Many methods offer ways to link knowledge and action for sustainability. But there are intense pressures to close down and narrow the way knowledge is produced and used for instrumental ends. What methodological assemblages, frameworks, tools and associated ways of being could help challenge these pressures, open up to more perspectives and participation in research, and allow us to pursue more plural pathways to sustainability?

The STEPS Centre’s theme for 2021 is Methods. Find out more about our four-year programme, or continue in this section for resources and news of our events. Contact us:

Forthcoming Events

8 November 2021: Methods ‘bazaar’: Transdisciplinary methods for sustainability

Knowledge exchange event for researchers and other participants in sustainability initiatives interested in transdisciplinary methods.


Sign up to our events newsletter to receive details of forthcoming events in the series.

Past events

17 February 2021: Challenging research for sustainability – transdisciplinary methods, relationships, politics and praxis

Launch event. Speakers: Andy Stirling (STEPS/University of Sussex); Anabel Marin (IDS); Lakshmi Charli-Joseph and Patricia Pérez-Belmont (LANCIS-IE-UNAM/Umbela); Joel Onyango and Joanes Atela (ACTS/ARIN). Moderators: Marina Apgar (IDS) and Rose Cairns (SPRU).

Event details Video (YouTube)

5 March 2021: Power and Methods

Webinar convened by the Africa Research and Impact Network (ARIN) on how larger theories about methodologies have been applied to engage, challenge and shift power, and rein in hierarchical authorities (coloniality) associated with methods in Africa.

Event details Video (YouTube)

15 April 2021: Valuing diversity in Methods

This seminar, hosted by ARIN, explores how concrete methods have been applied in different (geographical, social, political) settings to demonstrate diversity, with multiple range inputs, framings, and voices.

Event details Watch video

8 July 2021: Multidimensionality of Methods

ARIN-hosted seminar exploring how patterns of funding, politics and gender bias act together to reinforce coloniality in research.

Event details Watch video


Blog posts on methods

The sowing of shared dreams – Umbela Conversatorio #2
Cultivating knowledges series, July 2021

Regenerating the soil for new roots – Umbela Conversatorio #1
Cultivating Knowledges series, April 2021

Waves of challenging research for sustainability
Patricia Pérez Belmont, March 2021

Challenging sustainability research: how can methods make a difference?
Marina Apgar and Rose Cairns, February 2021

How do we ‘decolonise’ research methodologies?
Joel Onyango and Nora Ndege, March 2021

Methods Vignettes

Browse our selection of methods that can be used to explore different pathways to sustainability. We emphasise methods that help to ‘open up’ perspectives on a problem, and ‘broaden out’ the possible options or outcomes.

Browse the vignettes

Case studies

research methodsOur cases show how STEPS Centre projects have used methods and methodologies in particular settings. This section draws on 15 years of research in diverse places around the world.

Browse case studies

The Pathways Approach

pathwaysLearn more about the STEPS Centre’s ‘pathways approach’: a guide to thinking and action around emerging sustainability challenges associated with climate change, energy, pandemic disease, water scarcity, hunger, poverty and inequality.

Read more

Other resources

Further resources on methods, including courses and suggested readings.

Browse the resources