Researching Collaborative Interdisciplinary Teams

Practices and Principles for Navigating Researcher Positionality


  • Rebecca Freeth Leuphana University
  • Ulli Vilsmaier


Collaborative interdisciplinary research is on the rise but can be difficult and daunting. There is much to learn by studying the inner workings of collaboration, to the potential benefit of both science and technology studies (STS) and those who collaborate. We have been studying the inner workings of a collaborative interdisciplinary team using formative accompanying research (FAR). Assuming multiple insider-outsider vantage points implied adopting dynamic positionality in relation to the team. In this article, we outline an approach to navigating positionality based on these research experiences. Navigation is aided by identifying learning orientations to a collaborative team, to learn about, with or for the team; and by adopting practices and principles to balance i) observation and participation; ii) curiosity and care; and iii) impartiality and investment. We illustrate what we have learned so far, demonstrating how to apply these navigating instruments so that the skilful use of FAR positionality can advance the understanding and practice of collaborative interdisciplinary research.


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How to Cite

Freeth, R. and Vilsmaier, U. (2019) “Researching Collaborative Interdisciplinary Teams: Practices and Principles for Navigating Researcher Positionality”, Science & Technology Studies, 33(3), pp. 57–72. doi: 10.23987/sts.73060.