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Working Group Transformative Research

Research methods, philosophies of knowledge and the attitude of researchers require critical reflection. Here you will find introductory and further information on transformative research and opportunities to exchange ideas directly with the international, interdisciplinary working group on transformative research. The working group has been meeting online three to four times a year since 2020 to support each other in research projects. Without rigid definitions and with room for uncertainty, we engage in joint reflection processes.

What is transformative research?

Those who research transformations, i.e. major social change processes, not only observe and describe changes, but also contribute to change themselves. Research changes the researchers and the researched in equal measure. Transformative research is aware of these many dimensions of change and engages with them. There is no single definition for transformative research. What unites the various definitions is the desire to understand change through transformative research and to direct it in a positive direction.

"Transformative research aims to develop technical, social and organizational solutions to current problems in a joint process between scientists and practitioners" (Schader Foundation)


"Transformative research is oriented towards concrete social problems and is characterized by an explicit claim to intervention. The aim is to catalyze concrete change processes and actively involve stakeholders in the research process"(Wuppertal Institute)


"Our mission is to develop transformative knowledge for pathways to sustainable societies. To this end, we conduct transdisciplinary, transformative and co-creative research in order to develop solutions to pressing sustainability problems together with our partners from science, society and politics and to support decision-making processes at national and international level."(IASS)

"Transformative research aims at change processes in at least three directions: Firstly, it aims to bring about change through the research process itself (and not just through its results). Secondly, the research project itself exposes itself to change by dealing with concrete issues. This is continuously accompanied critically on a meta-level. Thirdly, the researchers themselves emerge differently from this process." 

Perspektiven des transformativen Forschens
00:00 / 04:35
Löwenzahn Felder

Insights into our work

The transforamtive research working group continuously discusses current research projects of its members, organizes workshops and invites interdisciplinary guest lectures.

To the Kontrapunkte Podcast

Become a member of our working group!

Feel free to contact us:

More Information

Center for Social and Development Studies
Wuppertal Institute
Schader Foundation
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