Interdisciplinary Collaborations Module 2: The Project Begins

The Project Begins

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Kraut et. al (1988) describe the formulation of the research plan as the most "intensely interactive" and exciting aspect of collaboration.

Project Development (Kraut et al., 1988)

  • During formulation of the project plan, collaborators talk, argue, sketch.
    • Plan grows from joint ideas and conversations (usually peer relationships)
    • One partner presents ideas to others, who serve as a sounding board (usually faculty/student relationship)

IRB and HIPAA Issues

  • Compliance with federal regulations
    • Institutional review board procedures
      • Project approval
      • Training in research ethics
      • Inter-institutional IRB approval
    • HIPAA regulations
      • Affects projects involving health-related information
      • Collaborations may need additional training
      • Compliance across multiple sites

Defining Roles

"Collaboration is enhanced when the participants have clear professional identities and are confident about their capabilities, limitations, and responsibilities."

Andrews, 1990
  • What is the role of the group?
    • Goals
    • Objectives
  • What are the roles of individuals & subgroups?
    • Peer relationship
    • Faculty/student relationship
  • Clarity concerning roles increases both productivity (Berteotti & Seibold, 1994) and morale (Derry et al., 1998)

Defining Roles

  • Participants should negotiate their own roles (Andrews, 1990)
    • Give up autonomy
    • Alter role conception
    • Gain better understanding of their place/responsibilities

Division of Labor

  • Criteria for division
    • Task preference
    • Specific skills
    • Time availability
    • Access to resources (monetary, material, intellectual)
    • Relative status
  • Imbalance in amount of work and credit received most likely cause of strain (Kraut et al., 1988)

Division of Labor: Peer Relationship

  • Status issues
    • Sharing of decisions and supervision helps partners feel of equal status (Kraut et al., 1988)
    • Interdisciplinary research problems more associated with one discipline, can create feelings of unequal status (Derry et al., 1998)

Division of Labor: Faculty/Student Relationships

  • Benefits of collaborations for students
    • Gain research experience
    • Gain exposure to other disciplines
    • Gain experience with different models of research
    • Gain experience with alternative laboratory settings and cultures.

Division of Labor: Faculty/Student Relationships

  • Suggestions for student success
    • Establish clear expectations concerning student roles
      • Project duties
      • Who the student reports to
    • Match level of involvement of students to
      • The student's level of expertise and training
      • The time available in the student's program
      • The student's priorities for reaching their goals

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