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interdisciplinary vs. multidisciplinary

interdisciplinary vs. multidisciplinary: What's the difference?

Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary describe work that involves multiple separate disciplines. Interdisciplinary work typically involves the linking or combination of two or more fields of study to create a synthesized whole. Multidisciplinary work draws on the knowledge from two or more fields of study as well, but is often used to describe work in which the boundaries of the disciplines involved are maintained.

[ in-ter-dis-uh-pluh-ner-ee ]
  1. combining or involving two or more academic disciplines or fields of study: The economics and history departments are offering an interdisciplinary seminar on Asia.
  2. combining or involving two or more professions, technologies, departments, or the like, as in business or industry.
[ muhl-tee-dis-uh-pluh-ner-ee, muhl-tahy- ]
  1. composed of or combining several usually separate branches of learning or fields of expertise: The journal's first article was a multidisciplinary study of the 18th century.

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