Students spend the entirety of their coursework in one field and analyze research through the specific mechanisms of that discipline. As a result, most researchers have a narrow focus and course of study. For research, the narrow-minded approach has the potential for catastrophic effects; frontiers of knowledge are not pushed and technological, social, and scientific advancement stops.
When thinkers and leaders in different disciplines come together and look at similar problems, a more complete perspective and picture is created. It is often advantageous for researchers to adopt an interdisciplinary approach in their research methods.
It is imperative that educational systems and organizations begin to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to research projects and curriculums.
Professors and research mentors must encourage their students to take a multifaceted approach to looking at pressing problems. Interdisciplinary innovators such as, Fabio Pammolli ask students to study a variety of subjects in their research efforts.
Interdisciplinary Research: A Closer Look
Contemporary research follows an approach that is very specialized and focused; however, most of the discoveries that have laid the groundwork for the arts and sciences were rooted in an interdisciplinary approach.
The influential scientists and innovators responsible for many of the standing theories in the major disciplines understood the value of deeply diving into an array of subjects- they were the essence of a renaissance thinkers. Newton, Descartes, Aristotle, and many other renowned innovators contributed to a variety of disciplines and became experts in more than one field of study.
Interdisciplinary research looks to connect people of different disciplines to create a well-rounded perspective in different research projects. These teams of researches will share data, analytic mechanisms, and tools for solving problems. At its core, the interdisciplinary research method looks to solve problems from a variety of angles and perspectives. Professors and mentors such as, Fabio Pammolli act as essential facilitators in creating integrated research methods.
A Return to Interdisciplinary Research
Specialization in a subject begins at the undergraduate level; students start on an educational pathway that aside from a few general requirements is very streamlined. Students rarely cross paths with their peers that are other studying other disciplines. This discipline specific system that has infiltrated the modern educational system creates a high standard of excellence and performance; however, the hyper focused nature of this research has negative affects.
Students have been encouraged to treat different disciplines has separate entities which discourages researches from finding appropriate solutions to complex problems. Most researched issues are inherently multifaceted and require an interdisciplinary approach.
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The modern approach to research is insufficient for addressing the pressing problems that require interdisciplinary methods and perspectives. It is imperative that educational systems move to multifaceted methods for conducting research. Students should be required and encouraged to approach their research from a variety of angles and perspectives to find the best solutions. When innovators, thinkers, and researches from different disciplines come together to solve the same questions research becomes stronger and solutions more effective.
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