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Glossary

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A research approach that accelerates the production of knowledge about the complex interactions between human and natural systems and involves distilling or integrating data, ideas, theories, or methods from the natural and social sciences. This approach may result in new data products, particularly ones that address questions in new spatial or temporal contexts or scales, but may also involve evaluating textual or oral arguments, interpreting evidence, developing new applications or models, or identifying novel areas of study. 

Tightly linked social and biophysical subsystems that mutually influence one another. Example: human behaviors, decisions, and policies influence the status of ecosystems (e.g., water quality) that, in turn, influence human beings’ quality of life and future decisions.

A group or individual that is impacted by, or has an interest in, the research or operations of an organization. Two types of stakeholders exist: internal stakeholders who represent members of the organization or research team, and external stakeholders who represent the knowledge users of the research (e.g., policy makers).

For SESYNC’s purposes, this term refers to systems (social and environmental) that have the ability to persist and flourish over time. Sustainability also means meeting human needs in an equitable way while supporting the natural systems upon which present and future life depends. Participating SESYNC scholars are actively working to discover how best to foster sustainability worldwide.

A research method that draws from many sources, including researchers and/or multiple fields of inquiry, accelerating knowledge production by distilling data, ideas, theories, or methods. Synthesis may involve the development or application of models or the integration of methods from different disciplines to define new approaches or research directions. It may also involve critical analysis to evaluate arguments or interpret evidence, from the highly quantitative (data sets) to the highly qualitative (oral histories).