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Theory Biosci. 2012 Jun;131(2):117-23. doi: 10.1007/s12064-012-0154-3. Epub 2012 May 25.

Transformative research: definitions, approaches and consequences.

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  • 1School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road, East, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.


In this perspective a definition of transformative research (TR) is proposed and discussed. We define TR as that which "transforms" or causes a major change in thought patterns concerning an area of scientific endeavor. This type of research is often elusive, requires different approaches and sometimes depends on a bit of luck. TR concerns intangibles such as human intuition, serendipity, unpredictable events, implausible hypotheses, a well-prepared mind and often interpersonal communications. Examples are provided to illustrate how TR may unfold. Contributions it makes to basic and applied humanistic knowledge are highlighted.

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