2015Weeknotes

Interdisciplinary work, a core of our project

There is a myth that says that engineers are not the best team working individuals. This is often assumed due to the work or research that we do. I truly believe that this project is proving this statement wrong.

As an engineer by training, and after finishing grad-engineering school, I am used to dealing with quantitative research. Part of the challenge (and beauty) of a diverse research group as ours (engineers, social scientist, medical doctors, and architects) is to how to communicate ideas in order to make them understandable for researches with different backgrounds. So the main question here is how we can integrate the backgrounds, methods, and tools in such a way that can be understandable for every single member. This is crucial for the current state of the project since we are departing from learning about clinical trials to start creating knowledge as a team. Therefore, it is the right time to start developing common tools for one and all. Here is an example of what we have done in this matter.

We created an online tool to analyze clinical trial data (publicly available). This tool is meant to be used by all research members and will keep evolving as new needs appear. This is a friendly manner to communicate the work that I do, that often deals with a lot a coding and incurring undesirable red lines indicating errors. An example is shown below, which is clearly not easily readable if you do not have the coding background.

Another tool that has recently been developed by all team members is the “common language” tool. As mentioned earlier, a key factor in an interdisciplinary group is the ability to communicate ideas clearly and in such a way that researchers from different disciplines can understand. Therefore, this tool will guide the way we do research. It gives us some structure but at the same time the flexibility to start at any level (trends, impacts, gaps) depending on the type of research (quantitative and qualitative).

 

Looking forward to this interdisciplinary effort to solve the clinical trials problem!

By:
Felipe Feijoo, PhD