Interdisciplinarity: Potentials and Challenges

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Interdisciplinarity, as a concept and practice, is reviewed and related to a recent article (Romm, 1998) in this journal. Authors advocating interdisciplinarity for social research and problem solving seem to have diverse, if often largely implicit, epistemological, and other assumptions informing their proposals. Romm (1998) develops and advocates a critical and reflexive orientation for tying interdisciplinarity to action research and related endeavors. For some academicians, however, interdisciplinarity appears to be considered a relatively unproblematic pursuit of merely selecting appropriate methods. Significant issues and questions concerning interdisciplinary pursuits, particularly in academic settings, exist and are briefly explored, based on the experiences and perceptions of the author. Basic structures and processes found in fields such as action research/science and management systems often seem neglected and very much needed for interdisciplinary inquiry and knowledge construction.

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