After completing the readings from Week 3, I have discovered some answers to the second question I posed in my last post (see “’Mastery’ and Interdisciplinary Questions”). The question was how salsa-dancing social scientists ensure that they understand different fields that they are attempting to combine in an interdisciplinary research project. In the Chapter 5 (Reviewing The Literature), Luker (2010) mentions the Annual Review series,
“which provide their own reviews of the literature on important, controversial, or emerging fields…[the] articles are deeply theoretical, showing you the topography of an area, or sketching out a new frontier of an emerging idea. If you are lucky enough to find an Annual Review article that covers two or more petals on your [bedraggled] daisy, or covers an adjacent topic, you can be sure that if you read the cited material, you will be in command of the key literature in this area.” (p. 87)
Luker (2010) also recommends consulting dictionaries and encyclopaedias related to a particular social science discipline, as well as general encyclopaedias of the social sciences (p. 87). Finally, the book points out that dissertations are particularly useful for getting overview of the body of literature on a particular topic. These dissertations can be found by using the Digital Dissertations-Proquest tool (Luker, 2010, p. 90).
It would appear that by using these tools, an investigator could achieve the level of interdisciplinary knowledge necessary to execute the project, as well as establish credibility with experts in the different fields from which the study’s concepts are drawn. The Annual Review would be particularly useful for wide-ranging research, as it covers not only the social sciences, but also the biomedical and physical sciences (Luker, 2010, p. 269).
In my next post, I will address the questions and issues which Chaya, Emily, and Nicholas raised when discussing my first blog posting.
Luker, K. (2010). Salsa Dancing into the social sciences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.