Can transdisciplinary research yield fruitful results?

The findings of a new transdisciplinarity research methodology used to explore a ground-breaking historical study have been made publicly available for the first time. The article, published in Cogent Arts & Humanities, examines the curious story of Ernst Wahliß – a nineteenth century china manufacturer and touristic entrepreneur – told through a new interdisciplinary project. Through a careful and original study of the story of Wahliß, the authors of the innovative article arrive at some startlingly original conclusions about contemporary interdisciplinary research design. The findings will undoubtedly prove essential reading for anyone working in interdisciplinary research projects.

Tourism began to develop as an economic sector in Austria in the second half of the nineteenth century. Ernst Wahliß seized on the budding opportunity, heavily investing in the area surrounding Lake Wörthersee. However, little remains of Wahliß’s legacy today, so an exciting research project presented itself to uncover the story in unprecedented detail using novel research methodologies.

The authors of the article – Martina Ukowitz and Werner Drobesch – designed and carried out a multifaceted research project that incorporated trans- and interdisciplinary principles. Over the course of their extensive study, they interviewed regional locals, scoured historical sources, and also produced a documentary film on Wahliß as a way of creating a dialogue with those they spoke to.

What made this study so original was the way in which the researchers emphasised the historical context and contemporary legacy as being just as important to the story of Wahliß as the biography of the man himself. This is in clear opposition to many other studies on the history of successful companies and their owners, which normally focus solely on the individual entrepreneurs. The political and cultural context, as well as the social conditions and the areas of conflict regarding this issue, which are the inevitable consequences of enterprising actions, are not normally incorporated into research articles.

The authors said, “The interdisciplinary cooperation between history and intervention-oriented social science has revealed itself as useful and inspiring—for researchers and for stakeholders from outside academia.” As academia increasingly encourages interdisciplinary collaboration, the detailed results of this project will prove indispensable reading for modern researchers in all areas of social science and history.

The article, ‘Transdisciplinarity and the fruitful interplay between social science and science of history’, published in the open access journal Cogent Arts & Humanities, is free to read and download via this permanent link.

For more information please contact:
Daria Montella
+44 (0)207 017 5048


About Cogent OA

Cogent OA is an open access publisher that boosts research impact by connecting academic research across all disciplines.

We publish fifteen broad-scope, open access journals, across all areas of academia from engineering, mathematics and the life sciences to the humanities and the social sciences. Each journal has its own expert editorial board comprising of active specialists from institutions from around the globe who help to provide quality and constructive peer review.

As part of Taylor & Francis Group we are building on solid foundations and maintain the traditional values and high standards of an organization with more than 200 years of experience serving the research community.