What We Learned about Interdisciplinarity

Part of the Critical Cultural Studies of Childhood book series (CCSC)


“Neurons to neighborhoods” is the current catch phrase that refers to the importance of the confluence of biological science, social science, and policy science in research on early child development (Phillips&Shonkoff, 2000). This kind of work must by definition involve the knowledge, expertise, techniques, and insights of different disciplines, and there is now a broad consensus calling for more interdisciplinary research in this area. There is, however, no universally accepted consensus on what does and does not constitute interdisciplinary research. What precisely is the promise of interdisciplinary research and what are the challenges associated with it? It is worth beginning this chapter by recalling why the CHILD Project so strongly endorsed interdisciplinarity in the original proposal and why so much of the discourse during the five years of data collection and analysis focused on it as well. We also briefly review the literature on interdisciplinarity science to gain a broader understanding of some of the epistemological, ontological, and methodological issues that are relevant and important to this topic. We close the chapter with an exploration of the explicit and implicit lessons we learned in the CHILD Project about the theory and practice of interdisciplinary collaboration in early child development.


Interdisciplinary Research Social Play Child Care Center Interdisciplinary Collaboration Early Child Development 
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© Hillel Goelman, Jayne Pivik, and Martin Guhn 2011

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