Adomssent’s Framework for Interdisciplinary Research

Following the work of Nolting (2004) and its adaptation by Dr Maik Adomssent of Leuphana University (-Adomssent 2013), I refer to 3 research ‘strata’ for transdisciplinary sustainability research: The level of Analytical Research – i.e. analysis of actor mental models, of system structures, patterns and relationships, leverage points, scenarios. Followed by the Normative Research level – where the research positions itself in the context of evolving academic discourse and theory, and finally the operational research level aiming to distil findings so as to contribute meaningfully to policy and practice. I have adapted Adomssent’s addition to these levels, into corresponding analytical research questions and normative & operational research aims:

Analytical Research Level (research questions):

– Which complex fields of problems for soilless urban agriculture – are perceived and experienced? (Actor Mental Models)

– How are these problems embedded in society and nature? (System Structures)

– What are the pertinent influencing factors and processes? (Patterns and Relationships, Maps)

– What options exist for intervening in / restructuring the current food system, facilitating transition? (Leverage Points)

– What are the economic, social and environmental impacts of different options? (Scenarios)

Normative Research Level Aims (contribution to academic discourse and theory)

– to clarify the complex fuzzy framing of ‘soilless growing’’ (case examples, interviews, language, taxonomy)

– to clarify the goals of a sustainable food system for Portsmouth and of soilless growing’s role in this

– to reconstruct the processes of relevant discourses (determined during the study – for example spatial planning, sustainable food systems) in light of my findings and to contribute to its advancement.

Operational Research Level aims (contribution to policy and practice)

– to examine the practical terms and conditions for action

– to elaborate and prioritise strategies towards facilitating the introduction of soilless growing according to the analysed conditions and their societal implementation and implications

– to produce decision support tools and policy relevant guidelines that bring together the findings of this research into a meaningful and useable manner

Nolting, Benjamin, Voss, Jan-Peter & Hayn, Doris. 2004. Sustainability Research: Beyond Discipline and Anything Goes.. GAIA 13: 254-261.

Maik Adomssent. 2013. Overview of issues in TDRS from the researcher perspective. Prague: Charles University Environment Centre.