Arriving at interdisciplinarity

Year: 2004

Author: Jolly, Lesley, Goos, Merrilyn, Short, Trisch, Coco, Angela

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

There are many ways in which members of academic disciplines may work together from the occasional provision of particular expertise, to the pooling of intellectual resources that can produce a new kind of knowledge in the context of complex social problems and situations. The terms applied to such co-operative and collaborative work include cross-disciplinary, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary, but it is rare to see a considered discussion of which one best applies to a given study. Some studies even invoke such terms without definition. In this paper we attempt to provide models of these varieties of interdisciplinarity and describe how in our projects they have produced different results for different audiences. In doing so we pay special attention to the ways in which research may be said to be in the interests of the public good.