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Article
Publication date: 13 September 2022

Sara Bolduc, John Knox and E. Barrett Ristroph

This article considers how the evaluation of research teams can better account for the challenges of transdisciplinarity, including their larger team size and more diverse and…

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Abstract

Purpose

This article considers how the evaluation of research teams can better account for the challenges of transdisciplinarity, including their larger team size and more diverse and permeable membership, as well as the tensions between institutional pressures on individuals to publish and team goals.

Design/methodology/approach

An evaluation team was retained from 2015 to 2020 to conduct a comprehensive external evaluation of a five-year EPSCoR-funded program undertaken by a transdisciplinary research team. The formative portion of the evaluation involved monitoring the program’s developmental progress, while the summative portion tracked observable program outputs and outcomes as evidence of progress toward short- and long-term goals. The evaluation team systematically reviewed internal assessments and gathered additional data for an external assessment via periodic participation in team meetings, participant interviews and an online formative team survey (starting in Year 2).

Findings

Survey participants had a better understanding of the project’s “Goals and Vision” compared to other aspects. “Work Roles,” and particularly the timeliness of decision-making, were perceived to be a “Big Problem,” specifically in regard to heavy travel by key managers/leadership. For “Communication Channels,” Year 2 tensions included differing views on the extent to which management should be collaborative versus “hierarchical.” These concerns about communication demonstrate that differences in language, culture or status impact the efficiency and working relationship of the team. “Authorship Credit/Intellectual Property” was raised most consistently each year as an area of concern.

Originality/value

The study involves the use of a unique survey approach.

Details

Higher Education Evaluation and Development, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-5789

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