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  • 00:00

    [MUSIC PLAYING][Strategies for Conducting Interdisciplinary Research]

  • 00:11

    LESLIE GONZALES: Hi there, my name is Leslie Gonzales.And I'm an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University.[Leslie Gonzales, Assistant Professor, Michigan StateUniversity] I'm really excited tohave the opportunity to chat with you todayabout the practice of my research.I'm going to start by sharing a little bit with you about whatI research.And then, I'm going to talk to you about my approachto research, in hopes of sharing some helpful and interesting

  • 00:35

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: tips with you.So I am situated in the College of Education.In my work, I focus most specificallyon the study of faculty careers.So the faculty that you have teaching your classrooms,I study their careers.I'm also really interested not just in studying their careers,but in understanding the different contexts

  • 00:55

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: or layers in which faculty members are situated.So for example, I might study a question like,how do departments foster conditionsfor faculty productivity?Or how does a university nurture the sense of belongingfor faculty members?And how do those kinds of things, in turn,impact how faculty engage in teaching and learning, student

  • 01:18

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: engagement, classroom practices, so on and so forth?[Conducting Interdisciplinary Research]My training is in political science.And I have a large background also in sociology.So that really shapes how I approach my research questions.Most of my research, I would describe as interdisciplinary

  • 01:41

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: in nature, meaning that I'm studying context or issues thatare really salient to faculty careers,or colleges and universities.But I'm studying those issues from a lens thatpulls from multiple kinds of disciplines,like political science, or sociology,or organizational sociology.

  • 02:01

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: Most recently, I've been reading a lot of literaturefrom feminists and women's studiesto really help me phrase my questions.So today, I'm going to talk to youabout what it means to carry out research that is informedby multiple disciplines, or what some people would callinterdisciplinary research.So interdisciplinary research is quiteenriching for a researcher and for readers.

  • 02:24

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: And this is because a student, or a readerof a text of an interdisciplinary study,can learn lots of new ideas being pulledfrom various literatures that are not necessarilyfound in just a study conducted in, for example, a study thatonly uses political science literature,or only uses sociology literature.

  • 02:44

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: You're going to find a lot of ideas coming togetherin one study.This makes it a more robust approach to questions.It usually allows a researcher to have a more complex senseof the problem or the issue, accountingnot only for cultural issues, but maybe alsostructural issues, and perhaps even individual issues

  • 03:04

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: involved in the study.[Conducting Interdisciplinary Research]Conducting interdisciplinary researchrequires some special skill sets.And it requires a tolerance for having a large learningcurve, often over and over, and often being comfortable

  • 03:25

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: with a bit of ambiguity.Because you're always moving in these sorts of in-betweenplaces.So I'm going to share with you a few tips that Imight have about how to conduct interdisciplinary research.Some of my tips are going to be very practical in nature.And other tips are a little bit more conceptual in nature.

  • 03:48

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: So the first tip that I have for conductinggood interdisciplinary research isthat a researcher must be willing to read quite broadlyacross multiple kinds of journals,across multiple kinds of texts.And what I mean by reading broadlyis, oftentimes, when you're an undergraduate student,

  • 04:10

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: you have a major.Or as a graduate student, you're in a particular graduateprogram.And that might be in sociology.Or you might be studying public health.And so your field, or your major,has a specific body of literaturethat you're used to working with.However, when you're doing interdisciplinary work,what that means is that you're going to read broadly.

  • 04:31

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: You're going to go in you're goingto try to understand what the field of sociology,or public administration, or political science,or even, for example, human relationsmight have to say about a particular topic in your area.So reading broadly and having a tolerance for the learning

  • 04:51

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: curve that comes with trying to learn and understandhow to navigate new fields, tryingto learn some of the vocabularies involvedin other fields is one of things that youshould be aware of, if you're interested in doinginterdisciplinary research.One of the best ways to get around those challengesand that learning curve that comes

  • 05:12

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: with using multiple literature from multiple disciplinesis consulting with your librarian.In a recent project, students and Ihave been working on trying to understandthe ways in which Latino faculty members are featuredin published scholarship.And we are interested in looking at this question

  • 05:34

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: across a range of disciplines.One of the first things that we didis we contacted our university librarian.And we consulted with her.And we asked, hey, what is the bestway to go about searching around these kinds of questions,these kinds of topics?So reaching out to your librarian,having a defined set of questions, or keywords,

  • 05:56

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: topical areas that the librarian then can take a look atcan go a long way in helping you to get aroundsome of the learning curves that are inevitable in doinginterdisciplinary research.So one are the next kinds of challengesthat might be related to interdisciplinarywork is, because most of us are situated

  • 06:20

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: in a particular discipline, going backto my example of maybe being a public healthmajor or a sociology graduate student,when you're doing interdisciplinary work,it's incumbent upon you to be able to convey your workto multiple audiences.And that usually means that you'vegot to work a little bit harder to build bridges, so to speak.

  • 06:40

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: So you have your sociology classmates, or your sociologyprofessors, or you have your public healthacademic conference.But let's say you're using a lens, or a literature,or a theory that comes out of an entirely different discipline.It's your job to then take that new literature, or at leastliterature that's new to your field,

  • 07:02

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: and to be able to unpack it in reallyimportant ways and really simplifiedways for your specific field.So I like to think about this work as building bridges.I often, in my work, have to start from a place whereI'm saying, OK, higher education colleagues--because that's my field--

  • 07:23

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: higher education colleagues, I'm looking at x problem.But I'm looking at x problem through the followingliteratures.And let me go ahead and explain to youwhat the basic assumptions and vocabulariesof these various literatures are.Because these literatures might bevery new to many of my higher ed colleagues.So that's something to keep in mind,

  • 07:45

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: if you are also interested in doinginterdisciplinary research.[Conclusion]I want to go ahead, and just wrap up, and share with youthat I think the practice of interdisciplinary researchis worthwhile.Despite the learning curves, despite the workthat you might have to put into learning

  • 08:06

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: various databases and different journals,it is worthwhile for you to take that time.Because approaching problems, having multiple literatures,multiple theoretical lenses in mindallows you to grapple with social problems thatare really complex, and layered, and multi-dimensional.And usually, what one discipline gives to you,

  • 08:28

    LESLIE GONZALES [continued]: another discipline can compliment or supplementin really powerful ways.I hope that you found these tips helpful.And I wish you all the best in your research endeavors.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2018

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Interdisciplinarity, Doing research

Keywords: accuracy in communication; interdisciplinarity; interdisciplinary communication; libraries; Supplementary reading materials

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Leslie Gonzales explains the concept of interdisciplinary research. Gonzales offers advice on how to conduct such investigations.

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Strategies for Conducting Interdisciplinary Research

Leslie Gonzales explains the concept of interdisciplinary research. Gonzales offers advice on how to conduct such investigations.

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