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2014 CRIGS Research Fellows

Defining and Exploring Interdisciplinary Research Within the Context of Counselor Education

2014 CRIGS Research Fellows

 Amy E. Williams, Ph.D.
College of William and Mary

Overview of Research Study:

The purpose of this study is to develop an operational definition of interdisciplinary research (IDR) within the context of counselor education, explore the ways in which IDR is implemented across programs, and understand IDR’s role in the development of a professional identity for the field of counseling.  The researchers were interested in exploring how counselor education faculty members define IDR within the context of counselor education and engage in research they consider IDR within the field of counseling.  In addition, the researchers were interested in learning about perceived benefits and barriers to IDR in counselor education from the persepctive of the participants.   Interdisciplinary research has become a topic of interest in higher education, among numerous other fields, and has been identified as an avenue for improved effectiveness and efficiency of practice (Stronks, 2012) as well as an opportunity to integrate mutually relevant knowledge and skills from multiple professions (Palermo, 2013).  The role and patterns of interdisciplinary research within counseling education programs, however, have not been explored.  Additionally, idiosyncrasies within the field of counseling complicate the application of existing definitions of IDR that may more accurately reflect the research patterns of other professional fields. More specifically, the competing goals of professional solidarity to establish a unified professional identity (Meyers, Sweeney, & White, 2002) and engaging in interdisciplinary collaboration to promote advocacy and efficacious treatment (Boyer, 1990; Mellin, Hunt, & Nichols, 2011) make it unclear whether or not counselor educators engage in IDR in the same ways that professionals from other fields do. As a result, this study aimed to construct an operational definition for IDR in counselor education and to explore current practices and beliefs of counselor education faculty surrounding IDR.

Related Scholarly Activities:

Williams, A. E. (in progress). Defining and describing interdisciplinary research among counselor educators in CACREP-accredited programs: A pilot study.