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Open Access Theories of change in sustainability science: Understanding how change happens

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Science-based initiatives generate particular changes towards sustainable development. But why and how does this work? Theories of change (ToCs) can help in understanding the theoretical assumptions and modes of knowledge production associated with these initiatives: ToCs trigger debate among the stakeholders and evaluators of an initiative regarding the hypothesized and observed effects of actions as well as regarding underlying assumptions about how change happens. Therefore, they can strengthen the effectiveness of research, practice, and education in sustainability science.
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Keywords: 2030 Agenda; pathways to impact; sustainability science; theories of change

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2019

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  • GAIA is a peer-reviewed inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyses of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.

    Environmental problems cannot be solved by one academic discipline. The complex natures of these problems require cooperation across disciplinary boundaries. Since 1991, GAIA has offered a well-balanced and practice-oriented forum for transdisciplinary research. GAIA offers first-hand information on state of the art environmental research and on current solutions to environmental problems. Well-known editors, advisors, and authors work to ensure the high quality of the contributions found in GAIA and a unique transdisciplinary dialogue – in a comprehensible style.

    GAIA is an ISI-journal, listed in the Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index and in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    All contributions undergo a double-blind peer review.

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