Development studies and cross-disciplinarity: research at the social science-physical science interface

A. Sumner, Michael Tribe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Cross-disciplinarity is widely accepted in the Development Studies (DS) community, but has principally been interpreted within the social sciences. However, much of the research, practical planning and evaluation studies, and teaching/training in DS involves cross-disciplinarity between the social and physical sciences. We consider the extent of this wider variant of cross-disciplinarity, review factors inhibiting cross-disciplinary collaboration, and explore implications relating to ‘single discipline analysis’ central to the interest of DS. Our main conclusions are that cross-disciplinarity between social and physical sciences is central to DS activity, and that disciplines, subject areas or knowledge communities need to be modest in defining their ‘boundaries’ and flexible in encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-767
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of International Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008


  • cross-disciplinarity
  • multi-disciplinarity
  • inter-disciplinarity
  • development studies
  • physical sciences
  • esearch methodology
  • epistemology

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