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ERIC Number: EJ1101097
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1081-4760
Towards an Understanding of Interdisciplinarity: The Case of a British University
Razzaq, Jamila; Townsend, Tony; Pisapia, John
Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies, n31 p149-173 2013
This study explores what academics in one major university in Great Britain (The Great Western University) perceive interdisciplinary research (IDR) to be, and in doing so, differentiates it from associated concepts, such as multidisciplinary research and transdisciplinary research, found in the research literature. This study is important because the university in which the study is set has undertaken a complete restructuring of colleges and departments to support interdisciplinary research. The inquiry utilized a two-phased, mixed methods, descriptive case study to examine perceptions of the nature, significance, and benefits of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. The methods of data collection were semi-structured interview (25 participants), survey (127 participants), and analysis of archival documents. The findings indicate that the restructuring of The Great Western University to support interdisciplinary research began on less than firm footing. While scholars seem to have clarified in the definitions of interdisciplinary approaches, in practice there is still a lack of clarity in sectors which are less familiar with interdisciplinary approaches to solving major problems facing society. We identified issues of clarity of terminology and mission, flexibility of implementation, and alignment of faculty incentives as involving necessary but unmet conditions for fostering and promoting interdisciplinarity throughout the university.
Association for Interdisciplinary Studies. Oakland University, Macomb County, 44575 Garfield Road Building UC2 Suite 103, Clinton Township, MI 48038. Tel: 586-263-6098; Fax: 586-263-6261; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A