“We all agree that your theory is crazy, but is it crazy enough?
Transformative Research involves ideas, discoveries, or tools that radically change our understanding of an important existing scientific or engineering concept or educational practice or leads to the creation of a new paradigm or field of science, engineering, or education. Such research challenges current understanding or provides pathways to new frontiers.
Transformative research results often do not fit within established models or theories and may initially be unexpected or difficult to interpret; their transformative nature and utility might not be recognized until years later.
Characteristics of transformative research are that it:
- challenges conventional wisdom,
- leads to unexpected insights that enable new techniques or methodologies, and/or
- redefines the boundaries of science, engineering, or education.
TR is usually not planned, although it depends on a receptive mind. It takes advantage of unpredictable events leading to novel hypotheses some that seem implausible. It begins with learning, development of imagination, visualization of problems and exploration of problem solving techniques. Communication and debate often prove beneficial in allowing the development of transformative ideas.
Transformative discoveries leading to paradigm shifts can transform at many levels including scientific, personal and sociological. They may change cultural values and transform a society. When this occurs, there are sociological “stages” of resistance preceding transformation: first denial, then anger, and finally acceptance.