Main Article Content
Background: The FloodRISE project, which started in 2013 in Southern California, aimed at better understanding how to promote resilience to coastal flooding. It was based on a cross-disciplinary approach, involving several research teams and local communities.
Purpose: We conducted a qualitative study of the first phase of the project (2013-2015) in order to analyze its inter- and transdisciplinary aspects.
Setting: We conducted this evaluation as a visiting postdoctoral researcher at UCI, not participating in the FloodRISE project.
Intervention: Not applicable.
Research design: We conducted 18 semi-structured interviews with members of the three project teams - modeling, social ecology and integration & impact - at UCI in 2015. Data were analyzed and interpreted to identify key aspects of the collaboration within and between project teams, as well as their relationship to local stakeholders.
Findings: The analysis showed that an intensive dialogue-based method of interaction and the presence of boundary researchers played a fundamental role in bridging the conceptual and methodological gaps between social and engineering sciences. These results thus exemplify several possibilities for developing more efficient interactions between researchers in a cross-disciplinary project. However, any cross-disciplinary project should: carefully evaluate potential for participants to become boundary researchers, since participants with multiple disciplinary expertise may be underemployed; improve researchers’ level of readiness, in order to facilitate further interaction and increase time efficiency; and clearly address remoteness issues to avoid lower collaboration between central and peripheral locations.
Keywords: interdisciplinarity; transdisciplinarity; qualitative study; project evaluation; flood risk
Copyright 2016 Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation, Western Michigan University.