The Effect of a "Social Problem" Orientation on the Organization of Scientific Research

Charles S. Kamen



This paper examines the proposition that the non-scientific frame of reference in which a researcher perceives his problem affects his scientific work on that problem. A survey of scientists and engineers involved in research on problems related to environmental quality shows that researchers who define their research topics as having social relevance are more likely to engage in interdisciplinary research on those topics than are researchers who do not define their topics as socially relevant; this is especially true among those not initially favorable to interdisciplinary research. Possible explanations for this finding are considered.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.