How do we recognize the interdisciplinary nature of research? In this piece, Jerry Jacobs addresses this question through thinking about the appropriate criteria for evaluating a research proposal. Instead of advocating a single scale, Jacobs argues that a proposal’s interdisciplinary qualities might be considered according to the scope of intellectual sources of the proposed project; the range of skills, methods, and interests drawn upon; and the breadth of potential impact of the research.
Jerry A. Jacobs
Jerry A. Jacobs is a professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has taught since earning his PhD in sociology at Harvard in 1983. He served as Editor of the American Sociological Review from 2004-2006. His current projects include an historical study of women’s entry into STEM fields, and an investigation of the future of work, and a study of interdisciplinarity in the context of large-scale social science data projects. His book on interdisciplinarity, In Defense of Disciplines: Interdisciplinarity and Specialization in the Research University, was published in 2013 by the University of Chicago Press. The book has been featured for discussion at five conferences, including the Association for Integrative Studies, the American Sociological Association and the Social Science History Association. An essay based on the book appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education on May 27, 2014.