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Navigating in multidisciplinary learning environments at doctoral level and beyond
Division for Higher Education Development, Lund University, Sweden.
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Learning Practices inside and outside School (LPS), Sustainability Education Research (SER). Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8423-1938
2019 (English)In: Postgraduate Supervision Conference: The global scholar: Implications for postgraduate studies and supervision, 26-29 March 2019: Paper abstracts, 2019, p. 15-16Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Cross-disciplinary research has become a political concern for addressing global challenges (Kessel and Rosenfield 2008). However, cross-disciplinary research is no easy road as it generally coupled with resistance from traditional disciplinary university structures, difficulties with collaborating across the disciplines, and national policies drawing in different directions (Turner et al. 2015). Still, interdisciplinary graduate programmes are globally widespread, and much of the politically requested research is carried out by doctoral students and post docs – who face the same challenges as cross-disciplinary researchers do in general (Boden et al. 2011; Felt et al. 2013). At the same time, research on junior scholars’ learning in multidisciplinary environments is scarce (Holley 2015), and explicit guidelines for cross-disciplinary research supervision are still missing although a few exceptions exist (Manathunga et al. 2006). Against this background, the purpose of the current conference contribution is three-fold:Firstly, we will provide a conceptual framework for how the concepts of multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and cross-disciplinary can be understood and distinguished from each other. Secondly, we will present some findings from our recent study on cross-disciplinary collaboration and scholarly independence among doctoral students and post docs in two multidisciplinary learning environments at a Swedish university. Data was collected through interviews with leaders, supervisors, doctoral students, and post docs (n=26), and cross-case synthesis (Yin 2014) was used for analysing data. Underpinned by the theoretical notions of ‘epistemic living space’ (Felt et al. 2013) and ‘developmental networks’ (Baker and Lattuca 2010), our analysis revealed how the actors’ engagement in the environments was dependent on their positions in time and space. Thirdly, based on our empirical findings and existing literature within the field, we will outline a theoretical framework for developing cross-disciplinary research supervision and suggest a pedagogy that supports not only doctoral students but post docs as well, as they generally also need support (Scaffidi and Berman 2011). In line with other studies, our conclusions point to the benefits of learning from peers in multidisciplinary settings (e.g. Baker and Lattuca 2010; Boden et al. 2011). Yet the need for qualified supervision may not be underestimated – which implies certain challenges in multidisciplinary environments.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. p. 15-16
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-47261OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-47261DiVA, id: diva2:1383446
Conference
Postgraduate Supervision Conference, The global scholar: Implications for postgraduate studies and supervision, 26-29 March 2019, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Available from: 2020-01-08 Created: 2020-01-08 Last updated: 2020-01-08Bibliographically approved

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Avery, Helen

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