Part of becoming a researcher is developing the soft skill of being able to handle, weed out, and appreciate criticism. Constructive criticism is a good way to be able to improve your research, but not all critiquing is constructive. Whether it comes from scholars in your own field, or it’s an interdisciplinary critique, good criticism can be very beneficial.
Interdisciplinary experts who offer to critique your work are can give you outside perspectives you might not have thought of otherwise. When you open yourself up to requesting and appreciating criticism from those outside the scope of your field, it can have a diverse effect on your outcome.
Differentiating Between Usable and Discardable Critique Responses
Critiquing is a normal part of the research process. Peer review is a standard aspect that every work must go through before being published in a reputable journal. But not all critique is usable, and you need to know which comments to internalize and which ones to discard.
Common types of critique that you should take into consideration and adjust your paper to include things like:
● Having an analysis that does not have enough details in the research or included in the text to support the claims that you made; even if you think you do, if a peer calls you out on it because they don’t see the evidence that substantiates your analysis, you should review your work and revise accordingly
● Lack of a demonstration of a thorough understanding or explanation of specific key concepts that are needed to bring your research to its outcome
● Considering an article as complete when it has not been thoroughly reviewed for errors
● A review that discusses your paper’s strengths and weaknesses
Constructive feedback through the peer review process is a good idea for all writers, particularly if the reviewer is someone whose opinion you know and respect as an expert in the subject. Accepting the reader’s subjective opinion can be difficult, and if it is in line with something you recognize as a way to improve your writing, you can acknowledge it more easily. But if it’s something that just seems insulting without cause or is the direct opposite of the point you were trying to make or something that is important to you, you can analyze your feelings on it and discard it as unnecessary, then move forward.
But when the reviewer is coming from an interdisciplinary lens and you don’t understand their critiquing, you might need to think twice and ask for clarification before you decide to discard their advice.
The Benefits of Interdisciplinary Criticism
Requesting and accepting critiquing through others from different fields is not a common practice, but it’s a beneficial one. Many interdisciplinarians are hostile to those outside of their scope of practice, but more and more today, these scholars are learning the importance of integrating ideas with other disciplines.
Through the sharing of ideas and knowledge, it’s possible for one expert to broaden the audience impact of a researcher’s approach with relevant feedback. Perspectives that may have been missed with a narrow scope can be fanned into flames that develop into ideas that span wider target groups and create a longer-lasting, relevant impact.
Another benefit is that by working together in integrated subject areas, scholars actively tear down the traditional hierarchies of status that is common in disciplines. They begin to see how their work is related to other subjects in synergistic ways, finding relationships that can be used to solve problems across both disciplines and overcoming obstacles that might not have been addressed prior to the integrated relationship.
Because of these benefits and advantages, the not-so-common practice of peer review through interdisciplinary criticism is starting to trend more towards accepted and appreciated instead.