Project analyses interdisciplinary research discourse

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The University of Birmingham, UK has launched an Investigation of the Discourse of Interdisciplinary Research (IDRD) using content from Elsevier journals.

This investigation, which will run for two years in the university's Centre for Corpus Research, aims to analyse how the development of interdisciplinary research is reflected in the language used in scholarly articles and how trends in the discourse used can support research policy development.

The study will be based on content published in Elsevier’s Global Environmental Change, which is described as a highly interdisciplinary journal, and a group of selected control Elsevier journals. Corpus linguistics will be used to examine the discourse employed in the journals. The publisher will provide free access to the journals’ content allowing for full text mining of the papers published. It also says that it will provide analytical support and will help contact journal editors, reviewers, and authors for additional qualitative surveys and interviews.

The team hopes that the results of the study will provide research councils with a fuller understanding of the distinctive features of discourse practices in interdisciplinary research. They also hope to be able to deliver insights into the nature of communication between researchers from different disciplines so that interdisciplinary research can be better promoted and managed.