How to Serve the Customer and Still Be Truthful: Methodological Characteristics of Applied Research

Science and Public Policy 33 (6):435-444 (2006)

Authors
Torsten Wilholt
Universität Hannover
Abstract
Transdisciplinarity includes the assumption that within new institutional settings, scientific research becomes more closely responsive to practical problems and user needs and is therefore often subject to considerable application pressure. This raises the question whether transdisciplinarity affects the epistemic standards and the fruitfulness of research. Case studies show how user-orientation and epistemic innovativeness can be combined. While the modeling involved in all cases under consideration was local and focused primarily on features of immediate practical relevance, it was informed by theoretical insights from basic research. Conversely, industrial research turns out sometimes to produce theoretical understanding. These findings highlight an interactive relationship between science and technology (moderate emergentism), which is distinct from the traditional view of a one-sided dependence of technology on science (cascade model) and from the newly received independence account (emergentism).
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DOI 10.3152/147154306781778849
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