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Paper Presentation [clear filter]
Tuesday, July 26
 

1:30pm

Participatory Action-Research as a Methodology for the Development of Appropriate Technologies by Communities
2760 The social and environmental development potential of countries like Colombia, shows the need to articulate right from the communities, the processes and projects relevant to their territories. Furthermore when vital aspects of human health, such as access to clean water and water consumption, are also opportunities for the development of innovative technological solutions, stemming from the relationship between society and natural systems. In Colombia, for example, 62% of the municipalities have a medium to high risk of water availability vulnerability, and the remaining ones are on areas hard to reach or with a low population density. This amount increases to 80% if only the main cities are taken into account, which points to the importance of an efficient water resources management. In this context, a group of researchers together with a community of about 1,500 children and 15 teachers from schools of several municipalities of Cundinamarca department (Colombia), have been developing a technological platform founded on the community-based action research proposal of Ernest Stringer. This interactive technological platform, based on the use of SMS and the web, is called the “La Liga del Agua”. It is a jointly constructed space where synergies between the different stakeholders around the proper use of water resources can arise, based on the self-recognition of waste water problems on each of the participants’ homes. Thus, the problem is approached from the daily practices and the technological inefficiency, generating an empowerment of the water importance. The main theoretical foundation of this technological co-construction is based on the spirit of participatory and democratic systemic intervention, from the soft systems methodology of Peter Checkland, as well as the socio-cultural vision of the community that, voluntarily, intend to solve a problem collectively, as suggested by Rusell Ackoff. In this participatory co-construction, the following aspects were considered: i) the supply and environmental care systems are mediated by the interaction between the community stakeholders, ii) to develop solutions, it is not enough with the construction of appropriate technologies, research processes aimed at social appropriation of innovation are essential, and finally iii) the knowledge management, the use of technology and the impact of the teachers in the development of socio-environmental skills of the participating students. In this article, we will show the jointly design process of the “La Liga del Agua” platform and the incidence on the increase of the good practices of water resources usage. In addition, the results of the teaching strategies and recreational activities that seek to increase the empowerment by the actors and their interaction with the technology, will be presented. To conclude, all the learnings of the proposal will be introduced, so it can be replicated on other contexts with environmental concerns.

Chairs
avatar for Shankar Sankaran

Shankar Sankaran

Professor, University of Technology Sydney
Vice President Research and Publications, International Society for the Systems Sciences.SIG Chair: Action Research (see below for information)Shankar Sankaran specialises in project management, systems thinking and action research. He is a Core Member of a UTS Research Centre on... Read More →

Tuesday July 26, 2016 1:30pm - 2:00pm
ECCR 151

3:30pm

A Communication System for Socio-Ecological Processes
2887 This article outlines a unified Communication Theory linking cyber-systemic, and cyber-semiotic perspectives. The objective is explaining communication as an emergent system from the interaction process between socio-ecological systems. The emergent communication system seen from a unified perspective is applied as a participative integral transformation process toward the harmonic relationship between human communities and their dynamic social and natural environment. It includes the description of an evolutionary communication process between social and environmental leaders of organizational networks under real conditions. It describes the evolutionary stages of the communication system between different social and environmental leaders who have been working in social organizational networks of Mexico in the last thirty years. The last stage of this emergent communication process among social organizational networks leaders began in 2009, is called: the Ecosystemic Dialogues, it is communication system with qualitative complexity and critical awareness. It is a social laboratory of change under real conditions, through a participative action-research cybernetic process, for a harmonic and sustainable relationship between human and natural systems, through a complex communication dynamic. It is a process toward the sustainable systemic health of the planet. Keywords: Communication, cyber-semiotic, qualitative complexity, emergent properties, ecosystemic metaphor

Chairs
avatar for Shankar Sankaran

Shankar Sankaran

Professor, University of Technology Sydney
Vice President Research and Publications, International Society for the Systems Sciences.SIG Chair: Action Research (see below for information)Shankar Sankaran specialises in project management, systems thinking and action research. He is a Core Member of a UTS Research Centre on... Read More →

Tuesday July 26, 2016 3:30pm - 4:00pm
ECCR 151

4:30pm

Developing a Theory of Systems Change Approach to Practice-Based Research in a Professional Public Health Doctoral Program
2921 At the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, we are developing a distance learning doctoral program in public health (DrPH) focusing on adaptive leadership. Students complete dissertations, some explicitly using action research models, but all in support of the overarching program goal of developing practice based evidence for guiding systemic change. Core principles and skills embedded in our curriculum include systems thinking and systematic reflection. Dissertation research begins with building a problem statement for a “wicked” problem the student wishes to address, with associated initial action relevant broad research questions (how do we solve this problem?). We have required students to articulate their assumptions about what the problem is or might be and critically consider alternative ways of framing their problem statements, and have drawn from soft systems, systems dynamics, and Bob Williams’ syntheses of these and other systems traditions in doing so. As a next step, we require students to develop a conceptual framework and a visual representation of it that draws both from scholarly literature and from reflection on their practice experience. Identifying alternative ways of stating the problem does itself open up the exploration of more possibilities for solutions. Since, however, the ultimate goal of student scholarship is to contribute to solving a problem, not just stating it, developing the conceptual framework or model often involves describing a current state of affairs, selecting and specifying constructs or dimensions relevant to a description of this current state, as well as envisaging a more desirable future state and a pathway(s) to get to the future state from the current state. So there is a “theory of change,” or assumptions about what gets included in a description of the system, and how to get from point A to point B, that is at least implicit in the student’s model or conceptual framework, which we want to see made explicit. Furthermore, students need to develop, and operationalize (be able to apply to data collection and analysis) specific research questions investigating those pathways for change and/or refining the description of the current state. Thus far, not surprisingly, the results of research often include a re- or amended conceptualization of the model with which the student started, which can become the basis for action recommendations for change. In the more participatory action research options taken by some of the students, the student researcher is an active agent in those pathways for change, for instance acting as a developmental evaluator or facilitating community of practice discussions. In a “theory of change” approach one of the sources we draw from is evaluation methodology: evaluators from the Aspen Institute used the term in the 1990’s to discuss a participatory approach to evaluation that directed evaluators to facilitate discussions among stakeholders about what assumptions about how change happens they were bringing to a given intervention and, ideally, come to some consensus about this before finalizing a logic model for the intervention and relevant indicators. This has been further developed in evaluation circles via increasing critical attention paid to program logic and theory and intervention models. Another, more research-based approach to developing ‘theories of change,’ however, has to do with comparing the received ideas of the students as public health practitioners with what is supported in systems and social science literature. We would like to discuss with ISSS colleagues the implications of taking a “theory of change” approach to the development of conceptual frameworks and associated research questions as applied to the “wicked problems” our students select, and to that end will present some examples from our recent work with students.

Chairs
avatar for Shankar Sankaran

Shankar Sankaran

Professor, University of Technology Sydney
Vice President Research and Publications, International Society for the Systems Sciences.SIG Chair: Action Research (see below for information)Shankar Sankaran specialises in project management, systems thinking and action research. He is a Core Member of a UTS Research Centre on... Read More →

Tuesday July 26, 2016 4:30pm - 5:00pm
ECCR 151