Disciplinary breadth and interdisciplinary knowledge production

TitleDisciplinary breadth and interdisciplinary knowledge production
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsGilbert, Lewis E.
JournalKnowledge, Technology & Policy
Pagination4 - 15
Date Published3/1998
Keywordsclimate science center

As the complexity of the challenges presented by our interactions with our planet continues to grow, we must develop new modes of knowledge production. In these modes, distinctions between multidisciplinary and inter-disciplinary activities and processes have renewed importance. There are at least two distinct types of interdisciplinary activities distinguished by the disciplinary breadth they attempt to bridge. In the narrow case, reductionist processes reveal a common underlying principle or process which can serve as a Rosetta stone. In the broad case, no such common arbiter exists. Investigators must develop integrating vocabulary in the context of the full breadth of their work.