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Towards methodological diversity in sustainability transitions research? Comparing recent developments (2016-2019) with the past (before 2016)

: Hansmeier, Hendrik; Schiller, Katharina; Rogge, Karoline


Environmental innovation and societal transitions 38 (2021), pp.169-174
ISSN: 2210-4224
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ISI ()
sustainability transition; research methods; literature review; transition studies

The sustainability transitions research field continues to broaden rapidly, engaging scholars from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds. As highlighted in the STRN research agenda, transitions research relies on a broad range of methodological approaches; yet the methodological diversity of transitions studies has remained somewhat limited. In this article, we investigate if this verdict still applies to transition studies published since 2016. While our findings suggest that the recent literature became methodologically more diverse especially with regard to theoretical frameworks and research questions, other methodological dimensions continue to suggest a lack of diversity. Based on our literature review we propose three particularly promising areas for further diversifying future research on socio-technical transitions towards sustainability: theoretical bridging, novel methods, and multi-scalarity across multiple sectors.