Failure to Consider Local Political Processes and Power Relations in the Development of a Transdisciplinary Research Project Plan: Learning Lessons from a Stormy Start

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

The 2014-2016 ‘Transforming Responses to Power Outages in Extreme Weather Events’ Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project was rated ‘Outstanding’ in 2017 by Innovate UK for transforming community-level responses to power disruption during extreme weather. However, despite its eventual success, the project suffered from a failure at the very start of the project, whereby the original research plan failed to obtain the agreement of community members, as key stakeholders, to participate in the proposed project activities. This chapter draws on the findings from a failure analysis of the original project plan by drawing on evidence obtained from semi-structured interviews conducted with community participants as part of the revised project plan to highlight how this failure resulted from inadequate consideration of the importance of place-based political processes and uneven power relations between stakeholders in the original research design. Building upon existing transdisciplinary scholarship focusing on managing power relations and measuring progress in research, it argues that this failure reveals the need for researchers to be fully informed about contextual power dynamics embedded within society in advance of the development of project activity plans. In addition, lessons learnt from this failure can help in developing key recommendations for informing future transdisciplinary research endeavours.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary ‘Failures’ as Lessons Learned – A Cautionary Tale
EditorsDena Fam, Michael O'Rourke
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter7
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

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    Connon, I. L. C. (2020). Failure to Consider Local Political Processes and Power Relations in the Development of a Transdisciplinary Research Project Plan: Learning Lessons from a Stormy Start. In D. Fam, & M. O'Rourke (Eds.), Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary ‘Failures’ as Lessons Learned – A Cautionary Tale Routledge.