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Title:Practices and conditions of boundary crossing research work: A study of scientists at an interdisciplinary institute
Author(s):Palmer, Carole L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Estabrook, Leigh S.
Department / Program:Library Science
Information Science
Discipline:Library Science
Information Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Library Science
Information Science
Abstract:As the structure of knowledge grows in both scope and specificity, the conduct of research is also changing. Increasingly, researchers are addressing problems by importing and exporting information, methods, and tools across disciplinary boundaries and by working together to apply more powerful and sophisticated approaches to broad problems. This study examines the research process of scientists at an interdisciplinary institute. After identifying a sample of boundary crossing researchers through citation analysis methods, interview data was collected and analyzed to explore how the researchers gather and disseminate information in multiple knowledge domains. While some problems and practices were common to all the researchers, certain information strategies can be associated with a scientist's research orientation. Highly participatory researchers tended to be consultative information seekers, while more individualistic researchers took a generalist approach, seeking information as part of a learning process. A number of structural and cultural elements affected the researchers' ability to perform boundary crossing research work. Organizational frameworks influenced communication and integration between scientific communities, and career paths and knowledge levels played an important role in the individual research process. The concept of "leeway" is introduced to explain how cross-disciplinary research is accommodated within the university setting. Interdisciplinary progress appears to require the balance of research approaches and multiple group memberships. Principles for establishing supportive information environments are discussed, and information initiatives for facilitating boundary crossing research are considered.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Palmer, Carole L.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9702634
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9702634

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