Universität Wien
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180106 SE Systems thinking and interdisciplinarity for tackling wicked problems (2023W)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung

Hinweis der SPL Philosophie:

Das Abgeben von ganz oder teilweise von einem KI-tool (z.B. ChatGPT) verfassten Texten als Leistungsnachweis (z.B. Seminararbeit) ist nur dann erlaubt, wenn dies von der Lehrveranstaltungsleitung ausdrücklich als mögliche Arbeitsweise genehmigt wurde. Auch hierbei müssen direkt oder indirekt zitierte Textstellen wie immer klar mit Quellenangabe ausgewiesen werden.

Die Lehrveranstaltungsleitung kann zur Überprüfung der Autorenschaft einer abgegebenen schriftlichen Arbeit ein notenrelevantes Gespräch (Plausibilitätsprüfung) vorsehen, das erfolgreich zu absolvieren ist.


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 25 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Donnerstag 12.10. 13:15 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3F NIG 3.Stock
Donnerstag 09.11. 13:15 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3F NIG 3.Stock
Donnerstag 16.11. 13:15 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3F NIG 3.Stock
Donnerstag 23.11. 13:15 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3F NIG 3.Stock
Donnerstag 30.11. 13:15 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3F NIG 3.Stock
Donnerstag 07.12. 13:15 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3F NIG 3.Stock
Donnerstag 14.12. 13:15 - 16:30 Hörsaal 3F NIG 3.Stock
Donnerstag 11.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal 3F NIG 3.Stock
Donnerstag 11.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2G, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/2.Stock, 1010 Wien


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Today's grand challenges (climate change, clean energy, social and gender inequalities, new technologies, migration, urbanization, mobility, security, etc.) are "wicked problems": pressing societal issues characterized by complexity, uncertainty, and divergence. They involve diverse stakeholders, cut across various disciplines, and span public and private spheres. This course provides a practical introduction to systems thinking and interdisciplinarity for addressing such wicked problems.

The course is open to students from all disciplines holding a bachelor's degree.

The following learning outcomes are targeted:
* knowing the background, basic assumptions, major concepts and epistemological stances of problem-focused inter- and transdisciplinary research
* ability to apply selected tools and methods from systems thinking
* ability to work on complex problems in teams
* ability to follow a simple interdisciplinary research process model to (re)conceptualize complex problems

The course draws on the body of knowledge from systems thinking and problem-focused inter- and transdisciplinary research. It is based on principles of active learning and includes individual/group work, reading/writing assignments, discussions, joint problem-solving, peer-feedback, etc. Students will choose a wicked problem and (throughout the course) tackle it together in groups using selected methods and tools from systems thinking and problem-focused inter- and transdisciplinary research.

The course is organized in seven units. Each unit builds on the previous one. Except for the first unit, all other units consist of two parts: (1) prep activities/tasks to be completed in advance via Moodle and (2) a corresponding session in class to explore the unit’s topic together in teams. All group work will be done in class, all prep work individually (own schedule/pace, i.e., no coordination with team members outside of class required as long as you do not miss a session in class).

Course Outline:
Unit 1: Welcome and introduction
Unit 2: Problem posing
Unit 3: Understanding complexity
Unit 4: Identifying relevant fields of knowledge
Unit 5: Cross-disciplinary literature research and data management
Unit 6: Analyzing insights
Unit 7: Reflection and feedback

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

A point system is used for the assessment. See details below.
All relevant course material will be provided via Moodle.

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

To pass the course it is required that
* you are successfully registered and accepted for this course
* you are present at the first “Welcome and introduction” session (otherwise the place for this course is lost)
* you do not miss more than 1 session in class
* you acquire at least 60 (of 100) points by the end of the course

Course unit | Associated points
Unit 1: Welcome and introduction | 4
Unit 2: Problem posing | 16
Unit 3: Understanding complexity | 16
Unit 4: Identifying relevant fields of knowledge | 16
Unit 5: Cross-disciplinary literature research and data management | 16
Unit 6: Analyzing insights | 16
Unit 7: Reflection and feedback | 16

For units 2-7 you can acquire 16 points per unit:
* 7 points for doing the prep activities/tasks before the corresponding session in class (criterion: completeness) +
* 5 points for meeting the deadline(s) for delivering the prep activities/tasks (criterion: in time) +
* 4 points for actively participating in the sessions (criterion: participation) [ -2 points if you are missing the prep work! ]

Points | Grade
93-100 | sehr gut (1)
83-92 | gut (2)
73-82 | befriedigend (3)
60-72 | genügend (4)
0-59 | nicht genügend (5)

By registering for this course, you agree that the automated plagiarism check software Turnitin will check all written performances submitted by you (in Moodle).


See above.


The course is based on the following texts:

Bammer, G. (2013). Disciplining interdisciplinarity: Integration and implementation sciences for researching complex real-world problems. ANU Press.

Barbrook-Johnson, P., & Penn, A. S. (2022). Systems mapping. How to build and use causal models of systems. Palgrave Macmillan Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-01919-7

Bergmann, M., Jahn, T., Knobloch, T., Krohn, W., Pohl, C., Schramm, E., & Klein, J. T. (2012). Methods for transdisciplinary research: A primer for practice (R. C. Faust, Trans.). Campus Verlag.

Cabrera, D., Cabrera, L., & Powers, E. (2015). A unifying theory of systems thinking with psychosocial applications. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 32(5), 534–545. https://doi.org/10.1002/sres.2351

Frodeman, R., Klein, J. T., & Pacheco, R. C. D. S. (Eds.). (2017). The Oxford handbook of interdisciplinarity (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Frodeman, R. (2021). Interdisciplinarity and the dilemmas of knowledge. In I. Camerlink (Ed.), Bridging research disciplines to advance animal welfare science: A practical guide (pp. 63–71). CABI Publishing.

Hadorn, G. H., Hoffmann-Riem, H., Biber-Klemm, S., Grossenbacher-Mansuy, W., Joye, D., Pohl, C., Wiesmann, U., & Zemp, E. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of transdisciplinary research. Springer.

Head, B. W. (2022). Wicked problems in public policy: Understanding and responding to complex challenges. Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-94580-0

Hubbs, G., O’Rourke, M., & Orzack, S. H. (Eds.). (2020). The Toolbox Dialogue Initiative: The power of cross-disciplinary practice. CRC Press.

Kawa, N. C., Arceño, M. A., Goeckner, R., Hunter, C. E., Rhue, S. J., Scaggs, S. A., Biwer, M. E., Downey, S. S., Field, J. S., Gremillion, K., McCorriston, J., Willow, A., Newton, E., & Moritz, M. (2021). Training wicked scientists for a world of wicked problems. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-021-00871-1

Klein, J. T. (2021). Beyond interdisciplinarity: Boundary work, communication, and collaboration. Oxford University Press.

Mälkki, K. (2019). Coming to grips with edge-emotions: The gateway to critical reflection and transformative learning. In T. Fleming, A. Kokkos, & F. Finnegan (Eds.), European perspectives on transformation theory (pp. 59–73). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-19159-7_5

Mälkki, K., & Raami, A. (2022). Transformative learning to solve the impossible: Edge-emotions and intuition in expanding the limitations of our rational abilities. In Transformative learning theory and praxis. Routledge.

Meadows, D. H. (2008). Thinking in systems: A primer (D. Wright, Ed.). Chelsea Green Publishing.

Metcalf, G. S., Kijima, K., & Deguchi, H. (Eds.). (2020). Handbook of systems sciences. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-0370-8_7-1

Repko, A. F., & Szostak, R. (2020). Interdisciplinary research: Process and theory (4th ed.). SAGE Publications.

Repko, A. F., Szostak, R., & Buchberger, M. P. (2020). Introduction to interdisciplinary studies (3rd ed.). SAGE Publications.

Schickore, J. (2020). Mess in science and wicked problems. Perspectives on Science, 28(4), 482–504. https://doi.org/10.1162/posc_a_00348

Tromp, C. (2018). Wicked philosophy: Philosophy of science and vision development for complex problems. Amsterdam University Press.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Letzte Änderung: Mo 18.12.2023 07:06