Methodological Challenges Created by Complexity in Interdisciplinary Studies

Conference poster


Sandland, S. and Haberberg, A. 2017. Methodological Challenges Created by Complexity in Interdisciplinary Studies. UEL Research and Knowledge Exchange Conference. University of East London, London, UK 2017 - 2018
AuthorsSandland, S. and Haberberg, A.
TypeConference poster
Abstract

The disciplines of sustainability and national culture are both well established complex areas of study. It is only relatively recently that researchers have started to study the manner in which cultural characteristics influence behaviours that contribute to a nations activities that can lead to a reduction of their environmental burden. Most initial research undertaken was positivist in nature, relying on statistical correlation between behaviours and frameworks developed by Hofstede or the GLOBE project (Caprar and Neville, 2012). However, Rogge, Dessein, and Verhoeve (2013) argue that research into subjects as complex as this should commence with work of a more exploratory nature. This research involved the development of four case studies with the intention of validating the findings of prior research.
Maximum variation sampling resulted in the selection of the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and Japan. However, subsequent analysis revealed that the three European nations shared many similarities. Sample selection also appeared to be problematic in the prior research that was being validated, whereby it could be argued that there were instances where the sample itself influenced the findings.
The case studies were developed using OECD standards as framework. The findings of the positivist studies could not be validated. It was found that the multifaceted nature of the two subject areas was incompatible with positivist studies when they concentrated on individual phenomena. This research found that interdisciplinary research compounds complexity which must be understood. Whilst generalisations can be made, precision should be handled with caution.

KeywordsInterdisciplinary research; Complexity; Philosophy; Exploration
Year2017
ConferenceUEL Research and Knowledge Exchange Conference
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Completed2017
Deposited29 Mar 2022
Copyright holder© 2017 The Authors
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