Enabling transdisciplinary research: Suggestions for avoiding 'road-blocks' based on a case study

Martin Coath, Ilona Mettiäinen, Roxana Contreras, Jusu Toivonen, John C. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In this brief plain language report we introduce a novel diagrammatic way of thinking about interactions in transdisciplinary teams. This representation is designed to provoke debate about how teams which do not share a common world view can make progress, but not necessarily direct progress, towards common goals. We further identify a range of possible problems -- which we refer to as road-blocks -- which can limit progress and reduce the effectiveness of such projects. Finally we make short suggestions about how road-blocks might be lifted. The diagrammatic representation was developed as part of the plain language notes which were kept to document the progress of a work package -- part of the Blue-Action project -- dealing with Arctic Tourism. But the report draws on wider experience of transdisciplinary working in the team and attempts an easily readable summary of some aspects of how such projects do, and do not, work. We propose that interactions between members of a team that have little in common, with respect to experience and expertise, will rarely lead to outputs that meet the goals of the project unless supplementary activities first 'recast' their views towards a common frame of reference.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOpen Research Europe
Issue number147
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • transdisciplinary
  • co-design
  • co-design methods
  • tourism

Field of science

  • Multidisciplinary
  • Visual arts and design
  • Computer and information sciences


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