Researchers' experiences, positive and negative, in integrative landscape projects

Barbel Tress, Gunther Tress, G. Fry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    51 Citations (Scopus)


    Integrative (interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary) landscape research projects are becoming increasingly common. As a result, researchers are spending a larger proportion of their professional careers doing integrative work, participating in shifting interdisciplinary teams, and cooperating directly with non-academic participants. Despite the growing importance of integrative research, few studies have investigated researchers' experiences in these projects. How do researchers perceive the outcomes of integrative projects, or career effects? Do they view the projects generally as successes or failures? This study analyses researchers' experiences in integrative landscape studies and investigates what factors shape these experiences. The data stems from 19 semi-structured qualitative interviews and a Web-based survey among 207 participants in integrative landscape research projects. It finds that researchers experience participation in integrative projects as positive, in particular discussions among participants, networking, teamwork, and gaining new insights and skills. Furthermore, most researchers perceive the projects as successful and as having a positive effect on their careers. Less positive aspects of integration relate to publications and merit points. Factors found to contribute to positive experiences include reaching a high degree of integration amongst the involved disciplines, common definitions of integrative research concepts, and projects that include a large share of fundamental research as well as projects with many project outcomes. Based on these findings, we advise future projects to plan for integration, facilitate discussions, and reach agreement on integrative concepts. We suggest that aspects of fundamental research be included in integrative projects. We also suggest that planning be done at an early stage for peer-reviewed publications, to ensure that participants gain merit points from their participation in integrative research efforts.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)792-807
    Number of pages15
    JournalEnvironmental Management
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


    • career effect
    • interdisciplinarity
    • interviews
    • merit points
    • research outcome
    • transdisciplinarity
    • web survey
    • POLICY
    • ISSUES


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