Mary Edson

Mary Edson
A Guide to Systems Research: Philosophy, Processes and Practice
This guide is designed for systems researchers – emerging and seasoned – searching for holistic approaches of inquiry into complexity, which the Systems Sciences provide. The authors share insight into the foundations of research that are not only systematic in terms of rigor, but systemic in perspective, analysis, design, development, implementation, reporting, and evaluation. This guide also explores researcher competencies necessary to conduct sound systems research. Researchers using this guide will gain understanding of what distinguishes systems research from other types of research and why it is important in research today.
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“This book is particularly interesting because it tries to answer some of the practical questions about systems based research which often lie in the margins of writing on systems. I like the way in which it engages with different approaches to systems practise (eg modelling and action research) and offers thoughtful explanations of how they might connect with each other. An important challenge for contemporary research is how technical approaches (modelling, network mapping; statistical analysis etc) elide with more participatory processes. This book opens some pathways as to how that might happen.” (Danny Burns, University of Sussex)

“This book takes a systems approach to research, seeing it not merely as an activity but as considered action undertaken in a selected context by a reflective person. … The authors are experts in their respective fields … the book is in itself a system in which the chapters illuminate and reinforce each other, providing the reader with a comprehensive and integrated framework for competent systems research. In its scope the book covers both well-established and leading-edge thinking in systems research. This provides the reader with firm foundations while inviting them to critical reflection on the status quo. In a complex and increasingly challenging world, this supports researchers to have both the confidence and the flexibility needed to find effective systemic solutions to newly emerging problem scenarios. This book is highly recommended, both for new researchers seeking well-rounded frameworks and methods for systems research, and for educators seeking to develop well-rounded researchers.” (David Rousseau, Centre for Systems Philosophy)

“The right book at the right time! The complex world we are living in increasingly puts a demand on researchers to develop and apply useful systems theories and methodologies to deal with the complexities of our time. … This book significantly contributes to the development of an understanding of the value of knowledge on appropriate systems approaches and tools to address complex economic and managerial challenges. Researchers will benefit from the authors’ explorations to identify suitable scientific methods that are systemic and interconnected; academics will especially benefit from the guidelines for advising research students who are undertaking systems research; and consultants will find this book of particular value to help organizations that are experiencing complex problems in a systemic way. A ‘must read and have book’ for research in a 21 st Century turbulent and complex knowledge society.” (Ockie Bosch, Systemic Excellence Group)

“This book offers a significant conceptual framework for systems research and a basis for a holistic understanding of, and a practical approach to project design, implementation and evaluation of rigorous whole systems research. … The book provides a guide for action to achieve transformative goals locally by thinking globally in a humanitarian way. … Therefore, the book is of interest and relevance to experienced systems researchers, as well as a guide for doctoral students and early career researchers in their projects to achieve organisational change and to empower marginalised communities to help themselves and create their own future. I especially appreciate the authors’ focus on the qualities of inclusivity, collaboration and holistic thinking and on the emancipatory power of participatory action research (PAR) in systems research projects. … I am happy to endorse this book as it will make a great impact on both the theory/understanding and practice/action of systems research.” (Ortrun Zuber-Skerritt, Griffith University)

“This Guide to Systems Research is significant because it comes at a time in which there is increasing awareness of systems, and greater levels of funding for systems-related research. Its topics offer the basis for improved system research education for undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers and academics transitioning into systems-related research. On that basis alone it can be strongly endorsed and recommended. More importantly, perhaps, this book addresses a significant challenge for systems practitioners in being able to benefit from systems research. The book provides a much needed guide to help academic systems researchers undertake quality systems research needed by practitioners, and help systems practitioners identify and commission useful and valid systems research. This provides the basis for even stronger endorsement!” (Terence Love, Design Out Crime & CPTED)

“This is a unique book written by a team of highly distinguished systems scientists/experts. It is the first book that sets out for postgraduate and doctoral students a solid foundation for systems researches working from any systems perspective – systems dynamics, critical systems thinking, soft systems methodologies, or any version of ‘systems thinking’. The book addresses the fundamentals of good research that lay beneath every one of these research approaches.” (Nam Nguyen, Malik)

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Project Management
Leadership Coaching for Project Managers

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change – Stephen Hawking (1974)