Research approaches

From implicit to explicit: Enhancing our causal understanding of social-ecological systems

Cod fish being processed in a fish factory.

The study takes the example of the Baltic cod collapse in the 1980s. Photo: piola666 via Canva.

Social-ecological systems are complex and the different ways in which scientists causally reason about them are extraordinarily diverse.

Scientists rarely get explicit about the assumptions that shape the causal reasoning of their respective research approaches. Instead, a lot of social-ecological systems research includes a lot of implicit assumptions about causation.

In a new article, researchers list key elements that elicit these assumptions and how this can lead to path dependencies that influence their research outcomes.

By taking the example of the Baltic cod collapse in the 1980s, the study presents a guide for how to think about causation in social-ecological systems research and lays the groundwork for interdisciplinary collaboration.

This is a short research news. Curious to learn more? Find the publication here »

Published: 2024-03-19

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