Do you Recommend an Interdisciplinary Field to Your Graduate Student?

Document Type : Editorial


1 Research Center for Modeling in Health, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

2 Kerman Oral and Dental Diseases Research Center, Department of Endodontics, School of Dentistry, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

“I would like to work on a very advanced, novel, and appealing topic; do you recommend working on the cost analysis of nano-surgeries?” A Masters student asked her supervisor. What would you suggest if that supervisor were you?

Why do students and even senior researchers look for a very advanced research topic? Is it the one and only way to work on the edge of science? What is the best way to express something, which is innovative and original?

Looking back over the history of science, medicine in particular, one can see a surge in the number of scientific fields in the recent centuries; i.e. many new branches have been observed to mount up. Nowadays, a clinical hematologist visits only patients with blood disorders; however, he has studied internal medicine in every respect before concentrating on a specific specialty. The gap among adjacent disciplines is widening to an extent that makes it hard to believe that only a few decades ago, a surgeon would operate all body parts. This branching phenomenon is visible in basic sciences as well. Many molecular fields are spanking new and the speed of their disjointing is even more than those of clinical fields.


1. Grigg L. Cross-disciplinary research. Australian Research Council 1999.
2. Sharp PA, Cooney CL, Kastner MA, Lees J, Sasisekharan R, Yaffe MB, et al. The third revolution: the convergence of the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2011.
3. Sharp PA, Langer R. Promoting convergence in biomedical science. Science 2011; 333: 527. doi: 10.1126/science.1205008
4. Hindle T, Checkland P, Mumford M, Worthington D. Developing a methodology for multidisciplinary action research: a case study. Journal of the Operational Research Society 1995; 46: 453-64. doi: 10.2307/2584593
5. Nelson B. Interdisciplinary studies: seeking the right toolkit. Nature 2011; 476: 115-7. doi: 10.1038/nj7358-115a
6. Porter AL, Chubin DE. An indicator of cross-disciplinary research. Scientometrics 1985; 8: 161-76.