After reading over my cohorts’ introductions, I have reflected on all of our projects and learned new things about interdisciplinary research. However, there is still a lot I can learn from each of my fellow Fellowship recipients. First of all, I would like to learn how the three worldviews I do not employ in my research can be used. I feel that I only understand postposivitism at the moment, however, I would like to learn how constructivism, transformativism, and pragmatism can be used in different research projects across all fields. I would also like to learn just how well researches with different fields and worldviews can work together. I would like to explore what strengths each worldview can bring to the table and what tasks each is best at accomplishing.
Similarities and Differences
The most notable thing all of my cohorts and I have in common is that we all have two majors. While not all are as interdisciplinary as a Supply Chain Management and Political Science combination, I can assure you that my Mathematics and Geology professors would agree that the two fields are separate disciplines. A lot of projects were derived from both of the researchers’ majors, while others had nothing to do with their classes.
One way my project stands out is that in terms of the three “main” disciplines (i.e. arts and humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences) my project is entirely within the scope of natural sciences. One cohort who’s project is also like this is Katelyn Meyer’s. She is also a double major in two natural sciences and is also working with someone in the Geology and Environmental Science Department. On the other hand, a lot of other projects were derived from two fields from different “main” disciplines (like Luke Profy’s combination of mathematics and classics).
Another difference I noticed between my cohorts and I was the origin of our projects. I began research on this project in the beginning of the Fall 2019 semester by asking a professor if any faculty member in the department had an opening for an undergraduate in mathematical or computational geophysics research, and I was promptly directed to my current lab. For comparison, Luke Profy came up with the idea for his interdisciplinary project while on study abroad in Sicily (which is a much cooler story than mine).
Benefits and Obstacles
The obvious benefit of working with students across disciplines is that it will prepare us for real world problems since so much of today’s research requires people to work together across disciplines. I think it will also help us understand new research projects as we come into contact with them. It can be hard to understand someone else’s research even in your own field.
One obstacle I anticipate crossing is assuming that people in every discipline will understand my project’s background knowledge. While I know I need to provide some foundational information for my research, I have no clue as to how much is necessary for someone to understand and appreciate my project. I hope to overcome this obstacle with the aid of my fellow Brackenridge recipients.