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Title: Integrated research in natural resources: the key role of problem framing.

Author: Clark, Roger N.; Stankey, George H.;

Date: 2006

Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-678. Portland, OR. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 63 p

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

Description: Integrated research is about achieving holistic understanding of complex biophysical and social issues and problems. It is driven by the need to improve understanding about such systems and to improve resource management by using the results of integrated research processes.

Traditional research tends to fragment complex problems, focusing more on the pieces of problems rather than the whole that comprises multiple interrelationships and interactions. The outcome is that a lot is known about the parts (e.g., recreation, fish, and wildlife) but relatively little about how they are interrelated.

There seems to be general agreement that integrated questions must drive the search for integrated understanding, but tradition, inertia, institutional culture, budgets, training, and lack of effective leadership foster reductionism (at worst) or minimal degrees of integration (at best) rather than any substantial, sustainable effort toward integrated research.

In this paper, a phased approach to framing integrated research questions and addressing the substantial barriers that impede integrated efforts are discussed. A key conclusion is that to make any significant progress toward comprehensive integrated research will require more than rhetoric. Progress must begin with more effective leadership throughout various levels of research organizations.

Keywords: Research, integration, resource management, leadership, problem framing

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
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Clark, Roger N.; Stankey, George H. 2006. Integrated research in natural resources: the key role of problem framing. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-678. Portland, OR. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 63 p

 


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