Learn to integrate your knowledge with that of others

Transdisciplinary Orientation is a skill set that enhances interdisciplinary research outcomes.  There are 5 behaviors that it encompasses:

  • “Transdisciplinary values are core guiding principles that incline an individual to participate and work effectively in cross-disciplinary research and incorporate theories and methodologies from other fields into one’s own research.
  • Transdisciplinary attitudes include willingness to invest time in learning about fields other than one’s own and tackling complex problems even though doing so requires expending additional time and effort.
  • Transdisciplinary beliefs that the benefits of team scholarship outweigh its costs and that they are more (or less) productive when they work in teams versus alone.
  • Transdisciplinary conceptual skills and knowledge include being able to view research problems and questions holistically from distinct vantage points and traverse multiple levels of analysis.  Create conceptual frameworks that account for many causes and consequences of research problems, build on multiple fields, and synthesize diverse philosophical paradigms.  It includes systems thinking, knowledge management strategies, as well as stakeholder analysis and anticipatory governance skills for engaging in community based participatory research.
  • Transdisciplinary behaviors include reading journals and books from different fields, attending conferences and meetings outside one’s own field, and engaging with colleagues from other disciplines to share and integrate ideas. Using research methods from other fields.

The Transdisciplinary Orientation Scale assessment tool asks 12 questions such as “My research to date reflects my openness to diverse disciplinary perspectives when analyzing particular problems,” and follows with a 5 point scale to agree or disagree with this statement.

Quoted from p 2 - 3  of Misra, S., Stokols, D., & Cheng, L. (2015).  The Transdisciplinary Orientation Scale: Factor structure and relation to the integrative quality and scope of scientific publications.  Journal of Collaborative Healthcare and Translational Medicine, 3(2) 1042, 1-10 (PDF).

Salazar, M. R., Lant, T. K., Fiore, S. M., and Salas, E. (2012) Facilitating innovation in diverse science teams through integrative capacity.  Small Group Research.  43(5) 527-558.

Misra, S., Stokols, D., & Cheng, L. (2015). The Transdisciplinary Orientation Scale: Factor Structure and Relation to the Integrative Quality and Scope of Scientific Publications. Journal of Collaborative Healthcare and Translational Medicine 3(2) 1042 - 1045. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290446354_Transdisciplinary_Orientation_Scale [accessed May 22 2019].

Integrative capacities

Interdisciplinary work is difficult to mesh the fields so that phenomena are understood and new connections and advances can be made. Key to the success of this meshing is what is called Integrative Capacities.

These capacities cover five principles:

  • Suggesting Ideas - to offer suggestions to share expertise with other members
  • Reflexivity - to take time to evaluate the methods and approaches in order to adjust them and improve functioning
  • Connecting Others - to be connected to one another through personal introductions or referrals.
  • Perspective Seeking - to seek to possess a general understanding of the diverse viewpoints of other members.
  • Knowledge Consideration - to actively take notice of and process the implications of specific knowledge contributions (e.g., a proposed fact) offered by team members with diverse perspectives, the value added of which may not be immediately obvious.