Are people actively involved in communicating with one another, dividing up tasks, or is it done mostly at a distance, or without much interaction? she says. That gives us a lot of insight into how transformative the process is.
Koester eventually wants to become a professor herself, leading research projects and teaching students in social science.
Although the project only began last fall, the team already has several preliminary findings and will present their results at the American Sociological Society's annual meeting in August.
We've discovered that individuals can find themselves narrowing back to a niche specialization when doing collaborative research, Fifield says. Thus, interdisciplinary research may tend to move people back to their core expertise.
The scientists also have noticed differences in culture between academics doing cancer research versus clinicians (medical doctors) who want to pursue cancer research in academia. Some meetings begin at Christiana Hospital at 7 a.m., which is before the workday starts for many university researchers.
It's a time-use issue--in how you think about what an hour is worth, Centellas says. People may need to modify certain behaviors to become part of a group.
By the end of the two-year project, the team will better understand the kinds of choices and strategies that help researchers to collaborate--how people manage to achieve it, and what gets in the way. The research may not result in a how-to list, Fifield says, but the team will be able to offer take-away messages and tips.
Right now, the processes of interdisciplinary research get black-boxed. They remain a bit of a mystery. We may be able to unpack that a bit, he notes.
|Contact: Tracey Bryant|
University of Delaware