Methods

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: steps-centre@ids.ac.uk


Events

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

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

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.

Details/Register (ARIN website)


Blog: Challenging sustainability research: how can methods make a difference?

In this introductory blogpost for the STEPS theme on Methods, theme convenors Marina Apgar and Rose Cairns discuss three meanings of sustainability research as ‘challenging research’. Methods make a difference to the potential of research to challenge power; yet power also deeply shapes the way research is framed, carried out and interpreted. This encourages us to look beyond myths of ‘neutral’, objective research for sustainability, and understand how research and action are intertwined.

Read the post


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