Interdisciplinarity at Eye Level
In Cross-Disciplinary Labs, interdisciplinarity takes place at eye level: here, research questions are addressed that are of interest to both methodological science and its application in research in science and the humanities.
Despite the considerable increase of digital methods in all areas of research, a gap exists between methodological science and its users. The reasons for this are systemic: while methodologists focus on formalizing and automating repetitive tasks in processing data of all kinds, methodologists often struggle to fully understand the concerns and research goals of their colleagues. It is often difficult for users, especially those in fields more remote from technology such as the humanities and social sciences, to envision what technology can and cannot do for their specific questions, how to interpret automatically generated results, and how to assess the advantages of automated processing -even if imperfect- over manual analyses.
For interdisciplinarity at eye level, it is important that methodologists are not reduced to service engineers for users. In places where this seems necessary and useful, this is precisely a case for the Methodology Competence Center. Further, applying fields should not be reduced to constructing post-hoc explanations for the results of automated data analysis. Rather, both sides need to agree on a common vision and define accepted methods and benchmarks for evaluating the validity of research hypotheses and conduct them together in Cross-Disciplinary Labs.