The Benefits, Challenges, and Disincentives of Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Keywords:collaboration, interdisciplinary research, ethnography, case study
Research consistently demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary collaboration. It has also become common for universities to encourage their faculty to engage in interdisciplinary and collaborative research. However, there are several challenges and disincentives to this type of work. In this article, we draw on a single case study of a project employing interdisciplinary collaborative event ethnography (CEE) to demonstrate the benefits, challenges, and disincentives of this approach to research. We highlight the enhanced and nuanced outcomes achieved through interdisciplinary collaboration that would likely not have been achieved through an intradisciplinary approach to the research questions. The case study also highlights the challenges and disincentives associated with this research strategy, including longer work times, difficulty in publishing due to editorial and reviewer criticism about violating methods preferences or disciplinary boundaries, and issues related to publications outside of one’s field. We conclude with a call to enhance the incentives associated with interdisciplinary collaborative research.
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