Law and social science: How interdisciplinary is interdisciplinary enough?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The movement toward greater team-based research reflects a larger movement among both universities and funding agencies—within the USA and globally—to promote interdisciplinarity. The goals of interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary research are defined. A discussion of the pros and cons of interdisciplinary work in general, followed by an application of these themes to research and training in law and social science, is presented. Interdisciplinarity, as a collaborative research enterprise and as a component of students’ training, is an important issue. Moreover, the difference between interdisciplinary teams and interdisciplinary persons must be considered. An analysis of leading law–psychology journals shows that relatively few publications come from disciplines other than psychology. Given the benefits of greater interdisciplinarity, this is a less than ideal situation. The chapter next considers the illustrative example of an interdisciplinary approach, as exemplified by the scholarship of Lawrence S. Wrightsman, Jr., in his research on judges’ decision making. More specifically, how religion influences judges’ decision making is assessed. The chapter concludes with recommendations for increasing interdisciplinary research and training opportunities in law and social science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Witness Stand and Lawrence S. Wrightsman, Jr.
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781493920778
ISBN (Print)9781493920761
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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