ArticlePDF Available

Fruits, Salads, and Smoothies: A Working Definition of Interdisciplinarity

Authors:

Abstract

Proposes a practical definition of "interdisciplinarity" that reduces some of the uncertainties surrounding the term and focuses on its essential attributes. Indicates that "interdisciplinarity," the uniting of distinctive components of two or more disciplines, involves interdisciplinary knowledge, research, or education as its main objects of study. (15 citations) (MAB)
Fruits, Salads, and Smoothies:
A Working Definition of Interdisciplinarity
[Publication Source and Acknowledgment: Journal of Educational Thought 29: 119-126 (1995)].
Send me an e-mail: Moti.Nissani@Wayne.Edu
Abstract: Interdisciplinarity involves bringing together distinctive components of two or more disciplines. In academic discourse, interdisciplinarity typically
applies to four realms: knowledge, research, education, and theory. Interdisciplinary knowledge involves familiarity with distinctive components of two or more
disciplines. Interdisciplinary research combines distinctive components of two or more disciplines in the search or creation of new knowledge, operational
procedures, or artistic expressions. Interdisciplinary education merges distinctive components of two or more disciplines in a single program of instruction.
Interdisciplinary theory takes interdisciplinary knowledge, research, or education as its main objects of study. At any given historical period, the interdisciplinary
richness of any two exemplars of knowledge, research, and education can be compared by weighing four variables: number of disciplines, the "distance" between
them, novelty, and integration.
Although many have tried to define interdisciplinarity (e.g., Berger, 1972; Huber, 1992; Kockelmans, 1979; Mayville, 1979; Stember, 1991), it still seems "to defy
definition" (Klein, 1990, p. 11). The most widely cited attempts break down interdisciplinarity into components such as multidisciplinarity, pluridisciplinarity,
crossdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, and even metadisciplinarity. But these subdivisions, it seems to me, throw little light on the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity,
in part because they try to grasp points along a fluid, multidimensional continuum (Blackwell, 1955). Moreover, because such definitions attempt to confer upon this
term a precision it does not possess, they run the risk of missing its essential nature. At any rate, I have often tried to use the prevailing definitions in conversations with
colleagues and students, with little success.
This brief note proposes a practical definition of interdisciplinarity which reduces some of the uncertainties surrounding this term and which focuses on its essential
attributes. In my experience as an interdisciplinarian and as a teacher of interdisciplinary theory, this definition serves as a better foundation in theoretical and practical
discussions of interdisciplinarity than anything that has so far been proposed in the English language. The definitional impasse which prevails now, I shall try to show, and
some of the difficulties it created in all theoretical analyses of interdisciplinarity, may be overcome by recognizing the fluidity of this concept on the one hand, and its
application to four realms on the other. Before we delve into the definition itself, two preliminary concepts must be characterized. First, a discipline can be conveniently
defined as any comparatively self-contained and isolated domain of human experience which possesses its own community of experts. Every discipline has its peculiar
constellation of distinctive components: such things as shared goals, concepts, facts, tacit skills (Polanyi, 1962), methodologies, personal experiences, values, and
aesthetic judgments. Thus, aesthetic judgments of sound combinations, theorems about whole numbers, and chess opening gambits, are, respectively, distinctive
components of music, mathematics, and chess.
Owing to the complex nature of any given discipline, in practical situations, these characterizations must be aided by current conventions, common sense, and intuition.
Also, these characterizations are time-dependent, e.g., today's discipline may well have been yesterday's subdiscipline; by the 21st century, some distinctive components
of contemporary educational research will be replaced by others.
For interdisciplinarity, I propose this minimalist definition: bringing together in some fashion distinctive components of two or more disciplines.
Four Interdisciplinary Realms
In academic discourse and practice, there are four realms to which the term "interdisciplinarity" is most commonly applied. Interdisciplinary knowledge involves
familiarity with distinctive components of two or more disciplines. Interdisciplinary knowledge is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for interdisciplinary research:
combining distinctive components of two or more disciplines while searching or creating new knowledge, operational procedures, or artistic expressions.
Interdisciplinary education merges distinctive components of two or more disciplines in a single program of instruction. Interdisciplinary theory takes interdisciplinary
knowledge, research, or education as its main objects of study.
A few examples should make this quadripartite distinction clear. Bertrand Russell--at home in disciplines as far apart as philosophy, history, and mathematics--
exemplifies an advanced state of interdisciplinary knowledge. Other notable twentieth-century erudites are Karl Popper, Aldous Huxley, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur
Koestler. In previous centuries, erudition may have been more attainable, as witness the encyclopedic knowledge of Aristotle, Descartes, and Goethe.
In his time, Gregor Mendel's work with peas typifies interdisciplinary research (cf. Nissani, 1994). While teaching a rather narrowly circumscribed version of physics to
high school students, Mendel was also studying the transmission of characters from one generation of plants to the next. At one point--the watershed mark in his
research--he realized that the key to his biological observations was to be found in statistics. By combining his botanical data and simple laws of chance, he achieved a
major breakthrough.
Johannes Kepler's first law provides another well-known example of interdisciplinary research. For a long time Kepler tried to fit Mars' orbit about the sun into a circle.
The breakthrough in this case took place again at the moment when Kepler recognized that the points fell on an ellipse, not on a circle. That is, by combining
Apollonius's work on conic sections with Tycho Brahe's data on Mars, Kepler was able to come up with the first law of planetary motion (Koestler, 1959).
Certain subjects can be best taught through interdisciplinary education. For instance, industrialized societies need elementary school teachers, landscape planners,
materials researchers, and physicians whose jobs involve the bringing together of diverse disciplines. It is universally agreed, therefore, that their education must have a
strong interdisciplinary component.
On other occasions, the motivation for interdisciplinary education is different. One interdisciplinary undergraduate program, for instance, attempts to develop "a holistic
understanding informed by materials from various disciplines." Instructors in this program share the beliefs that most courses should draw "on the perspectives or world
views of more than one discipline" and that "incorporation or integration of disciplinary perspectives into a larger, more holistic perspective is the chief distinguishing
characteristic of interdisciplinarity studies" (Newell, 1992, pp. 212-3). Such a program might, for instance, discuss freedom sequentially from different disciplinary
angles, then integrate these angles into a meaningful whole (Newell, 1992). But regardless of motivation, interdisciplinary education combines distinctive disciplinary
components in a single course or program of instruction.
Interdisciplinary theorists study interdisciplinary knowledge, research, or education. They study such things as the psychological processes of integrating information
from two disciplines, roadblocks to meaningful communication between linguists and biologists, or the pros and cons of teaching science and literature in a single course.
An interdisciplinary theorist may or may not be an interdisciplinarian in the other senses described here--in the same manner that a philosopher of science may or may
not be a scientist. This manuscript, Klein's book (1990), and a 1992 issue (#3) of The European Journal of Education, exemplify interdisciplinary theory.
Criteria for Ranking Interdisciplinary Richness
I have suggested already a working definition of non-theoretical interdisciplinarity: the bringing together of distinctive components of two or more disciplines in a single
mind, research endeavor, or instructional program. However, this definition tells us little about the extent of interdisciplinarity in any given exemplar; that is, whether one
scholar, research endeavor, or educational program is more interdisciplinary than another. Among other things, such ranking may clarify the nature of interdisciplinarity
and resolve a long-standing controversy in interdisciplinary theory.
Because rankings in all three realms are based on similar criteria, I shall explore the interdisciplinary rankings of research activities in some detail first, and then merely
touch upon the rankings of knowledge and education. To rank the interdisciplinarity richness of any given research, we need to refine our definition by placing all
research along a fluid continuum, ranging from the two imaginary poles of pure disciplinary work to a grand synthesis of all human knowledge.
Experience suggests that this discussion can be best approached in a roundabout way, by means of a homely metaphor of mixing fruits. Let us fancy that we wish to
determine the amalgamation quotient of fruit mixtures. When an apple, an orange, or a strawberry is served alone, this quotient is obviously zero. But connoisseurs
sometimes wish to mingle fruits. One criteria in determining the amalgamation quotient of our particular dish would be the number of different fruits involved. A mixture
involving apples and oranges is less amalgamated than one involving apples, oranges, and plums. A second criterion would be distance: mixing Mackintosh and
Winesap apples would result in less amalgamation than the mixing of oranges and grapefruits, and still less than the mixing of oranges and cherries. Third, there is the
novelty of the mixture itself. In Western societies now, for instance, mixing bananas, apples, and grapes is not as creative, and unusual, as the mixing of guavas, kiwis,
and blueberries. Fourth, and perhaps most important, is the degree of blending or integration. The various fruits can be served side by side, they can be chopped up
and served as a fruit salad, or they can be finely blended so that the distinctive flavor of each is no longer recognizable, yielding instead the delectable experience of the
smoothie. Note that the amalgamation quotient says nothing about quality: in some circumstances, a plain mango will surpass all the smoothies in the world; in others,
only a fruit salad will do.
In a similar manner, at any given historical point, the interdisciplinary richness of any two exemplars of knowledge, research, and education can be compared by
weighing four variables: the number of disciplines involved, the "distance" between them, the novelty and creativity involved in combining the disciplinary elements, and
their degree of integration.
While the meanings of the first three criteria can be readily grasped from the illustrations below, a few words may be in order regarding the more important and complex
criterion of integration. In explicating this concept, I shall closely follow Roland Case's (1991) excellent treatment. By "integration" we mean uniting or meshing discrete
elements. Integration can be partial, as, for example, when parallels are drawn between elements which remain separate; or complete, as, for example, when separate
elements are fused into a single entity. To be meaningful, integration must satisfy the condition of coherence: the blending of elements is not random, but helps to endow
our knowledge, research, or instruction with meaningful interconnections and greater unity.
I shall now illustrate the reasonableness and utility of the foregoing discussion by applying it to a few concrete research programs.
The interdisciplinary extent of the labors of a contemporary astronomer tracing the path of a newly discovered asteroid is comparatively low, although even her efforts
are influenced and informed by a variety of disciplines. For instance, she may be employing optical instruments (optics); she must take into account atmospheric
conditions (climatology); and her labors may be motivated by the desire to know the potential consequences of a future collision between earth and an asteroid
(ecology, politics, etc). All the same, our four criteria suggest that her research can be safely placed near the disciplinary pole of the interdisciplinarity continuum. The
number of disciplines here is small, they are for the most part related, their merging in a study of this particular problem is by now fairly routine, and the discrete
disciplinary components used here can be hardly said to fuse into a single whole.
In the 1950s, morphological descriptions of a single human ulcer ranked even lower in interdisciplinary extent. Such descriptions involved fewer and closer disciplines,
hardly any creative combinations, and little integration. By contrast, one might imagine, the re-discovery of the link between psychological stress and stomach ulcers fell
farther along the interdisciplinary continuum. Here, insights from the two traditionally distinct disciplines of psychology and physiology were involved. The two disciplines
were only occasionally brought together before (e.g., Galen in Moulton and Schifferes, 1945), so the merging of relevant concepts from both required insight. In this
case, too, the effort led to the blending of two concepts: thanks to this research, the term "stomach ulcers" evokes in the modern mind both the physiological symptoms
and their frequent psychological causation.
Compare Mendel to a modern geneticist who routinely carries out statistical tests of significance. The research program in either case involves the same two disciplines
of biology and statistics. Today, the merging of the two for the purpose of testing significance is a routine operation but in 1860 the two were rarely combined. So,
judging by the second criterion of distance, Mendel's work was richer in interdisciplinary content. It was richer by the third criterion as well, for it takes little imagination
to carry out a test of significance today, but in Mendel's time it took uncanny insight to see that some laws of chance applied to inheritance in peas. Finally, both research
programs appear equally integrative, as both assume, for instance, randomness as one essential attribute of living entities.
As a final example, compare the chromosome theory of inheritance (Carlson, 1966) to Torricelli's sea of air hypothesis (Conant, 1951). In both cases, the work was
carried out within subdisciplines of a larger discipline (biology in one case, physics in the other). The number of subdisciplines and the perceived distance between them
in both cases is roughly the same: genetics and cytology on the one hand, hydrostatics and aerostatics on the other. It is difficult to rank creativity, but it seems that both
cases call for a similar imaginative leap, since neither pair was often brought together. The extent of integration, on the other hand, seems greater in the biological case
than in the physical one. In physics, the recognition of similarity between pressure under water and on land served for the most part as a heuristic device: it did not lead
to a permanent integration of two subfields or concepts. In biology, the juxtaposition of chromosomes and genes altered and enriched the two original subdisciplines. It
also led to the establishment of a new borderline subdiscipline, cytogenetics, which is devoted to investigating problems that concern both its parent subdisciplines. And,
as a result of this work, key definitions in both subdisciplines changed. By 1920 at the latest, a gene for a geneticist became "a factor of heredity located on the
chromosome," while a chromosome for a cytologist became "a nuclear organelle which embodies the factors of heredity." It follows that the chromosome theory was
richer in interdisciplinary content than the sea of air hypothesis.
Scholars may again be ranked along the same fluid, four-dimensional continuum. One might be concerned primarily with one's own discipline; one might occasionally
incorporate in one's work or teaching some limited insights or methodologies from another field; or one might be a true Renaissance Scholar, not only at home in a
number of areas in the arts, sciences, and humanities, but in a position to meaningfully integrate them in one's mind, research, or teaching. A similar distinction holds for
education, ranging from strict (and imaginary) disciplinary instruction to the novel, comprehensive (and equally imaginary) integration of all disciplines in a single
instructional session.
Finally, interdisciplinary rankings tell us little about quality or fruitfulness: in either scholarship, research, or education, excellence and second-ratedness can be found
anywhere along the interdisciplinary continuum.
Acknowledgements: I am grateful to Shreedhar Lohani for having first aroused my interest in interdisciplinary theory. As always, my wife Donna provided research
assistance and a loving working atmosphere. My colleagues, especially Julie Thompson Klein and Clifford Maier, encouraged me to teach The Case for
Interdisciplinarity; without their support, this note would have never been written. I am particularly indebted to Donna, Julie, and two anonymous referees for a critical
reading, and to my students for prompting me to refine my conception of interdisciplinarity.
References
Berger, G. (1972). Opinions and facts. In Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, Interdisciplinarity (pp. 21-74). Nice, France: OECD.
Blackwell, G. W. (1955). Multidisciplinary team research. Social Forces 33, 367-374.
Carlson, E. A. (1966). The gene: A critical history. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Case, R. (1991). The anatomy of curricular integration. Canadian Journal of Education, 16, 215-224.
Conant, J. B. (1951) Science and common sense. New Haven, Yale, pp. 63-96.
Galen. The Lady and the Dancer. Reprinted in: F. R. Moulton & J. J. Schifferes (1945) (Eds.). The autobiography of science. New York: Doubleday, pp. 30-31.
Huber, L. (1992). Editorial. European Journal of Education, 27 (3), 193-199.
Klein, J. T. (1990). Interdisciplinarity. Detroit: Wayne State University.
Koestler, A. (1959). The sleepwalkers. New York: Macmillan.
Kockelmans, J. J. (1979). Why interdisciplinarity? In J. J. Kockelmans (Ed.), Interdisciplinarity and higher education (pp. 123-160). University Park: Pennsylvania
State University.
Mayville, W. V. (1978). Interdisciplinarity: the mutable paradigm. Washington, D.C.: American Association for Higher Education.
Newell, W. (1992). Academic disciplines and undergraduate interdisciplinary education: Lessons from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University, Ohio.
European Journal of Education, 27 (3), 211-221.
Nissani, M. (1994). Psychological, historical, and ethical reflections on the Mendelian Paradox. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 37 (#2), 343-352.
Polanyi, M. (1962). Personal knowledge. Chicago: University of Chicago.
Stember, M. (1991). Advancing the social sciences through the interdisciplinary enterprise. The Social Science Journal, 28, 1-14.
Go to Moti Nissani's Homepage
... It is the closest to transdisciplinary research which was historically viewed as the pinnacle of evolutionary integration across disciplines." (NSF 2021) 6 The term "convergence" research was further explored by the committee using the blended fruit metaphor originally developed by Nissani (1995) to help reduce uncertainty surrounding the term "interdisciplinarity" ( Figure 1). Because of the emphasis that convergence research definitions place on addressing specific problems and meeting societal needs, however, the metaphor was adapted and further extended beyond the original blended "fruit smoothie" concept to emphasize this new term's curative or corrective intentions. ...
... (Adapted from Nissani 1995) Figure 1: A blended fruit metaphor originally used by Nissani (1995) to define interdisciplinarity was adapted and extended by the committee to reflect the emphasis that "convergence research" places on solving complex societal problems. Graphic developed by Brit Myers, ARCUS. ...
... (Adapted from Nissani 1995) Figure 1: A blended fruit metaphor originally used by Nissani (1995) to define interdisciplinarity was adapted and extended by the committee to reflect the emphasis that "convergence research" places on solving complex societal problems. Graphic developed by Brit Myers, ARCUS. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
A proceedings report of the 2021-2022 ARCUS Interdisciplinary Research Committee (IRC). The report synthesizes the committee's discussions of Arctic interdisciplinary research collaboration as well as their efforts to both identify collaboration challenges and recommend specific actions that might be taken to increase the capacity of the wider Arctic research community to productively undertake collaborative, co-produced, and convergence research.
... Pendekatan Interdisipliner melibatkan dan menyatukan dua atau lebih komponenkomponen disiplin ilmu yang berbeda, yang dalam wacana akademik, biasanya diberlakukan dalam paling tidak empat bidang: pengetahuan, penelitian, pendidikan, dan teori. Pengetahuan interdisipliner (Interdisciplinary Knowledge) melibatkan keakraban dengan komponen khas dari dua atau lebih disiplin ilmu; Penelitian Interdisipliner (Interdisciplinary Research) menggabungkan komponen khas dari dua atau lebih disiplin dalam pencarian atau penciptaan pengetahuan baru, prosedur operasional, atau ekspresi artistik; Pendidikan Interdisipliner (Interdisciplnary Education) menggabungkan komponen-komponen khusus dari dua atau lebih disiplin ilmu dalam satu program pengajaran; Sementara Teori Interdisipliner (Interdisciplinary Theory) mengambil pengetahuan, penelitian, atau pendidikan interdisipliner yang sudah hadir sebagai objek studi utamanya (Nissani, 1995). ...
Article
Full-text available
This article aimed to offer another side of the discussion concerning digital religion commonly understood as an interaction between technological users and religious phenomena on the screen or electronic devices, Digital Religion served as an interdisciplinary subject inviting multiple perspectives to reveal a more profound and comprehensive view regarding religious communities, expressions, and symbols in the digital world. This research was conducted as a literature review combining and analyzing massive lists of reputable references related to the topic. In addition, this research also utilized a content analysis method to summarize crucial ideas and information needed by the study. This paper concluded that Digital Religion emphasized the interaction between technology users and religious expressions in the digital world assisted by internet access. These interactions gave birth to new religious views, systems, and symbols different from conventional religious discourse. Moreover, it is apparent that Digital Religion was able to attract other branches of science to work together responding to issues, realizing it as an interdisciplinary study.
... Regarding how and if the particularities of different children and different dog-handler teams were matched, the criteria (when reported) were focused on the team's availability and participant's schedule. According to Nissani (1995) one essential component of transdisciplinary research is the degree of integration among the expert, non-expert and community member participants. This process requires working toward intense levels of collaboration from the initial to the final phases of the research process. ...
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of research has linked the inclusion of dogs in Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) for children and young adults to a diverse range of positive social emotional and cognitive outcomes. However, many studies have focused exclusively on aspects directly related to dog-client interactions. There is a need to gain a better understanding of how dog-handler teams have been described, conceptualized and incorporated into the analysis in previous research. In addition, few studies have investigated the mutual adjustments inherent to dog-handler-client triadic relationships. This paper explores if and how the unique characteristics of dog-handler teams have been conceptualized and measured in previous studies. First, this paper undertakes a scoping review to map what, if any, characteristics of dogs, handlers, and dog-handler teams have been described and incorporated into the assessment of AAAs from 2004 to 2019 including: demographic characteristics, formal training and certification, handlers’ or dogs’ behavioral and physiological responses to AAAs, handlers’ roles during activities, and configuration of AAA teams. This scoping review also highlights key features of AAA teams requiring further investigation. In addition, this paper proposes the incorporation of a transdisciplinary framework to the analysis of AAAs. Such a holistic framework can inform the field of human-animal interactions by prioritizing a relational and contextual focus to the study of AAAs.
... Such citations occur in papers between and within groups of studies, such as disciplines, but the relationship between groups at the system level of all groups is understudied. Moreover, the term 'interdisciplinary' (ID) is popularly used to describe and promote interactions between disciplines, but is notoriously difficult to define (Hansson 1999;Nissani 1995;Huutoniemi et al. 2010;Porter et al. 2007;Mäki 2016;Holbrook Mark Bo Chu and Yuka Suzuki contributed equally to this work. 2013). ...
Article
Full-text available
The communication and transfer of information are important aspects of scientific research. While communication between disciplines has been measured using citation networks, we still lack knowledge about how the information transfer takes place across all disciplines. Here, we investigate a network of citations across computationally defined disciplines (Map of Science) to better understand interactions between disciplines at the system level of all disciplines. We do this by applying regression analyses to characteristics pertaining to discipline size and citation flow. We find a significant relationship between discipline size and interdisciplinary interactions. Our system-level analysis suggests the potential role that characteristics of each discipline, namely discipline size, may play in scientific communication and the importance of actively incorporating them into future studies.
... It is possible to borrow Buker's definition, and characterise cemetery studies as a "disciplined mode of inquiry that draws from an interdisciplinary knowledge base" (Buker, 2003: 1). Indeed, the level of interdisciplinarity travels some way into Nissani's conception of a "fruit smoothie," where disparate discipline approaches are fully blended rather than being rather more discretely definable as would be the case in a fruit salad (Nissani, 1995). ...
Article
This paper reviews cemetery publications over the last twenty years and considers current trends and new directions. In these two decades, cemetery research has included contributions from the humanities, social sciences and sciences and its inter-national reach has expanded substantially, echoing the expansion in geographic scope of death studies. The study of cemeteries has also benefited from a spatial turn within a number of disciplines: within death studies, conceptions of “deathscapes” or “necroscapes” has expanded the range of questions asked of all locations where death is encountered. The paper is ordered using eight core questions that can be asked of any kind of space used for the interment of the dead either as a full body or as cremated remains: how do we define this space?; how has this space come to be?; what does this space mean?; what does this space look like?; how is it used?; what do we express through this space?; how is the space managed? and how is this space valued? The review indicates that the field of cemetery studies is intrinsically interdisciplinary, where nuance of meaning and degree of significance is best captured in the interstices between and interplay of separate discipline traditions, themes and methods.
Chapter
The simulated patient method is becoming an increasingly popular observational method to measure practice behavior in pharmacy practice and health services research. The simulated patient method involves sending a trained individual (simulated patient among other names), who is indistinguishable from a regular consumer, into a healthcare setting with a standardized scripted request. This method has come to be accepted as being well-suited for observing practice in the naturalistic setting and has also been used as an intervention when combined with feedback and coaching. This chapter presents an overview of the method, a brief history of its use, considerations for designing, implementing, and evaluating simulated patient studies, including ethical considerations, as well as methods of analysis and mixed-methods designs.
Chapter
This chapter is based on discussions at a workshop at the Nordic Social Pharmacy Conference in 2019, named How do we know it’s good? A workshop on quality criteria in qualitative social and clinical pharmacy research. After an introduction, the chapter continues with a glance at two different epistemologies. Thereafter, reflections on the challenges that many social pharmacy researchers meet as they come from a natural science background into qualitative research are presented. Specific aspects presented and discussed are: methodological and disciplinary competence and insecurity, reflexivity, transparency, checklists, quality criteria, sample size, and saturation.
Chapter
In the recent past, there has been a call for a change in some aspects of contemporary psychology, one aspect being that of making psychology integrative. The present essay examines some major challenges posed by the idea of integrative psychology particularly with regard to teaching. These are: understanding why an integrative approach is needed at all, clarifying the meaning of “integrativeness” considering diverse views and dealing with a sense of disconnectedness in certain domains. Attention is drawn to issues regarding interdisciplinary and intradisciplinary disjuncture in psychology, disjointedness between individual (micro-level), group (meso-level) and societal (macro-level) psychological processes, between methods, contemporary and traditional thought systems, between psychological research and public policy, between the human welfare goal of psychology and the content of the discipline, and between the conceptualizations of integration and actual practice of these concepts. The need for giving greater importance to the human welfare aspect in integrative psychology is highlighted. It is further pointed out that along with an interdisciplinary approach towards integrative psychology, disciplinary identities also need to be sharpened for effective integration. A comment is made on the problems in teaching of the discipline in a fundamentally transformed way, especially in certain educational systems. Some of the hurdles include a lack of openness to integrativeness, the discipline-focused training of teachers, the need to motivate students for an integrative approach, and a job market that may not appreciate an integrative or multi-disciplinary approach. Suggestions are given for introducing an integrative element in the existing state of psychology. It is concluded that psychology can be made integrative only by developing an inclusive attitude towards other areas of inquiry, and towards different ideas, methods and theories. Ultimately, psychology should become integrative as a science of human beings, as suggested by Valsiner.KeywordsIntegrativenessInclusiveness“Tree of Knowledge”Meta-disciplinarityHuman science
Article
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Article
Questions addressed: How much disciplinary background is necessary for IDS courses? How much is needed to develop/teach ID courses? How visible should disciplines be and what role should they play in IDS courses? Can students learn intellectual skills such as rigor and critical thinking through IDS courses? Can IDS courses prepare them for advanced work in disciplines or discipline-based careers?
Article
Although interdisciplinary work in universities has expanded in recent decades, the influence of academic disciplines is pervasive. The article makes explicit the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary for the social sciences. The strategies offered for enhancing the interdisciplinary enterprise include selecting appropriate group members, establishing ground rules, explicating and bridging epistemological and methodological differences, and promoting infrastructural support.
Article
A school's curriculum can appear unrelated, fragmented, or somewhat disjointed if not done with an end in mind. This fragmentation or disjointedness often affects students and their views of the experiences being given them in school. Various curriculum-integration techniques, however, can be used to help make the big picture more understandable to students; and these have the added benefit of allowing teachers to focus better on teaching and student learning. In effective curriculum-integration models, knowledge is meaningfully related and connects in such a way that it is relevant to other areas of learning as well as real life. Of course, sometimes integration is not the best approach to teaching. Integration just for the sake of integration can interfere with learning if constructed activities are not meaningful. To integrate a curriculum is to combine subjects to meet objectives across the curriculum, not just objectives pertaining to one subject. Thus, in this article, the author states that to make integration meaningful and successful in a classroom, activities must be assessed by their educational value and meet curricular objectives in two or more subject areas. When implemented properly, not superficially, integration can be a more meaningful approach to learning for students, as well as a time-saver for teachers.
The gene: A critical history
  • E A Carlson
Carlson, E. A. (1966). The gene: A critical history. Philadelphia: Saunders.
  • L Huber
Huber, L. (1992). Editorial. European Journal of Education, 27 (3), 193-199.