Making mutual learning tangible: Mixed-method Delphi as a tool for measuring the convergence of participants’ reciprocal understanding in transdisciplinary processes

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This paper proposes an approach to capture mutual learning within transdisciplinary research to develop future-oriented sustainability solutions to land use conflicts. While quality criteria for transdisciplinary research projects are increasingly discussed, there is still ample methodological potential to enable and better understand mutual learning as a key component of transdisciplinarity. Changes in the specific developments of perceptions of the participants are difficult to be tamed and tracked. To address this shortcoming we propose to apply the Delphi method for longitudinal tracking of mutual learning within transdisciplinary research. We present the application of the methodological approach as part of a transdisciplinary project on sustainable land use in the district of Lüneburg (Lower-Saxony, Germany). Evaluation of semi-structured interviews with seven participants translated into a three-round Delphi survey. A concluding round of semi-structured interviews was performed to validate and deepen the findings. The results showcase that the Delphi method can facilitate the operationalization of the convergence of understandings as a relevant outcome of mutual learning within transdisciplinary projects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103365
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 01.05.2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Firstly, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all our SUSTIL project partners who actively participated in the survey and interviews conducted for this research. Their valuable contributions and cooperation have been essential in the successful completion of this study. Furthermore, we would like to thank especially our former colleagues Esther Kohlhase and Annika Schmidt for their great support and engagement. We extend our sincere appreciation the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for their financial support. We would also like to acknowledge the friendly support and inspiration provided by the funding activity Stadt-Land-Plus.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors