Collaborative action research for the governance of climate adaptation - foundations, conditions and pitfalls

P.M.J.M. Huntjens, C.J.A.M. Termeer, J. Eshuis, M. van Buuren

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic


This position paper serves as an introductory guide to designing and facilitating an action research process with stakeholders in the context of climate adaptation. Specifically, this is aimed at action researchers who are targeting at involving stakeholders and their expert knowledge in generating knowledge about their own condition and how it can be changed. The core philosophy of our research approach can be described as developing a powerful combination between practice-driven collaborative action research and theoretically-informed scientific research. Collaborative action research means that we take guidance from the hotspots as the primary source of questions, dilemmas and empirical data regarding the governance of adaptation, but also collaborate with them in testing insights and strategies, and evaluating their usefulness. The purpose is to develop effective, legitimate and resilient governance arrangements for climate adaptation. Scientific quality will be achieved by placing this co-production of knowledge in a well-founded and innovative theoretical framework, and through the involvement of the international consortium partners. This position paper provides a methodological starting point of the research program ‘Governance of Climate Adaptation’ and aims: · To clarify the theoretical foundation of collaborative action research and the underlying ontological and epistemological principles · To give an historical overview of the development of action research and its different forms · To enhance the theoretical foundation of collaborative action research in the specific context of governance of climate adaptation. · To translate the philosophy of collaborative action research into practical methods; · To give an overview of the main conditions and pitfalls for action research in complex governance settings Finally, this position paper provides three key instruminstruments developed to support Action Research in the hotspots: 1) Toolbox for AR in hotspots (chapter 6); 2) Set-up of a research design and action plan for AR in hotspots (chapter 7); 3) Quality checklist or guidance for AR in hotspots (chapter 8).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationUtrecht
PublisherKnowledge for Climate Programme Office
Number of pages73
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Publication series

NameCfK report
PublisherKnowledge for Climate Programme Office


  • climatic change
  • climate adaptation
  • governance
  • decision making

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