Title: Inadequacy of positivistic research to explain complexity of water management

Authors: Jarmo J. Hukka, Tapio S. Katko, Harri E. Mattila, Pekka E. Pietila, Sirpa K. Sandelin, Osmo T. Seppala

Addresses: Tampere University of Technology, Institute of Environmental Engineering and Biotechnology (IEEB), Capacity Development in Water Services Research Group (CADWES), International Centre for Research on Environmental Services and Governance (ICES), P.O. Box 541, FIN-33101 Tampere, Finland. ' Tampere University of Technology, Institute of Environmental Engineering and Biotechnology (IEEB), Capacity Development in Water Services Research Group (CADWES), International Centre for Research on Environmental Services and Governance (ICES), P.O. Box 541, FIN-33101 Tampere, Finland. ' Faculty of Environmental Engineering, Hame Polytechinc, University of Applied Sciences, Visamaentie 35 B, FIN-13100 Hameenlinna, Finland. ' Tampere University of Technology, P.O. Box 541, FIN-33101 Tampere, Finland. ' Faculty of Technology and Maritime Management, Satakunnan ammattikorkeakoulu, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences, Tekniikantie 2, FIN-28600 Pori, Finland. ' Espoo Water, P.O.Box 6000, Piispanportti 10, FIN-02070 Espoo, Finland

Abstract: The paper looks at alternative scientific research approaches and traditions related to Water Resources Management (WRM) and Water Supply and Sanitation (WSS) services. How can they explain the problem-oriented water governance challenges, and how do they apply to multi- and inter-disciplinary research? It is argued that the bias in favour of a positivistic approach and natural sciences in water research prevents adequate answers to wider water governance challenges and institutional and management issues. Water research should be expanded to include diverse multi-, pluri-, cross-, inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches as joint efforts, while individuals could be encouraged to seek transdisciplinarity.

Keywords: diversity; hermeneutics; positivism; research approaches; scientific research; water research; water management; water resources management; water supply; sanitation services; water governance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJW.2007.016325

International Journal of Water, 2007 Vol.3 No.4, pp.425 - 444

Available online: 17 Dec 2007 *

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