Health News

Study reveals smaller-than-expected percentage of research in psychology is truly multidisciplinary

Colleges and universities across the U.S. have seen a decades-long push for scholars to carry out “multidisciplinary” research — academic work that combines experts from different fields who mix know-how to work on a certain topic.

Recently, researchers from the University of Kansas sought to characterize multidisciplinary research that took place over one decade in the field of psychology. Undergraduate student Yoshiaki Fujita and Michael Vitevitch, professor and chair of psychology at KU, have published their findings in the peer-reviewed journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communications.

Using network science, the pair examined articles for the years 2008-18 listed in the Social Sciences Citation Index database of the Web of Science, under the subject category of “Psychology, Multidisciplinary.” They found just 25% of citations from articles in these journals referenced research published in fields outside Psychology.

“We were a little surprised to find out even though there are these calls to become more and more multidisciplinary, we’re still really not,” Vitevitch said. “When you look at psychology journals identified as multidisciplinary — so they should be reaching out the most to other fields — only about 25 percent of their citations are to journals from other fields. Half were to other psychology journals, and 25 percent were to other multidisciplinary psychology journals.”

Fujita, now a graduate student at Indiana University-Bloomington, and Vitevitch found some topics in psychology attracted multidisciplinary work steadily throughout the decade — such as those relating to physical and mental health — while the percentage of multidisciplinary research for other topics would rise and fall.

“We looked at topics people were investigating to identify potential gaps,” Vitevitch said. “What are themes people are studying in this multidisciplinary fashion, and are there areas that are really hot and areas that have sort of died off?”

The authors think their analysis could help individual researchers identify promising areas of multidisciplinary research.

Source: Read Full Article