2. Interdisciplinary perspective
Unlike a undiscipline approach, an interdisciplinary perspective requires knowledge in more than one area. It also is different from a multidisciplinary perspective, which uses data from more than one area but which segments a project into distinct parts based on the disciplines associated with those parts. When using an interdisciplinary perspective, all individuals involved work together. Although some individuals may be experts in one area of the project, all workers are supposed to have a basic understanding of all the disciplines the project incorporates. Thus, an interdisciplinary perspective is a wider or better-rounded view.
People have multiple goals when they opt for an interdisciplinary perspective. First, they want to advance understanding and eliminate confusion. By looking at a task, data set or concept through the lenses of more than one discipline, people reveal how a project might apply in various settings. Individuals working under an interdisciplinary approach want to make projects efficient. An interdisciplinary approach sometimes helps an individual or team to be more creative. Looking at something according to more than one discipline can assist an individual in seeing more solutions than if only one discipline’s information were present. This doesn’t necessarily mean an interdisciplinary solution will be better than a undiscipline one, but it does give an individual or team more options from which to choose.
Advantages of the interdisciplinary perspective
Interdisciplinary knowledge and research are important because it encourages creativity and promotes important contributions in fields other than one’s own expertise. In addition to creativity, it also enhances critical thinking skills to compare and contrast perspectives from various disciplines. It also allows for fewer errors as it can be verified by experts from various fields. Many social problems require interdisciplinary approaches to come up with practical solutions.
Understanding and analysing tasks, data sets and concepts through the lenses of more than one discipline can help individuals in gaining insight on how a project might apply in various settings. Information that is acquired in a holistic manner can also be easily connected with previous knowledge and can be recalled much faster. Interdisciplinarity also gives researchers greater flexibility in research and related topics. Interdisciplinarians can also help to breach communication gaps in modern academia, and therefore help to mobilize vast amounts of intellectual resources. The interdisciplinary perspective allows professionals to see the effect of what they do outside of their own fields as well.
However, there are certain pitfalls to interdisciplinary approaches. Interdisciplinarity creates a risk of weaker, critical disciplines being dissolved and pushed under a more established and powerful discipline in the hierarchy. It can become the basis for narrowing rather than widening of perspectives, it can have the effect of dissolving the very discipline required for any serious scholarship or science.
Researchers from different disciplines also have different methodologies and integrating research can be challenging. Another disadvantage to the interdisciplinary approach is that it can get too meta-theoretical and not address real-life problems like the research was supposed to. This defeats the original purpose of exploring different perspectives to solve actual problems.