Online Collaboration for Interdisciplinarity: A Journey towards Interdisciplinarity in Design Research from Doctoral Design Students


This presentation introduces a series of online research activities aiming to help to initiate interdisciplinarity research conducted by doctoral design students. One pilot study was conducted to plan and establish a workshop framework. With the established workshop framework, two times of workshops were conducted with the participants from diverse backgrounds to address how to build an interdisciplinary design research team with aligned research goals. The outcomes of research activities were presented in 2019 European Academy of Design (EAD) and 2020 Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) conferences. By synthesizing the outcomes from the previous workshops, this presentation will provide a set of lessons learned from the research experiences including: 1) the online workshop framework and 2) related materials that are iterated and optimized over time from the two workshops.


By the end of this presentation, audiences could obtain information about interdisciplinary research collaboration including: 1) The bottom-up approach from students to the institution to conduct collaborative and interdisciplinary research; 2) The presenters’ experience of helping to manage an interdisciplinary research team from building the research team from diverse backgrounds to making the team outlines regarding their research proposal; and 3) The online workshop framework and resources building interdisciplinary research teams.

Contributions for this track will have a focus on scholarship and/or teaching and learning practices in the creative disciplines (Interdisciplinarity in Design Research) that center on non-dominant approaches (Bottom-up approach instead of Top-down approach) and methodologies from diversifying the sources from which a course is designed (Participants with diverse backgrounds). Alternative course materials and resources (Established an online workshop framework and related materials) will be presented to teaching through indigenous ways of working and to leaving (traditional) academia (It is difficult that faculties cover all the students’ interests and capacities and cultivate collaborative and interdisciplinary research between students).


The social and science-related problems encountered nowadays are complex and difficult to be solved by one discipline. Hence, the collaboration between researchers from different disciplines has been highlighted. Also, due to COVID-19, effective online collaboration has become one of the main agenda for researchers. Doctoral design students developed a workshop framework and related materials that will help the researchers to engage in interactive discussions and hands-on exercises online. Two online workshops based on the framework and materials were conducted to foster interdisciplinarity in research culture. The participants were graduate students and/or professionals in research fields interested in interdisciplinary team research/projects. Prior to each of the workshops, participants’ background information was collected that was used to form research/project teams with diverse backgrounds. At the beginning of the workshop, an introductory presentation was delivered to overview: 1) the purpose, 2) the process, and 3) expected outcomes of the workshop. The facilitators of the workshops guided the participants from different disciplines to 1) explore and define a common research goal and 2) organize research teams consisting of individuals from diverse disciplines using different materials and tools. By the end of the workshop, participants developed a collaborative research plan with their aligned research goal. As a result of the workshops, the participants rated that the workshop experience met or exceeded their expectations and commented on what they like or dislike. By collecting the feedback from each workshop participant, consequently, the workshop framework has been improved.
The synthesized results from the previous research activities in a presentation format will provide a set of lessons and learning experiences including: 1) the online workshop framework and 2) related materials that are iterated and optimized over time from the two workshops. Therefore, this presentation will provide audiences with the opportunity to conduct multidisciplinary research in and out of their organization through this workshop methodology and experience.