Towards adequately framing sustainability goals in research projects: the case of land use studies
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
Sustainability-oriented undertakings employ a multitude of different definitions and understandings of the term sustainable development. Against this background, the question of which sustainability goals to refer to at project level must be posed. This article discusses this question using the example of research on land use issues. It presents a qualitative in-depth empirical analysis of the underlying sustainability understanding of research projects, and identifies crucial characteristics of the ways researchers deal with the respective normative goals. The notions of sustainable development advanced by such projects featured different foci with respect to the overall meaning of the concept and were influenced by diverse actor and stakeholder perspectives. Further, the identified sustainability conceptions were deliberated on to different extents, and also differed with respect to whether they were explicit or contextualized. Most importantly, the projects differed in how they broached the issue of sustainability goals as part of research. The findings were used to develop a set of guidelines that clarifies how research can be related successfully to the societal vision of sustainable development. The guidelines draw conceptually on general requirements for appropriate sustainability conceptions derived from the Brundtland definition. They offer a tool for reflecting on one’s assumptions with respect to sustainability goals at any stage of research, which is crucial for advancing the seminal field of sustainability science. Show more
Journal / seriesSustainability Science
Pages / Article No.
SubjectGrounded theory; Normative principles; Science studies; Science-policy nexus; Sustainability conceptions; Sustainability research
Organisational unit03728 - Engel, Stefanie (ehemalig)
08804 - Environmental Philosophy
NotesIt was possible to publish this article open access thanks to a Swiss National Licence with the publisher.
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