Beers, P.J. and P.W.G. Bots: Eliciting Conceptual Models to Support Interdisciplinary Research, pp.1-10. In: Proceedings of the 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), May 1st (2007). At: Hawaii. [s.l.]: IEEE Computer Society, 2007. Eds.: J.R. Nunamaker and R.H. Sprague. ISSN: 1530-1605. ISBN: 0-7695-2755-8. International Proceeding (Refereed).
Constructing interdisciplinary knowledge requires knowledge sharing between researchers studying the same object from different disciplinary angles. Such sharing is particularly difficult because the knowledge is situated in different scientific disciplines. Researchers must find common ground to share, and this causes high transaction costs. This paper reports on an experiment with a method of conceptual analysis to elicit, analyse and compare conceptual models used by individual researchers, with the ultimate aim to facilitate researchers in sharing these models. Using an open coding method, we analysed the papers of two researchers from an interdisciplinary research project. The resulting conceptual models were validated in semi-structured interviews. The method was found to be effective in eliciting concepts, also those used implicitly. The interviews also revealed certain mechanisms by which researchers adopt new concepts and choose words for strategic reasons. However, the analysis costs are high, while the benefits remain as of yet uncertain.