I have been thinking about writing a blog for a while now. But, with so many great blogs (Family Inequality, Pearls of Wisdom: The Blog, Professional Development, Sociological Images) I wasn’t sure what I could contribute. There are always things I would like to suggest – i.e. check out this great post on writing an introduction – but I can do that now that I am officially on twitter (Follow me: @ClaireKampDush).
In thinking about what I have to contribute, I finally think I *may* have found a hole in what is out there on the world wide web. A blog dedicated to the trials and tribulations conducting interdisciplinary research – and specifically – interdisciplinary family and developmental research. Many times when people ask what department I am in, they look confused. Actually, I am confused at this point. For my first 6 years at Ohio State, I was in the Department of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS). We just recently went through a merger, and now I am in the Human Development and Family Science program in the Department of Human Sciences. Human Sciences is a broad (!) term we picked to describe our department that includes psychologists, demographers, sociologists, and economists in the HDFS program, economists, fashion designers, and hospitality managers in the Consumer Sciences Program, nutritionists from bench science to dietitians in the Nutrition program, and sports managers to exercise scientists in the Kinesiology program. So, if anyone is prepared to blog from the trenches of interdisciplinary research, I think we members of the Department of Human Sciences are!
That said, I also believe I am uniquely qualified to blog about conducting interdisciplinary research. I worked with clinical psychologist Laurie Kramer and psychologist (though I never knew what his discipline was until I saw that he was in the APA on his CV) Joe Pleck at Illinois, clinical psychologist Cathy Cohan, developmental psychologist Karen Fingerman, and sociologist Paul Amato at Penn State, and economist Liz Peters at Cornell. Thus, individuals from several social science disciplines have contributed to my training. And, since being at Ohio State, my primary collaborators have been developmental psychologist Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, clinical psychologist Galena Rhoades, and sociologist Miles Taylor.
I am a member of the American Sociological Association, Association for Psychological Science, Council on Contemporary Families, International Association for Relationship Research, National Council on Family Relations, Population Association of America, and the Society for Research on Child Development. I review for journals in family studies, sociology, psychology, and demography. All in all, I am inherently interdisciplinary, and I am passionately so. I always tell my graduate students that the most exciting research can grow from interdisciplinary thinking. For instance, as a family demographer (note that demography is also an interdisciplinary field), psychologists often ask me if I am concerned that someone else is going to conduct my research idea in a secondary dataset. For the most part, I have not found this to be a problem, as I find that I usually am asking different questions than those in the disciplines are because I am considering important factors from across them. It is not always easy to conduct interdisciplinary research, be in an interdisciplinary department, and have to constantly tell people what “HDFS” is and that no, I am not a therapist. But, it can also feel really great!
I hope you enjoy my blog, and I hope to have something to share with you once a week.