Expertise in Interdisciplinary Science and EDucation
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Many degree programs in science and engineering aim at enabling their students to perform interdisciplinary problem solving. In this paper we present three types of expertise that are involved in different ways in interdisciplinary problem solving. In doing so we shall first characterise two important epistemological challenges commonly faced in interdisciplinary problem solving, namely the communication challenge that arises from the use of different concepts within different scientific domains, and the integration challenge that arises from the differences between domain-specific epistemological standards. Next, drawing on recent work on expertise developed within science studies, we characterize the interactional expertise that is a precondition for scientists to communicate across scientific domains, and the integrational expertise that is a precondition for scientists to be able to integrate cognitive resources originating in different domains. Finally, we shall analyse how different types of interdisciplinary problem solving sets different requirements for interactional and integrational expertise and discuss the implications for science and engineering programs in higher education.