Like a number of the books discussed on this podcast, A Guide to Systems Research: Philosophy, Processes, Practice
(Springer, 2017), was intended to fill gaps in a field that, through its often fitful development across the widely spread branches of its multi-disciplinary networks, has found itself in need of comprehensive survey style textbooks to gather and clarify, for upper level undergraduate and graduate students, the assortment of profound insights generated over many decades. With this effort, editors Mary C. Edson
, Pamela Buckle Henning
, and Sankar Shankaran
have succeeded brilliantly while tackling one of the field’s most challenging questions: What are the distinctive ethical and rigorous ways to conduct research on systemic phenomena? A cadre of eminently qualified researchers and practitioners take us around an adroitly articulated cycle of research activity structured around the Participatory Action Research Holon laid out in the book’s second chapter by John Kineman in a radically exciting fashion with profound philosophical implications echoing all the way back to Aristotle’s thoughts on causality. Keeping the dissertation writing graduate student in the forefront of its presumed audience, the book takes us carefully and thoroughly through problem structuring, taking action, communicating, and assessing the impact of systems research in a manner that is, itself, highly systemic and sure to provide expert guidance to both students new to the field and seasoned practitioners looking to make their work ever more rigorous and impactful. Co-editor, Pamela Buckle Henning is every bit as elegantly articulate in conversation as she, and her collaborators, are in writing; making for an engaging and insightful overview of a volume that is a must have for all serious students, and teachers, of systems research.