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A Critical Review of Harvard’s Project Zero

“Put simply, is the study of interdisciplinary research itself interdisciplinary, and does it need to be? To explore this question deLusé delves into the significant work conducted by the Interdisciplinary Studies Project (Project Zero), Harvard Graduate School of Education. In particular she reviews the GoodWork Project within Project Zero and its subsidiary, the GoodWork Interdisciplinary Studies Project. It is useful for interdisciplinarians to appreciate the important contributions to the literature and practice of interdisciplinary of this research endeavor. 

DeLusé describes the project’s Delphi-type research method: interviews with successful people in many fields with the goal of inductively identifying best practices in the interdisciplinary research process. 

While she applauds the insights of their method, she ironically suggest that this research effort could take a more interdisciplinary approach. She urges the project’s researchers to read widely (and cite) relevant interdisciplinary literature before doing the interviews in order to be able to probe more deeply into motivations and understanding of interdisciplinary researchers and teachers. 

She argues that while inductive techniques for drawling lessons from a set of interviews are valuable, they could be combined with a more deductive approach that draws questions from the wider literature. More effort should be invested in investigating the similarities and differences across different fields in which interviews were performed. Last but not least, says deLusé, rather than publishing non-refereed, rarely cited research reports on the project’s website, more effort could be expended on integrating the research results with related literature in a more conventional forum for dissemination, such as peer reviewed journals or chapter in books.”

–Stuart Henry, PhD

Journal Article (191 KB)

Click on the file to read it. And do look into the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (previously Integrative Studies)--the world needs more interdisciplinarians!