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Linking scientific disciplines: Hydrology and social sciences

Journal article
Authors R. Seidl
Roland Barthel
Published in Journal of Hydrology
Volume 550
Pages 441-452
ISSN 0022-1694
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 441-452
Language en
Keywords Interdisciplinarity, Hydrology, Social sciences, Survey, Review, Socio-hydrology, interdisciplinary research, transdisciplinary research, water, management, river-basin, challenges, resources, framework, people, health, Engineering, Geology, Water Resources
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Sociology


The integration of interdisciplinary scientific and societal knowledge plays an increasing role in sustain ability science and more generally, in global change research. In the field of water resources, interdisciplinarity has long been recognized as crucial. Recently, new concepts and ideas about how to approach water resources management more holistically have been discussed. The emergence of concepts such as socio-hydrology indicates the growing relevance of connections between social and hydrological disciplines. In this paper, we determine how well social sciences are integrated with hydrological research by using two approaches. First, we conducted a questionnaire survey with a sample of hydrology researchers and professionals (N = 353) to explore current opinions and developments related to interdisciplinary collaboration between hydrologists and social scientists. Second, we analyzed the disciplinary composition of author teams and the reference lists of articles pertaining to the socio-hydrology concept. We conclude that interdisciplinarity in water resources research is on a promising track but may need to mature further in terms of its aims and methods of integration. We find that current literature pays little attention to the following questions: What kind of interdisciplinarity do different scholars want? What are social scientists' preferred roles and knowledge from a hydrology perspective? (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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