Interdisciplinary Research is a mode of research that integrates information, data, techniques, tools, perspectives, concepts, and/or theories from two or more disciplines or bodies of specialized knowledge to advance fundamental understanding or to solve problems whose solutions are beyond the scope of a single discipline or area of research practice.
The chart below, adopted from John C. Bean's Engaging Ideas, helps differentiate different types of inquiry and research:
|Type of Inquiry||Explanation||What to expect in the Literature||Example|
|Empirical Research||Disciplinary knowledge & procedures are used to advance empirical understanding of the world.||Articles with an Experimental Research Report and IMRD (introductions methods, results, discussion)||Scientific Article from ScienceDirect|
|Problem Solving Research||Professionals use disciplinary knowledge and procedures to solve real-world problems for a targeted client.||Practical proposals to solve a problem||White paper or article found in Business Source Complete or educational brochure such as ones created by the CO Foundation for Water Education|
|Interpretive/Theoretical Research||Researchers interpret documents/artifacts/cultural phenomena through various theoretical lenses with expectations that problems will be continuously debated rather than “solved”.||Disciplinary journal article (no clear structural template)||A book chapter found using the catalog or journal article from JSTOR that interprets/analyzes primary source documents|