Facilitating cooperation in transdisciplinary research and evaluating its role in SenseMaker® for a developing world context

Pylipow, Joshua Michael (2018-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Complex social-ecological issues pose serious threats to global development as their presence permeate borders, ecosystems and cultures. This holds particular precedence in the developing world, where the United Nations anticipates extensive growth over the coming decades. Transdisciplinary research stands as a type of methodology that allows society and academia to jointly address social-ecological issues through eliciting societal changes in thinking and behaviour. This type of research requires sustained cooperation among participants with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Yet current transdisciplinary research literature offers little insight into the facilitation of cooperation especially in a developing world context. This paper explores the biological and cultural factors that influence cooperation in order to better understand how it may be facilitated in transdisciplinary research. It incorporates this understanding with observations of training sessions for the narrative-based research tool SenseMaker® conducted in a developing world context to assess how the tool facilitates cooperation and the tool’s suitability for the developing world. The findings reveal that although cooperative behaviour is driven by biological and cultural underpinnings, reflective practice can allow one to overcome otherwise inhibiting perceptive biases in favour of cooperation. SenseMaker® utilises this propensity to create a shared reality among participants through reflective dialogue, breaking down perceptive biases and facilitating cooperation. Its narrative-based approach also seems to diminish the presentation of a classic cost-benefit cooperative scenario, reducing bias-influenced responses and aiding the progress of the research process. These findings cautiously speculate that SenseMaker® may be suited for the storytelling traditions on the African continent as well as around the world, but more research is needed to confirm this.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Komplekse sosiale-ekologiese kwessies is 'n ernstige bedreiging vir internationale ontwikkeling omdat hierdie kwessies nie grense of kultuur ken nie. Sosiale - ekologiese kwessies loop deur alle kulture, grense, en natuurlike sisteme. Hierdie impak is nog groter in ontwikkelende lande waar die Verenigde Nasies groot populasie groei verwag in die komende dekades. Transdissiplinêre navorsing staan as 'n tipe metodologie waarmee die samelewing en die akademiese gemeenskap gesamentlik sosiale-ekologiese kwessies kan aanspreek deur verandering in gemeenskaps denke en gedrag. Hierdie soort navorsing vereis volgehoue samewerking tussen deelnemers met n omvangryke verskeidenheid van agtergrond en perspektief. Tog bied huidige transdissiplinêre navorsing-literatuur min insig in die fasilitering van samewerking, veral in 'n ontwikkelende wêreldkonteks. Hierdie artikel stel ondersoek in rondom die biologiese en kulturele faktore wat samewerking beïnvloed om beter te kan verstaan hoe dit in transdissiplinêre navorsing gefasiliteer kan word. Dit inkorporeer hierdie begrip met waarnemings van opleidingsessies vir die narratief gebaseerde navorsings instrument SenseMaker®. Hierdie opleidingsessies is in 'n ontwikkelende wêreldkonteks uitgevoer word om te bepaal hoe die instrument samewerking fasiliteer asook of SenseMaker® geskik is vir die ontwikkelende wêreld. Die bevindinge wys dat al word samewerking gedryf deur kulturele en biologiese faktore, kan bedenkig en reflektiewe praktyk die individu toelaat om hulle eie vooroordeel raak te sien te gunste van samewerking. SenseMaker® maak gebruik van hierdie geneigdheid om 'n gedeelde werklikheid onder deelnemers te skep deur reflektiewe dialoog, perseptiewe vooroordeel af te breek en samewerking te fasiliteer. Hierdie narratief-gebaseerde benadering verminder die gebruik van ‘n klassieke kostevoordeel-koöperatiewe model, verminder die invloed van vooroordeel op besluite en dryf bevordering van ‘n navorsings prosses. Hierdie bevindings stel versigtig voor dat SenseMaker® geskik is vir die storievertelling tradisies op die Afrika-kontinent, sowel as regoor die wêreld, maar meer navorsing is nodig om dit te bevestig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103781
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