Employing Model-Based Reasoning in
Socio-Environmental Synthesis (EMBeRS)
Relevant Terms and Definitions
Part 1. Definitions of integration-related terms (from Pennington et al. 2016).
Synthesis: The act of integrating knowledge, data, methods, and perspectives in
pursuit of novel insights or explanations.
Integration: The act of combining
parts in ways to produce a larger whole.
Multidisciplinary: Integration that
combines separate perspectives under a common theme, without identifying
connections between perspectives.
Interdisciplinary: Integration that combines
separate perspectives through the development of connections between them.
Transdisciplinary (meaning 1): Integration that further develops connections
between perspectives and generates a new concept, leading to an independent area
Transdisciplinary (meaning 2): Integration that extends beyond
disciplinary perspectives to incorporate knowledge outside of academia.
Part 2. Definitions of representation-related terms (from Pennington et al. 2016).
description or portrayal of something in a particular way.
representation that provides abstraction and organization of elements that
Mental model: Individual, internal, cognitive simplification
of reality that is formulated through experience and is relatively stable.
Shared mental models: Emergent, distributed cognitive states that are generated
in real time in a specific context, reflect shared understanding of a problem
(e.g. shared problem model), and evolve as group understanding evolves.
External representation: A tangible or linguistic representation of a mental model or
other internal representation.
Boundary object: An external representation that
functions as a mediator across the boundary between different perspectives.
Boundary negotiating object: A boundary object that functions as a mechanism for
discourse regarding how differing perspectives can be mediated.
Material artifact: Representation that embodies information that coordinates action among
Epistemic object: Temporary instantiation of a representation that
enables the unfolding of later representations.