The last years, calls surged for a transformation research, which addresses the increasing global envi-ronmental and social challenges and supports transformations towards sustainability. As transfor-mation research developed rapidly in relation to various societal domains and established research strands, there is currently a need for self-reflection with regard to empirical and theoretical concepts, foci and frameworks. Especially the far-reaching ambitions of transformation research, namely to con-tribute actively to societal change processes towards sustainability, are controversially debated and need a critical reflection of research approaches and methods.
This working paper contributes to the ongoing discussion about transformation research. We argue that transformation research is not (yet) an established research field, but an emerging research per-spective that joins together different research streams focusing on societal change towards sustaina-bility. We analyse the goals, contents, results and research approaches of this perspective as well as its social science methods. A specific focus of this paper is on the description and analysis of suitable methods for transformation research. We analyse social-science methods with regard to their contri-butions to the goals, results and research foci of transformation research as well as their use in de-scriptive-analytical and transformative research approaches.