledge from different disciplines? (Question 2) 37 What makes your work interdisciplinary? (Question 3) 42 Notes 46 Chapter 5: Why do you interact with society? 48 Academic knowledge and decision-making 48 Who participates in which part of the study and how? (Question 4) 51 Why do you interact with society? (Question 5) 56 A word of warning: Don?t be snobbish 58 Notes 59 Chapter 6: Rigorous but not rigid 61 On quality assessment 63 Confusing form and credibility ? an example 64 Communication 67 Notes 73 Chapter 7: Marking your playground 74 Framing 75 Aim 79 Operationalizing the aim 82 Confusing interdisciplinarity with "Everything" 84 Notes 85 Chapter 8: Evidence that holds for scrutiny 86 How or why? 87 Common procedures 90 Mixing various types of empirical evidence 100 Notes 100 Chapter 9: Anchoring your canoe 101 Clarifying your sources 102 Anchoring your frame 103 Anchoring your method 106 Notes 110 Chapter 10: Analysis 111 Defi ning ?analysis? 112 Clarifying the own, the new 115 Relevant literature ? your canon 116 Common knowledge 119 Original research 119 Textbooks 122 The style of recognized scholars 124 Passive and active voice 126 Notes 129 Contents ix Chapter 11: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder 131 Headings 132 Where do I place the refl ections? 135 Where do I describe the context? 136 References 137 Notes 141 Chapter 12: Being interdisciplinary 142 Creating an open and respectful climate 143 Hierarchies that impair 144 Humbleness and courage 147 Outstanding studies 148 Dialogue, feedback and how to manage supervisors 149 Notes 150 References 152 Primary sources 152 Secondary sources 154 Index 158

About the Author

Gunilla OEberg, Professor and Director of the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia, is a scholar recognized for her groundbreaking research on chlorine biogeochemistry, her work on interdisciplinary research and higher education, as well as for her leadership of interdisciplinary environmental programs.


Although it does not reveal a prescriptive path forinterdisciplinary work, for our group, this volume served as avaluable catalyst for thinking about interdisciplinary research. Welook forward to future conversations that build onOberg s examples of how to navigate problem-oriented,interdisciplinary research. (The Quarterly Reviewof Biology, 1 September 2012)

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