Perceptions of Transdisciplinary Engineering: Characterisations of The Transdisciplinary Research Approach

Hannah Gooding, Susan Lattanzio, Linda Newnes, Glenn Parry

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

2 Citations (SciVal)


Engineering disciplines are paying increasing attention to transdisciplinary (TD) working. The terminology of single, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary lacks clarity. Consequently, there is currently no consensus on what defines a TD research approach. This makes it difficult to implement and measure the impact of TD and TD working. Clear definition of the approach and understanding of where TD is most applicable is needed because the education of tomorrow’s engineers can only be realised if researchers build upon coherent theoretical frameworks. This paper draws on theory to define TD and then aims to reduce confusion and instill clarity by identifying when TD as a research approach should or should not be used. This is achieved by answering the research question: when might it be beneficial to take a TD rather than single, multi or interdisciplinary research approach? Survey responses from twenty-eight authors (50%) who presented papers at the 28th ISTE International Conference on Transdisciplinary Engineering (TE2021) were qualitatively analysed. Findings show institutional barriers to TD adoption may prevent the benefits of TD engineering research from being realised. Rather than the research approach itself, it is the environment in which we do our research, one which is decided long before our work begins, that will determine if any meaningful benefits from TD are realised.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransdisciplinarity and the Future of Engineering - Proceedings of the 29th International Society of Transdisciplinary Engineering (ISTE) Global Conference
EditorsBryan R. Moser, Bryan R. Moser, Pisut Koomsap, Josip Stjepandic
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781614994398
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022

Publication series

NameAdvances in Transdisciplinary Engineering

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The authors and IOS Press.


  • Transdisciplinarity
  • transdisciplinary
  • transdisciplinary engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Software
  • Algebra and Number Theory
  • Strategy and Management


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