About the td-net toolbox

The methods and tools offered by the td-net toolbox specifically focus on jointly developing projects, conducting research and exploring ways to impact in heterogeneous groups. They are intended to help shape collaboration between experts and stakeholders from science and practice in systematic and traceable ways.

What do we mean by co-producing knowledge in heterogeneous groups?

According to the understanding we refer to, transdisciplinary research involves different perspectives on an issue. Borrowing ideas of Ludwik Fleck, these perspectives can be understood as thought styles held by specific groups of people, i.e. thought collectives. Such thought collectives can be for instance represented by biologists, philosophers, farmers or midwives. We refer to processes that involve representatives of different thought collectives jointly developing new knowledge as to processes of knowledge co-production in heterogeneous groups.

What is a method or tool for co-producing knowledge?

The understanding of methods and tools that td-net uses here is rather broad. A method is a structured way of doing something that can be communicated to and reproduced by others. Methods for co-producing knowledge support representatives of different thought collectives in better understanding each other’s ways of thinking and in relating their thought styles to each other in order to jointly generate something new.

Learn more on the type of methods featured in the portal as a whole:

What are the criteria for selecting methods and tools for the td-net toolbox?

The main criterion for selecting methods for the td-net toolbox is:

  • The method or tool helps to bridge different thought styles.

Other criteria include:

  • The method or tool uses low-tech equipment;
  • The method or tool mainly uses everyday language;
  • The method or tool aims at developing a shared understanding or at identifying consensus and dissent;
  • The method or tool facilitates exchange between thought-styles and allows jointly production of knowledge and research outcomes.

Criteria for exclusion are:

  • Integration of knowledge is done by one person (or by a machine) without inviting participants to give feedback or without taking feedback seriously;
  • The method or tool is designed for the coproduction of knowledge within one particular thought collective, i.e. in a homogeneous group;
  • The method or tool gives epistemic primacy to one specific thought style.

Such methods, though interesting and relevant, are excluded because they lie outside of the scope of the td-net toolbox for co-producing knowledge.

Where can I find more methods and tools for linking scientific research to tackling societal problems?

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td-net – Network for Transdisciplinarity Research

Editorial Board

Gabriela Wuelser, td-net
Christian Pohl, ETH Zurich