Evaluation of Technology Platforms for Use in Transdisciplinary Research
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Transdisciplinary research (TR) is a growing field in a myriad of subject domains ranging from sustainability to education. The idea is to solve complex problems through the collaborative participation of academic actors, community stakeholders, governments, and other leaders to jointly define the problem and find solutions. To accomplish such complex projects, one of the main tools is an efficient technology platform. The need for an efficient technology platform, in turn, leads to a need for an evaluation tool to determine which is the most suitable for a given transdisciplinary research situation, however, a literature review confirms that research on such evaluation tools is scarce. The goal of this paper is to improve the evaluation of technology platforms for individual TR projects, based on the characteristics of that specific TR. The research question is “Can TR characteristics be used to construct an evaluation tool for technology platforms?” The specific aims used to answer the question were: the following: (1) to define the characteristics (core activities and skills) of TR and (2) to construct a tool for evaluating technology platforms for use in TR. Methodology: For the first specific aim, a literature meta-analysis was used; the second specific aim was addressed following a newly developed methodology, including elements of the technology acceptance model and elements of a standard technology evaluation process. Results: A chart for defining the core activities and skills in TR was developed, and a tool was constructed for evaluating technology platforms that could be used in TR.