Emerging Research Communities of Practice Versus the Popular Vision of Interdisciplinarity? Insights from Digital Research in the United Kingdom
journal contributionposted on 05.04.2019, 11:51 by Y Zhao, P Tsatsou
Objective This article shows how social science and humanities researchers in the United Kingdom who make use of digital tools, resources, and services understand and perceive interdisciplinarity and their related experiences and needs. Methods The study examined 10 cases of U.K.‐based research, two from each of the following social science and humanities disciplines: business/management, education, history, literature, and politics. Data collection employed a qualitative methodology that consisted of nonparticipant observation and semi‐structured interviews. Results The article finds that researchers problematize the meaning and top‐down character of interdisciplinarity and envisage the development of research communities of experience exchange and knowledge sharing that go beyond the imperative of interdisciplinarity. Conclusion The article challenges prevalent assumptions that digital research and interdisciplinarity go hand in hand and that one is a prerequisite for and in need of the other, while it invites institutional and funding bodies to consider working jointly with researchers toward developing the alternative of research communities of practice.