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The central purpose of all research is to create new knowledge. In the geographical sciences this is driven by a desire to create new knowledge about the relations between space, place, and the anthropogenic and non-anthropogenic features and processes of the Earth. But some research goes beyond these modest aims and creates new opportunities for further research, or affects the process of knowledge acquisition more broadly, or changes the way other researchers in a domain think about the world and go about their business.

Due to its positive impacts, transformative research can be regarded as inherently having greater value than more conventional research, and funding agencies clearly regard transformative research as something to be encouraged and funded through special programs. Assessments of transformative research funding initiatives are few and provide a mixed picture of their effectiveness. The challenge is whether transformative research can be identified at the time it is proposed rather than after it has been conducted, communicated, and its influence on the discipline has become clear. Fostering Transformative Research in the Geographical Sciences reviews how transformative research has emerged in the past, what its early markers were, and makes recommendations for how it can be nurtured in the future.

Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Fostering Transformative Research in the Geographical Sciences. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

92 pages |  8.5 x 11 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-38934-1
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-38937-2

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