In my Social Psychology class, I learned that people are typically bad at estimating their own contributions. For instance, if asked to report the percentage of a project they contributed, the total sum of everyone’s estimation is more than one hundred percent. That being said, I think if you asked most of my fellow fellows if they often found themselves doing the lion’s share of a group project, they’d answer in the emphatic affirmative.
The Ideathon, then, was a refreshing experience. Even though we were of different disciplines, we had a common goal. We could only accomplish that goal if we relied on each other’s expertise to provide the proper context for our proposal. We decided to give our team members the opportunity to speak on that which they were most familiar with – that is, we let a STEM major discuss STEM-related components, a Social Science major discuss the Social Science approaches we were taking, and finally a Humanities major explain the relevance in the culture of higher education. We planned our talking points ahead of time, cooperatively, but allowed those who knew it best to speak on it. None of us were doing all of the work, but all of us were doing some of the work.
Mutual respect plays a major role in group interdisciplinary work. By remaining open to the diverse ideas of others, you find common ground more easily than if you try to do all of the work yourself. With everyone engaged and ready to listen to ideas being presented, making progress felt smooth and unfettered.
With my own research being interdisciplinary, I realized it might make sense to receive input from experts in the areas my research relies on. For instance, Linguistics plays a major role in my project, and computational linguists have studied questions similar to the ones I want to answer. I’m especially concerned with the social impacts of this type of research (such as the ethicality of using “congruence” of language synonymously with “understanding”), and the answers may be found (or further discussed) in the sociolinguistics community.
Check out our proposal below!