Defining and evaluating transdisciplinary research: implications for aging and technology

Alisa Grigorovich (Lead / Corresponding author), Mei Lan  Fang, Judith Sixsmith, Pia Kontos

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)
    448 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose: Transdisciplinary research has the potential to enhance the real-world impact of the field of aging and technology. This is a context-driven and problem-focused approach to knowledge production that involves collaboration across scientific disciplines and academic and nonacademic sectors. To sustain broader implementation of this approach, a scoping review was conducted on the impact of this approach on research processes, outcomes and uptake.

    Materials and Methods: A systematic search was conducted of aging, health/medicine, and technology literatures indexed in three electronic data bases (Medline/OVID, EBSCO, ProQuest) from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2015. Search terms included three themes: (1) transdisciplinarity; (2) research outcomes and (3) social change.

    Results: Twenty articles met the inclusion criteria. We found that a transdisciplinary approach to research enhances integration of diverse knowledge, scientific and extra-scientific outcomes, capacity to engage in translational research and the uptake of research knowledge. We also identified a number of facilitators and barriers to successful implementation of this approach. No articles evaluating transdisciplinary research specifically in the context of aging and technology were found.

    Conclusions: Adoption of transdisciplinary research in aging and technology may foster greater uptake of technological innovation in the real-world by supporting integration of diverse knowledge and enhancing engagement of experiential and nonacademic stakeholders in the research and development process. However, supporting successful implementation of this approach requires investment of personal and structural resources. More research is needed to better understand the evidence base on the adoption of this approach in aging and technology projects.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)533-542
    Number of pages10
    JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
    Issue number6
    Early online date14 Oct 2018
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Transdisciplinarity
    • aging and technology
    • impact
    • research evaluation
    • scoping review

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Rehabilitation
    • Speech and Hearing


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