LIS: The interdisciplinary research landscape

  • McNicol S
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Researchers from different disciplines may choose to work together for a variety of reasons. Their complementary skills may enable problems to be solved more quickly; they may be better placed to tackle a multi-faceted problem; or they may wish to learn new skills and expand their methodological range. In other cases, research funders may require such an approach. Alternatively, the complexity or high cost of the research may mean that working together is the only viable option if the research is to be carried out at all. Interdisciplinary research was just one of a number of topics to be investigated as part of a short research project, ‘The LIS Research Landscape: a review and prognosis’, conducted by the Centre for Information Research (CIRT) at the University of Central England in Birmingham (UCE) in 2001. To address new problems facing the library and information world, researchers need to develop new skills. This project reported that there was a need for a stronger, closer interface between various disciplines; it acknowledged that, currently, researchers from different subject backgrounds tended to work independently. There is a need for more cooperation between researchers in different fields and for explicitly interdisciplinary research to address the problems currently facing the LIS community. However, more needs to be done to encourage interdisciplinary research, for example funders and professional organizations should promote research opportunities which bring together researchers from different disciplines.

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  • Sarah McNicol

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