Interdisciplinary research: the issue and prospects of its resolving
Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Prof., Chief Researcher, Institute of Sociology of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia email@example.com
Drawing on the review of literature on natural, social, and technical sciences, on own experience in carrying a number of interdisciplinary projects in the realm of urban, socioecological and public participation studies as well as on research project in network analysis and disaster studies, the author summarized their results in the following arguments. First, it is stated that interdisciplinary approach (hereafter IDA) has been peculiar for historical science from the Renaissance times onwards. All historical disciplines have been of the IDA nature. Second, various branches of humanities have different IDA potential. Third, Russian sociology has widely used human documents, memories and other literature sources. Fourth, in the course of a society evolution, its differentiation and degree of complexity the necessity in the IDS analysis has been growing. The other side of the same coin is a growing impact on sociology exerted by natural and technical sciences. ‘Organic approach’ to complex phenomena was growing. Fifth, by and large, a socio-technical constructivism was growing. Sixth, the author’s concept of the planet as a sociobiotechnical system (the SBT-system), its network structure and metabolic character, and its accelerating transformations are underlying theoretical underpinnings of the IDA analysis. Seventh, a clearly articulated research issue, a comprehension of its developmental character, and necessity of a problem-oriented educational process are the main prerequisites of successful IDA studies. Eighth, a positive attitude towards the IDA study, an experience in doing such projects in the past, and the existence of a nucleus of likeminded leaders are the main prerequisites for successful IDA project. Ninth, an interest to do something new, patience, and communicability are the other conditions of such success. Tenth, the article is concluded by the statements: (1) Logic of any IDA research should follow the logic of an object at issue. (2) Modern scientific production is implemented in many points of the sociocultural space of the world.
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