Doctoral Students on their Pathway towards Multi- and interdisciplinary Research

Keywords: multi - and transdisciplinarity, research, university course, individual and collective learning, value creation


Introduction: Interdisciplinary approaches are necessary today for meeting the most critical and complex technological and socio-cultural challenges of knowledge sharing in the world. This paper aims at investigating a doctoral course that took place at Uppsala University in autumn semester 2018.

Objetives: The purpose of the study is to describe the processes of joint learning of doctoral students, on their pathway in exploring multi- and interdisciplinary research.

Methods: The qualitative approach was used, literature studies, inquires, observations, focus group discussions, interviews and course evaluations with students as well as documentation over the course design were all used as empirical sources.

Results: The major implication of the study is that the course gave students a possibility to deepen their understanding over the both barriers and benefits of multi- and transdisciplinary research by interacting and discussing with co-students and teachers from different disciplines.

Conclusions: It is suggested in this study, though, that multi- and interdisciplinarity and even undisciplinarity can be the way of co-operating cross the disciplines, learning collectively and creating value for researchers in both solving big problems, in creating something new and innovative, finding solutions and future development for the world. The task for educators and learning agents as well as policy makers is to facilitate participative and systemic critical learning systems and situations where these conditions can be realized.

Author Biography

Anette Oxenswärdh, Uppsala UniversityDepartment of Engineering, Division of Quality Technology

Department of Engineering



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