Category: interdisciplinary research

Doing research for (and not on) development: some important questions for the Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund has an impressively wide-ranging research agenda, covering a range of development issues. But as well as funding research on development, Ajoy Datta argues the fund should promote understanding of how to undertake research for development too. This requires academics to have specific skills and experience of working effectively with colleagues and partners in the Global […]

Embracing the chaos: by transcending disciplinary boundaries researchers can reconceptualise human-nature relations

Issues of the scale of mass species extinctions or climate change are never going to be solved by a single discipline acting alone. Cecily Maller argues that what is needed is greater dialogue, conversation, and collaboration across the social and natural sciences, as they currently exist in their traditional, divided modes. In order to shift the binary, at times reductionist […]

What can interdisciplinary collaborations learn from the science of team science?

Teamwork makes the dream work, and for interdisciplinary collaborations there are many lessons to be learned from the science of team science. Suzi Spitzer shares ten such lessons here: start by assembling participants with a variety of social skills, such as negotiation and social perceptiveness; avoid jargon and make sure shared words have shared meaning; and accept that conflict, while […]

Recognising interdisciplinary expertise: is it time we established the integration and implementation sciences?

Embedding interdisciplinarity into the academic mainstream has proved a constant challenge. Gabriele Bammer asks whether it might help to define the relevant expertise as a new discipline, one that recognises important skills such as the ability to combine knowledge from different disciplines, determine which disciplines and stakeholders have valuable perspectives, examine how elements of problems are interconnected, assess the likely […]

Why we should not ignore interdisciplinarity’s critics

Amidst the push from universities and funding agencies for increased interdisciplinary research, interdisciplinarity has also been the subject of a number of critiques in recent years. Rick Szostak believes many such critiques to be misguided and focused on research that is at best multidisciplinary and at worst produces no useful results; work that should not be taken as representative of […]

Four strategies to increase the likelihood of creating and sustaining successful research teams

Modern scientific expertise rests heavily upon work carried out by teams, rather than scholars working on their own. Proper preparation is key, with some research suggesting that the effectiveness of collaborative work is determined before any of the work is carried out. Howard Aldrich and Akram Al-Turk have identified four structural elements that increase the likelihood of creating and sustaining […]

The impact of social sciences on health behaviour interventions has diminished – more interdisciplinary, culture-focused research is needed

Capturing the impact of social sciences on other disciplines is notoriously difficult. Daniel Holman, Rebecca Lynch, and Aaron Reeves have looked at the example of health behaviour interventions (HBIs), a field recently criticised for failing to draw on alternative, social sciences approaches that emphasise the structured and contextual aspects of behaviour and health. A bibliometric analysis of the HBIs field […]

Interdisciplinary research may lead to increased visibility but also depresses scholarly productivity

Interdisciplinarity has grown in recent years. But how does interdisciplinary research influence scholarship and scholarly careers? Erin Leahey‘s research has found that while interdisciplinary research has its benefits, such as increased visibility as indicated by citations, it also comes at a cost, as it depresses scholarly productivity. Although peer review of interdisciplinary work is less of a problem than anticipated, […]

Developing social science identities in interdisciplinary research and education

While it is no longer uncommon for social scientists to be included in research groups tackling complex problems in the natural sciences, limited understanding of the different disciplinary areas within the social sciences remains a challenge. Eric Toman describes the approach social science faculties at his university have taken to address this and also outlines how graduate training programmes have […]