Principal Investigators Association

Interdisciplinary Research Teams Guide


An interdisciplinary project draws on methods and understandings from several disciplines, but creates something new that is greater than the sum of its parts. Interdisciplinary projects are necessarily focused on solving a particular problem, but interdisciplinary partnerships created for one project can continue through an entire career. Ideally, interdisciplinary projects both contribute to new approaches that span disciplines and provide insights for each participating discipline.

The key to creating a truly interdisciplinary project involves fostering an interdisciplinary environment where everyone contributes equally toward common goals.

This comprehensive guide, Interdisciplinary Research Teams: The Scientist’s Guide to Building Strong, Productive Teams, outlines strategies to help scientists engaged in interdisciplinary research develop projects that both create a truly interdisciplinary environment and address the disciplinary specific career needs of participants.

This guide provides practical advice on developing interdisciplinary partnerships and the mechanics of carrying out interdisciplinary, multi-site projects.

Inside this 73-pg. executive report, you will find expert guidance for:

  • Defining Interdisciplinary Research: A Look at 3 Kinds of Initiatives
  • How to Develop a Research Problem and a Team
  • How to Determine Which Methods and Disciplines are Necessary for a Particular Project
  • Strategies for Effective Leadership: Your Commitments and Responsibilities
  • How to Build a Successful Team: Who to Include, Who to Avoid
  • Developing Interdisciplinary Proposals: How to Prepare, Who Should Be Involved
  • Communication Strategies Every Interdisciplinary Team Should Know — and Practice
  • Creating an Interdisciplinary Environment: Research Protocols, Creating a Common Language
  • How to Create Partnerships for Research to Practice
  • Analysis Strategies for Interdisciplinary Projects: How to Reach Your Full Potential
  • How Create Truly Interdisciplinary Products
  • How to Overcome Publication and Authorship Issues for Interdisciplinary Teams
  • And much more!
    Table of Contents

About the Co-Author:

Dr. Jo Anne Schneider Dr. Jo Anne Schneider, has been designing carrying out multi-method, multi-site team research projects since 1988. She is a specialist in urban issues, social welfare, health and human services, and health projects with hard to reach populations. She has worked with a combination of government, foundations, national member benefit non-profits, community based organizations, faith communities and marginalized communities (people of color, immigrants/refugees, low income communities, people with disabilities), using advisory committees in all of her projects. A former American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy and Technology Fellow at NIH, she is currently an Associate Research Professor at George Washington University. She also has an international reputation for applied team projects working with governments and community organizations. Recent major projects include the Faith and Organizations Project (, and multiple projects related to social welfare and human services (see Recent publications include Social Capital and Welfare Reform (Columbia University Press, 2006).

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OFFER VALID ON NEW ORDERS ONLY.This guide is brought to you as a training tool by the Principal Investigators Association, which is an independent organization. The information presented and its contents are not connected with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the National Science Foundation (NSF), nor are they endorsed by these agencies. All views expressed are those personally held by the author and are not official government policies or opinions.


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