A design-based research study to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration using a case from the New Zealand disability field : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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Massey University
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This study developed and evaluated an approach to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration when studying complex real-world issues. Complex real-world issues, such as inclusion for those experiencing disability in New Zealand, have been found to be difficult to resolve. This is due to both the nature of complex real-world issues that cross disciplinary boundaries as well as epistemological differences held by members of the cross-disciplinary groups brought together to study them. The eight-phase approach developed in this study was designed to address these issues and promote cross-disciplinary collaboration through the employment of a critical realist framework and activities based on Appreciative Inquiry and Future Search. The evaluation of cross-disciplinary studies has also been found to be problematic as they are often judged against contradictory disciplinary criteria. This study, therefore, also developed a multidimensional evaluation process that recognises the interactive nature of crossdisciplinary collaboration. Findings from this study show that this newly developed process was useful to evaluate the approach. They also show that the approach did promote cross-disciplinary collaboration as well as furthered the understanding of cross-disciplinary collaboration and the factors that promote and hinder its development. Based on the study’s findings recommendations are made as to how the approach can be refined and used in a range of settings and areas for further research are identified. In this way, the study contributes to a better understanding of factors that promote and hinder cross-disciplinary collaboration, and provides an approach and evaluation process that could be useful for other cross-disciplinary studies.
Interdisciplinary research, Methodology, Disability studies, New Zealand, Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Other social sciences::Research policy, Design-based research, Cross-disciplinary collaboration, Cross-disciplinary approach, Cross-disciplinary evaluation, Transdisciplinary, Complex real-world issues