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  Researcher: Orenstein, Daniel Num-Year: 2/2017
Title: Transition to Socio-Ecological Research – Assessment and Characterization

Duration: 01/02/2017-01/09/2018


Financing Organization eLTER (European Long-Term Ecosystem and socio-ecological Research Infrastructure) H2020 INFRAIA project  



Summary: This project represents the first step towards the development of a comprehensive assessment framework for transdisciplinary, socio-ecological research as it takes place in LTSER platforms. In particular, we will characterize how researchers and stakeholders affiliated to LTSER platforms understand and implement socio-ecological research, how they define goals and how they measure success at achieving those goals. We will then investigate the gap (or lack thereof) between the stated goals of the LTSER as a stakeholder-integrated, research framework for solving real-life environmental challenges, and the on-the-ground activities and research program of the LTSER platforms. This research is thus well integrated into the goals of the Horizon2020 eLTER program, Work Package 10. This study has been designed in three parts, using a mixed-methods approach. Part I consists of on-site, in-depth interviews with researchers and stakeholders at each of the three platforms (Braila Island, Doñana, Cairngorms) to achieve a qualitative understanding of priorities, goals, activities, and decision-making processes at these platforms. These interviews will take place during the summer of 2016. In Part II, we will design a questionnaire-based survey reflecting our findings from Part I to be sent via email to a large number of researchers and stakeholders affiliated with LTSER platforms. This will help us to obtain quantitative data for selected assessment indicators. Questionnaires will be distributed electronically during the winter following the initial visit. Finally, in Part III, we will analyse these data and create visual representations of these data to use as discussion prompts (boundary object) in focus groups at each platform approximately one year after the initial visit. The first and third parts of this project have been designed as face-to-face meetings with core researchers and affiliates of these LTSER platforms. This is important since, informed by the literature on transdisciplinary team research, the science of team science, and qualitative methods of sociology and anthropology, in-person meetings can reveal important information about LTSER platforms that would likely not be revealed through remote communication. For the third part, it is crucial that the lead researchers participate (though not moderate) in the focus group discussion, as it is a dynamic process that must be directed in order to assure relevant discussion.  
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