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Under interdisciplinarity refers to the use of approaches, ways of thinking, or at least methods from various disciplines.

An interdisciplinary or interdisciplinary way of working includes several independent individual sciences that pursue a mostly scientific question with their respective methods. It plays a subordinate role here whether these subject areas themselves pursue interdisciplinary approaches or whether these approaches only result from a combination of the subject areas.

In contrast to multidisciplinarity, it is important that methods are conveyed between the disciplines and that solution strategies are not only created through an exchange of results. Interdisciplinarity requires the merging of different sub-aspects, a mere juxtaposition of these aspects is not sufficient for this.

Causes and forms of interdisciplinarity

Scientific research is characterized by processes based on the division of labor. Specialization in individual subjects is the consequence. However, the reality that scientific research reflects is multifaceted and complex. A division into individual sciences, which is often arbitrary, rarely takes place in reality; the problems are not always tailored to the disciplinary boundaries, but often span multiple subjects. Research questions can therefore often not be answered from a single subject, so that cooperation between (inter) the disciplines is necessary.

Some new scientific disciplines such as biochemistry or geotechnics have emerged from longer interdisciplinary cooperation (see Interdisciplinary Science ). In addition, less structured forms of interdisciplinary or interdisciplinary research have become common today. Often the individual scientist also practices a personal interdisciplinary approach by combining competencies from different disciplines.

For interdisciplinary cooperation, it is essential that a process of understanding takes place across disciplinary boundaries, i.e. H. a common language for describing and solving the problems is found, but criteria, for example for evaluating the quality of academic performance, are also shared. The principles according to which scientists can work and collaborate across disciplines are (a) the principle of the equal order of the disciplines, (b) the principle of the transcendence of the disciplines, (c) the principle of the identification of the research object, (d) that Principle of minimality in knowledge transfer, (e) the principle of synergy and (f) the principle of integration; Principles relating to language are (a) the principle of unity, (b) the principle of everyday language and (c) the principle of comparison.

The point at which interdisciplinary work is spoken of can differ greatly in different disciplines. So one would engineer for communications engineering cooperation with an engineer for Hochspannungstechnik not be described as interdisciplinary. Doctors, on the other hand, already speak of interdisciplinary cooperation between urology and gynecology , although these disciplines are closely related.


See also


  • Christine von Blanckenburg, Birgit Böhm, Hans-Liudger Dienel , Heiner Legewie , guidelines for interdisciplinary research groups: initiating projects - shaping collaboration. Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-515-08789-3 .
  • Rico Defila, Antonietta Di Giulio, Michael Scheuermann: "Research network management - manual for the design of inter- and transdisciplinary projects" , vdf Hochschulverlag at the ETH Zurich, 2006.
  • Wolfgang Deppert : On the scientific theory of interdisciplinarity. In: W. Deppert, K. Köther, B. Kralemann, C. Lattmann, N. Martens, J. Schaefer (eds.): Self-organized system times. An interdisciplinary discourse on the modeling of living systems based on internal rhythms. Volume I of the series: Fundamental Problems of Our Time, Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 2002, pp. 273–298.
  • Heinrich Parthey : Personal Interdisciplinarity in Science. In: Walther Umstätter and Karl-Friedrich Wessel: Interdisciplinarity - a challenge for scientists. Kleine Verlag, Bielefeld 1999, pp. 243-254.
  • Julie Thompson Klein: Crossing Boundaries: Knowledge, Disciplinarities, and Interdisciplinarities. University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville 1996.
  • Andreas Mauz: In the space in between. On the interdisciplinary-theoretical reconstruction of interpretive practices between literary studies and theology , in: Andreas Mauz; Ulrich Weber (ed.), “Wonderful Theology”. Constellations of literature and religion in the 20th century, Göttingen: Wallstein 2015 (Summer Academy Center Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel, vol. 5), pp. 53–89.
  • Robert Frodeman, Julie Thompson Klein, Carl Mitcham (Eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2010.
  • Michael Jungert, Elsa Romfeld, Thomas Sukopp, Uwe Voigt (Eds.): Interdisciplinarity. Theory, practice, problems. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2010.
  • Alexander Grau: More discipline for all disciplines! In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, February 23, 2003, p. 63.
  • A special issue of the French magazine Labyrinthe. Atelier interdisciplinaire , 27 (2007): La Fin des Disciplines? , with certain texts online.
  • Harald A. Mieg: Interdisciplinarity needs organization! In: Umweltpsychologie 2003 , 7 (2), pp. 32–52.
  • Harald Welzer : “Don't talk about meaning!” In: Die Zeit from April 27, 2006, accessed December 10, 2014.

Web links

Wiktionary: Interdisciplinarity  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: interdisciplinary  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: interdisciplinary  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Sebastian Mehl, Fiction and Identity in the Esra Case: Multidisciplinary Processing of a Court Proceedings. Lit Verlag, Münster 2014, pp. 8–13.
  2. Christian Schäfer , How Much Politics is in Communication Science? On the importance of political science theories in communication studies. In: Haschke, Josef F./Moser, André M. (Eds.): Politics-German, German-Politics: Current trends and research results. Contributions to the 6th symposium of the DFPK (Düsseldorfer Forum Politische Kommunikation, Vol. 1; ISSN  2191-8791 ), Berlin: Frank & Timme, pp. 37–58.
  3. ^ Nils Seethaler : The Charité Human Remains Project - interdisciplinary research and restitution of human remains. In: Communications of the Berlin Society for Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory, Volume 33, 2012, pp. 103-108.