Motivations for doing interdisciplinary research: Results from an Australian qualitative study
journal contributionposted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by B Shrimpton, Brad Astbury
While the literature provides a strong conceptual justification for Interdisciplinary Research (for example: Klein 1990, 1996; Sherif & Sherif, 1969) and a number of studies document the benefits and challenges of such studies (such as: Slatin, Galizzi, Melillo & Mawn 2004; Rhoten, 2004; Lynch 2006; Jacobs & Frickel 2009), there are surprisingly few empirical analyses of the reasons why individual researchers become involved in Interdisciplinary Research projects. Responding to this gap in the extant literature, the current study was undertaken to identify individual influences and motivations for participating in Interdisciplinary Research projects. In this paper we report findings that emerged from 30 interviews with researchers from a wide range of disciplines, as well as different stage of career, on the major reasons why they are drawn to Interdisciplinary Research. As part of the paper we also report the extent to which participants agreed or disagreed with a variety of pitfalls identified in the literature as potential impediments or deterrents to individuals becoming involved in Interdisciplinary studies.