University of Oulu

Angela Hahn, Sabrina Kirschke, Serena Caucci, Andrea Müller, Lucia Benavides, Tamara Avellán, Perceptions of transdisciplinary research – A comparative case study from Latin America, Current Research in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 5, 2023, 100207, ISSN 2666-0490,

Perceptions of transdisciplinary research : a comparative case study from Latin America

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Author: Hahn, Angela1; Kirschke, Sabrina1; Caucci, Serena1;
Organizations: 1Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES), United Nations University, 01067 Dresden, Germany
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-09-25


Transdisciplinary research has gained momentum in the field of environmental sustainability. Research highlights that high degrees of participation in research can help identify integrated and acceptable solutions on the ground. However, research has also shown that high degrees of participation do not automatically result in positive outcomes. This study assumes that perceptions of participation diverge in different (cultural) settings. While conceptual frameworks provide good guidance on how project managers can design participatory processes, stakeholders involved in such processes may perceive their involvement differently. This article tests this assumption in transdisciplinary research carried out at two pilot sites in Latin America where the aim was for local stakeholders and experts to co-design wastewater management solutions. Based on a comprehensive stakeholder analysis, our research focuses on how project manager’s original intention of high participation is perceived by stakeholders involved across the phases of the research process from project design, via implementation, to its evaluation. Analyses are based on written project documents and a survey amongst participants on the perceived degree of participation. Results show a discrepancy between the intended participation and the perceived participation. Furthermore, we find that perceptions of transdisciplinarity vary across the phases of the research process. These results help in understanding potential differences between intended and perceived participation, supporting the effective design of transdisciplinary research in the future.

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Series: Current research in environmental sustainability
ISSN: 2666-0490
ISSN-E: 2666-0490
ISSN-L: 2666-0490
Volume: 5
Article number: 100207
DOI: 10.1016/j.crsust.2022.100207
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
Funding: This research was funded by the German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, (BMBF) under the grant number 01DF17001. The Guatemalan Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología provided support to the researchers of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala and financed, in part, the Assessment Workshop in Panajachel in March 2018. The Fideicomiso de Infraestructura Ambiental para los Valles de Hidalgo (FIAVHI) provided support to the participation of Mexican stakeholders to the Assessment Workshop and access to their premises. The APC was funded by the German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, (BMBF) under the grant number 01DF17001.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (