Redirecting Social Science Research to Interdisciplinary Problem Solving: Participatory Action Research in the Pacific Islands
Social science disciplines can move from their research turfs to a more direct service to communities and societies to engage in interdisciplinary problem solving and service learning. Instructional research and consulting use social sciences disciplinary approaches and tools to recast them in problem solving endeavors for planning and management in solidarity with local communities. This effort includes physical and natural sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences. Examples from Hawaii and other Pacific Islands involve participatory action research (PAR) for community building and planning, environmental management and land use analysis characterized by a human ecological bend at the island, district or watershed levels. The interlocutors have been indigenous and local island communities, as well as county, state or federal agencies. The intent is to promote collaborative “place based management” as an alternative to the inaction of remote public and private entities that have a hold on regulation and land. The presentation reviews (a) the theoretical basis for research design, approaches, methods, as well as (b) templates for the organization of information useful for EA, EIS documentation collaborative research, inter-stakeholders problem solving, decision making and partnerships for resource management. The conclusion reflects of the civil and governance organizational system needs to improve planning.
Keywords: Interdisciplinary Problem Solving, Participatory Action Research, Hawaii, Pacific Islands, Place Based Management, Planning
Dr. Luciano Minerbi
Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii