Mellow Yellow: Taking a Systems Thinking Approach to Designing Research on Transitioning to More Sustainable Sewage Management

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 2015, 32 (3), pp. 330 - 343
Issue Date:
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Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This paper will explain how a framework derived from systems thinking, including soft systems methodology and the use of action research as a methodology, shaped a research project addressing an area of application (sustainable sanitation). The research used F (intellectual framework) M (methodology for using F) to address A (area of application) for understanding rational intervention in human affairs proposed by Peter Checkland in the 1980s. This Australia-first research project was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of collaborators from academia, industry and government that included researchers, practitioners and students. It explored the use of innovative urine-diverting toilets in an institutional setting. The paper is focussed on the initial stages of the project—the project design and early investigative phase, and demonstrates how systems thinking and a transdisciplinary research approach were used to structure a complex problem related to sustainability, a problem that infringed on social and cultural issues. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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