Interdisciplinary collaboration in the social sciences is obviously essential to scientific progress, but discontent and practical difficulties hinder collaboration in research and training. Many of the problems arise from the failure in the separate disciplines to understand the basis on which collaboration is necessary and possible. In an effort to shed light on the situation, these original essays by eminent scholars--economists, geographers, psychologists, political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, and others--demonstrate effective means of achieving interdisciplinary coordination in studying human behavior and delineating promising areas--for cooperative research. The book provides a sophisticated guide to the nature of knowledge in social science as applied to its core disciplines.
Since the social sciences separately are studying and theorizing about many of the same kinds of human behavior, the contributors propose that scholars can avoid possible duplication of effort and increase the validity of their formulations by consulting the related findings and methodology from other disciplines before embarking on a research problem. The contributors maintain that this interchange, by broadening the total knowledge of each discipline, represents the best approach toward fulfilling the goals of social scientific inquiry.
The individual chapters give valuable insight into the theoretical overlaps among the disciplines and outline specific research areas--such as group interaction, political attitudes, and intergroup relations--that require interdisciplinary cooperation to produce valid formulations. A major step toward creating a dialogue among disciplines, the book will enable every social scientist to understand more clearly the current state and future direction of interdisciplinary relationships and their indispensable future in social scientific thought.