Why is more research not interdisciplinary? And how could we change that?


In “The illustrated guide to a doctorate”. Matt Might effectively uses the picture book approach to illustrate what a PhD is. That is true. This is essentially a small point or breakthrough in the huge body of knowledge, usually from the perspective and approach of a researcher from an academic subfield. The same goes for any research article. However, there is a growing idea that combining approaches from more than one discipline could be important for true research innovation and the advancement of knowledge, mainly because no single way to approach them. research questions are only likely to provide a full or complete understanding of a topic.

This is why what has come to be widely known as interdisciplinary research has been seen as important. All academics know that we are only experts in a tiny part of the world, and therefore, coming together to combine our slices makes perfect sense. The challenge, however, is that the way university departments are set up and the corresponding incentive structure combine to make it very difficult for truly interdisciplinary researchers to thrive and build a career.

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Catherine Lyall has done a lot of work to tell the stories of interdisciplinary researchers themselves and also to encourage and pave the way for truly interdisciplinary researchers to be able to build careers and thrive. Interdisciplinary research trips: Practical strategies for capturing creativity, co-authored with Ann Bruce, Joyce Tait and Laura Meagher notes:

“Interdisciplinarity” has become a rallying cry among funders and research leaders. Yet, while the creative potential of interdisciplinary research is great, it poses many challenges. If you don’t have disciplinary boundaries, how do you decide what to include and what to omit? And what are the parameters to evaluate the research? “

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Be an interdisciplinary scholar: How Institutions Shape Academic Careers tells the stories of many scholars who have sought to become interdisciplinary scholars and the challenges and successes they have encountered in their travels. Catherine is currently working on a ‘toolkit’ for providing advice on the web as part of the SHAPE-ID project which aims to shape interdisciplinary research practices in Europe. You can watch an interview about this project with her conducted by Emily Woolen here.

Catherine explains how she became an interdisciplinary scholar:

Media Hopper CreateInterdisciplinary conversations with Professor Catherine Lyall – 1

Catherine explains why a person should pursue interdisciplinarity and what she might need to consider:

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Media Hopper CreateInterdisciplinary conversations with Professor Catherine Lyall – 4

Here she discusses interdisciplinary academic careers and her book Be an interdisciplinary scholar. In this clip, she discusses the evaluation of interdisciplinary research and how it could be improved.

Changing the culture of academic research and the incentive structures is a challenge, but I hope that this work could eventually inspire more researchers to truly choose to take an interdisciplinary perspective on their work and create new knowledge about the field. world by combining and integrating multiple disciplinary perspectives with colleagues from other academic fields. . Many of the challenges, both academic and practical, that we are likely to face in the years to come will likely depend on it.



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