Question
Asked 10th Sep, 2017

What is the difference between interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research?

Hi researchers, interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary research are reflect the different concept.But sometimes these term is used as interchangeable. Can anyone give the clear picture of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research.
Thank you in advance

Most recent answer

2nd Jul, 2022
Essam Fadel Alwan Al-Jumaily
University of Baghdad
I agree with Edmond Sanganyado for his answer and I best wishes to your present question.

Popular Answers (1)

11th Sep, 2017
Edmond Sanganyado
Northumbria University
Briefly, Choi and Pak described the two as, "Multidisciplinarity draws on knowledge from different disciplines but stays within their boundaries. Interdisciplinarity analyzes, synthesizes and harmonizes links between disciplines into a coordinated and coherent whole. Transdisciplinarity integrates the natural, social and health sciences in a humanities context, and transcends their traditional boundaries."
Please, visit this thread on a more detailed look on the two. It has been thoroughly discussed here on Researchgate before. Good luck.
15 Recommendations

All Answers (31)

11th Sep, 2017
Edmond Sanganyado
Northumbria University
Briefly, Choi and Pak described the two as, "Multidisciplinarity draws on knowledge from different disciplines but stays within their boundaries. Interdisciplinarity analyzes, synthesizes and harmonizes links between disciplines into a coordinated and coherent whole. Transdisciplinarity integrates the natural, social and health sciences in a humanities context, and transcends their traditional boundaries."
Please, visit this thread on a more detailed look on the two. It has been thoroughly discussed here on Researchgate before. Good luck.
15 Recommendations
11th Sep, 2017
Shahbaz Khan
GLA University
Thank you Edmond
1 Recommendation
11th Sep, 2017
Reza Biria
Shahid Ashrafi Isfahani University -Isfahan- Iran
Hello Shahbaz Khan,
Generally speaking, interdisciplinary research refers to an approach to  research in which the individual researcher or  the team of collaborators from the same academic discipline  in a given research situation  integrate information, data, techniques, tools, and  theories from several  disciplines or fields of study in order to shed light on the   targeted research question. By Contrast,  a multidisciplinary mode of research almost invariably  involves  very  complex situations in which a multidisciplinary team from several academic disciplines cooperate together in order to solve the problem based on the evidence  obtained from multiple , external domains overshadowing it. For more information, the following links can provide you with a more concise answer. 
Best regards,
R. Biria
4 Recommendations
11th Sep, 2017
Karobi Borah
Dibrugarh University
 I agree with Prof. Edmond.
Thank you.
1 Recommendation
12th Sep, 2017
Hein Retter
Technische Universität Braunschweig
Often both concepts are used similar. If you like you can differentiate between many different concepts (multi-) which are concerned with the same research question, and on the other hand, interdisciplinary co-working only a limited number of disciplines with open borders work together, for instance psychology and sociology and educational sciences.     
3 Recommendations
15th Sep, 2017
Arsev Umur Aydinoglu
Middle East Technical University
Multidisciplinary: Researchers work in parallel or sequentially from disciplinary-specific base to address common problem. People, theories, models, etc. kind of inform each other; however, things are not integrated. It is almost like outsourcing - you get a specialty, expertise, tool, etc. from outside; utilize it and done with it.
Interdisciplinary: Researchers work jointly but still form disciplinary-specific basis to address common problem. In ID research (1) you model micro-combinations; (2) relationships are defined as partnerships and collaborations instead of multidisciplinary contracting services; (3) a new community of knowers and a hybrid language emerges; (4) new insights, perspectives, hypotheses, and disciplinary relationships are generated; and (5) even an organizational framework might be developed. You integrate and have something new at the end. 
2 Recommendations
22nd Sep, 2017
Machiel Keestra
Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies
Although definitions vary between Anglo-saxon and European literatures, a convergence appears to be in the making: multidisciplinarity does indeed entail parallel research from different disc. perspectives, whereas interdisciplinarity entails also the integration of those different perspectives - which implies that feedback loops between different factors are taken into account. In addition, transdisciplinarity is by most authors understood as including extra-academic perspectives into the research project: the experiential knowledge and values/interests of patients, citizens,stakeholders in general.  In our Handbook of Interdisicplinary Research: Theory and Practice we further discuss and explain these definitions. I can also recommend the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies website for general info (About Interdisciplinarity: https://sites.google.com/a/ualberta.ca/rick-szostak/research/about-interdisciplinarity ). 
2 Recommendations
28th Jul, 2018
Helen Olojede
University of Ibadan
From all these contributions, I can deduce that the difference between multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary is that the actors in the former are limited to their discipline, they simply contribute ideas from the perspective of their disciplines and not necessarily for the purpose of synthesis; while in the later, there is the aim for a synthesis into an organized whole.
The similarity between the duo however, is that both involve a range of disciplines.
1 Recommendation
28th Sep, 2018
Atef Hassan Khatib
Istishari Arab Hospital
multidisciplinary refers to team member from different specialties who work together but each one remain within his/her discipline while interdisciplinary brings those team members to put their expertise and science together in one integrated plan. it is more condensed, specific and goal directed from all in one track.
23rd Jul, 2019
Piotr Kusnierczyk
Instytut Immunologii i Terapii Doświadczalnej im. Ludwika Hirszfelda
I think I roughly agree with Machiel, althogh not everybody seems to see a clear difference between these two terms (see above). I am only astonished by his Anglo-saxon versus European opposition: was he already sure two year ago that Brexit will really happen? In that time, Britain was still an European country, was not it? Although, in the matter of fact, it never was truly European, with its left-hand traffic, separate taps for hot and cold water, and gilotine-like windows.
2 Recommendations
26th Aug, 2019
Vladimir Mokiy
Institute of Transdisciplinary Technologies Nalchik, Russia
2 Recommendations
8th Mar, 2020
Ljubomir Jacić
Technical College Požarevac
Dear Shahbaz Khan , if you are not aware already, please do visit similar discussion room, governed by my dear friend Maria Bettencourt Pires. Fine answers and many resources were given there.
3 Recommendations
8th Mar, 2020
Maria Bettencourt Pires
Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
On that previous question, that I posted in January 2017, you'll find many outstanding contributes on this subject.
I have been working hard on this subject of the need for transdiciplinary research. Here's my latest contribute:
On this tribute to Leonardo's 500th anniversary, you may read an acknowlegement note to the many contributes to this issue s, that helped buid the article.
Best wishes to your present question, that brings continuity to our common works.
7 Recommendations
12th Mar, 2020
PE Rajasekharan
ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research
There terms like intra,cross,multi,inter and transdisciplinary approaches in research. In my view all are involving more than one discipline or domain. If you want draw meaningful conclusions in research one has to follow these approaches. Persons with different domain knowledge apply their mind in research always there is a chance to draw meaningful conclusions
2 Recommendations
5th Jun, 2020
Shahnaz Hasan
Majmaah University
When people from different disciplines working together on a single research, each drawing on their disciplinary knowledge is called a multidisciplinary research whereas the integrating knowledge and methods from different disciplines, using a real synthesis of approaches is called Interdisciplinary research.
5 Recommendations
7th Jun, 2020
Ljubomir Jacić
Technical College Požarevac
This is fine article which covers the issue of this question.
DISCIPLINARITIES: INTRA, CROSS, MULTI, INTER, TRANS
2 Recommendations
29th Oct, 2020
Siew-Moi Phang
University of Malaya
I agree that in multidisciplinary research, different expertise come together to solve a research problem, each contributing in their specific area of expertise; eg. in a Environmental Impact Assessment, the marine biologist describes impacts on the marine ecosystem, the oceanographer focusses on physical oceanography, etc. In transdisciplinary research, all ideas & concepts are integrated into the analysis & conclusions; eg. the marine biologist would discuss interactions amongst all components - ecological, physical, socio-economic, etc - & how they contribute to the impacts.
29th Oct, 2020
Machiel Keestra
Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies
Although I have added an answer to this question back in 2017, I'd like to repeat the gist of that as since that moment the convergence of definitions of multi/inter/trans-disciplinarity has increased. In our own 2016 textbook Introduction to Interdisciplinary Research: Theory and Practice we used this figure to point out how integration is what distinguishes multidisciplinarity from interdisciplinarity: interdisciplinary approaches integrate disciplinary knowledge about a phenomenon, which is crucial when dynamic interactions between different causal factors are at stake. In transdisciplinary research (as understood by an increasing body of research) extra-academic stakeholders' insights and experiences are integrated in the knowledge production process as well - for example when patients' or citizens' perspectives are integrated. See my for philosophy of science intro to this and I can recommend explore websites by organizations like interdisciplinarystudies.org/ ; https://i2insights.org/ ; http://www.transdisciplinarity.ch/en/td-net/Transdisziplinarit-t.html ;
3 Recommendations
30th Oct, 2020
Dursun Yildiz
Hydropolitics Academy of Turkey
It is clear that it can be classified by a results oriented approach
29th Nov, 2020
Md. Mostafijur Rahman
Prime University Bangladesh
Interdisciplinary research integrates perspectives and methods from two or more disciplines to investigate a topic or an issue. Multidisciplinarity draws on knowledge from different disciplines but stays within their boundaries.
1 Recommendation
29th Nov, 2020
Ljubomir Jacić
Technical College Požarevac
Dear Md. Mostafijur Rahman , always bring the original citation in order to avoid possible plagiarism! Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has made this content.
2 Recommendations
29th Nov, 2020
Walid Khalilia
Al Istiqlal University (Palestinian Academy for Security Sciences)
From my point of view, multidisciplinary research mean, different expertise from different discipline come together to do a research, each contributing in their specific field of expertise; eg. in a smart agriculture research experts in ICT, Biological sciences, Agriculture and environmental sciences shired the same project and each of them do his/her duties.
29th Nov, 2020
Farkhanda Ijaz
University of Brighton
In simple words, Multidisciplinary means the collection of data about the main research issue, However Interdisciplinary means the methods which we use to collect the data.
29th Nov, 2020
Dariusz Prokopowicz
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw
Interdisciplinary research may concern, among others, two different scientific disciplines related to each other in a joint research project, in one scientific research process, in creating a common, one scientific theory, etc. On the other hand, multidisciplinary scientific research occurs when many, e.g. several different disciplines and fields of science and knowledge are connected related in one joint research project.
Greetings,
Dariusz Prokopowicz
2 Recommendations
29th Nov, 2020
Machiel Keestra
Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies
In addition to my previous answers to this question above in this thread, you can now also read this recently published chapter on interdisciplinary city methods and the challenge of integration.
22nd Feb, 2021
Frankie Asare-Donkoh
Pentecost University
In my view, and from such collaborations, interdisciplinary refers to two disciplinary areas working together e.g. engineering and medicine or media and political science; while multidisciplinary research involves multiple or more disciplinary areas coming together.
20th Nov, 2021
Siribuppa U-tantada
Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon
Thank you Prof. Edmond Sanganyado, your information helps me be aware on my RMUTP's initiative curriculum combining three fields together: business, liberal arts, and multi-media technology for Thailand now.
22nd Jun, 2022
Dipak Malakar
Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)
An interdisciplinary community or project or approach is made up of people from multiple or various different disciplines and professions who are engaged in creating and applying new knowledge as they work together as equal stakeholders in addressing a common challenge. The term interdisciplinary approach refers to the interaction of two or more disciplines. This approach is now being used in teaching as well as research activities.
Multidisciplinary education is a unique educational approach that allows the students to learn explore distinct subject or curriculum from various disciplines. More flexibility is there And it helps students to develop pragmatic attitude.
2nd Jul, 2022
Ljubomir Jacić
Technical College Požarevac
“Multidisciplinary academics may be at a disadvantage when they are evaluated by their peers. And what is even more striking is that the better their scientific track record, the greater that disadvantage is,” explain management academics Riccardo Fini, Laura Toschi, Julien Jourdan and Markus Perkmann on why multidisciplinarity is a risky career move for scholars...
2 Recommendations

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