Document details for 'Evaluating knowledge exchange in interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder research'

Authors Fazey, I., Bunze, L., Msika, J., Pinke, M., Preedy, K., Evely, AC., Lambert, E., Hastings, E., Morris, S. and Reed, MS.
Publication details Global Environmental Change 25, 204-220. Eds. J Barnett, M Betsill, D Conway, L Lebel, K Seto. Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Publisher details Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Keywords Interdisciplinary research, Participatory research, Co-management, Co-production, Knowledge transfer, Co-design
Abstract Interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder research is increasingly being promoted and implemented to enhance understanding of global environment change, identify holistic policy solutions, and assist implementation. These research activities are social processes aiming to enhance the exchange and translation of knowledge. Emphasis on the design and management of knowledge exchange is increasing, but learning about how to do this better is hampered by lack of conceptual development and appropriate methods to evaluate complex and multifaceted knowledge exchange processes. This paper therefore develops principles for the evaluation of knowledge exchange in interdisciplinary, multistakeholder environmental change research. The paper is based on an analysis of 135 peer-reviewed evaluations of knowledge exchange from diverse disciplines. The results indicate strong relationships between the field of study (e.g. health care, environmental management), the way knowledge and knowledge exchange were conceptualised and implemented, the approach used for the evaluation, and the outcomes being evaluated. A typology of seven knowledge exchange evaluations is presented to guide discussions about the underlying assumptions of different approaches to knowledge exchange and its evaluation. Five principles for knowledge exchange evaluation are also identified: (i) design for multiple end users; (ii) be explicit about why a particular approach to knowledge exchange is expected to deliver its outcomes; (iii) evaluate diverse outcomes; (iv) use evaluations as part of the process of delivering knowledge exchange; and (v) use mixed methods to evaluate knowledge exchange. We conclude that a catch-all approach to evaluation is neither appropriate nor desirable. Instead, approaches that focus on understanding the underlying processes of knowledge exchange, assess the relative contribution of other factors in shaping outcomes in addition to knowledge exchange, and that involve multiple stakeholders in implementing evaluations, will be the most appropriate for evaluating knowledge exchange in interdisciplinary global environmental change research.
Last updated 2017-08-24
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