Good research could go a long way toward successfully addressing environmental issues. But what is good environmental research? In ENVS, we offer a particular answer: get situated! Situated research brings environmental issues into a geographical lens, examining a wide range of processes and perspectives at multiple temporal and spatial scales as they converge at a particular location, region, or network of locations.
Situated research, in short, grounds interdisciplinary environmental research in a real-world context. It helps bring big, often abstract environmental issues down to earth, in a manner open to their full complexity while offering focus. Effective fall 2017, we have a new draft diagram and scoring rubric (below) to help you do high-quality, interdisciplinary situated environmental research.
Read on!…but remember that there are lots of details associated with situated research: make sure to read them here.
Situated Research Diagram
Situated research is a process. Think of it as starting from the top of the hourglass below, then proceeding to the middle and the bottom—situated research involves zooming in and out. At each step, there are particular things you do, summarized by this diagram. Study the diagram, then consult the scoring rubric below for each component, and read details here.
Situated Research Rubric
Here is a scoring rubric we are testing along with the above diagram in fall 2017. To assign scores, read each component element below (six total), then decide which of the below applies (30 points possible):
- 5 = All elements
- 4 = Many elements
- 3 = Some elements
- 2 = Fewer elements
- 1 = Very few elements
To download the entire scoring rubric with the hourglass diagram so that you can print it and score a situated research project, click here.
|Hourglass||Component||Elements Required for Full Credit|
|Top||Background | Framing Question | Thesis Statement||Comprehensive, relevant, readable background to research topic, building on and weaving together related scholarly and popular discussions; introduction and justification of broad, significant, understandable framing question(s) emanating from this background; and clear, argumentative thesis statement building on this background and summarizing entire hourglass process below, offering provisional answer to focus question(s) and important perspective on framing question(s).|
|Top||Situated Context | Key Actors/Processes||Clear and compelling introduction (with map) of geographical context(s) for research on topic, including vertical (general type) and lateral (comparative) justification; broad overview (including text and concept map) clarifying, and specifying relations between, key actors/processes in chosen context(s), and their potential relevance to topic and framing question(s).|
|Middle||Focus Question | Methodology||Clear summary and justification of empirical research focus question(s) to be answered for topic in situated context(s), including relevance to framing question(s) and doability in given context(s); step by step summary of each methodological element by which focus question(s) to be answered, with justification (including related studies) of each methodological element as well as data sources, ethical concerns if applicable, and other considerations.|
|Middle||Analysis | Results||Step by step procedure of analysis as above methodology implemented, including changes in response to research challenges; specific results, in narrative, chart, and table format as appropriate, obtained from analysis of each methodological element, with clear and direct reference to how these results answer focus question(s).|
|Bottom||Comparison & Generalization | Relevance to Framing Question||Clear and defensible broadening of results, starting with summary for focus question(s) in given context(s), then (lateral) comparison to other (similar or different) situated contexts based on existing literature and/or reasoned guess, as well as (vertical) generalization of possible larger patterns relevant to topic; clear and provocative application of specific results and larger comparison/generalization to shed fresh and important light on topic framing question(s).|
|Bottom||Next Steps | Further Research||Understandable and compelling application of entire hourglass argument above to derive next steps for consideration or action on chosen topic, including practical/policy options, potentially with reference—but not limited—to chosen situated context(s); clear and doable recommendations for further research building on (or perhaps deviating from) this situated research project.|