Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Louise Wetherbee Phelps

Committee Member

Holly Gaff

Committee Member

Daniel Richards

Committee Member

Julia Romberger


Funding agencies are increasingly soliciting proposals that require interdisciplinary and collaborative solutions for a scientific issue. The development of these research proposals is challenging and often problematic due to the complexity involved in integrating the differing characteristics of multiple disciplines to produce a single, cohesive document. Minimal research has been conducted to examine this collaborative process as it occurs. This study uses the concept of boundary objects as a framework to analyze an interdisciplinary and collaborative team during the development of a research proposal. Multiple methods were used to identify disciplinary differences and analyze their negotiations. This study delineated disciplinary differences and highlighted the need for increased disciplinary awareness to improve the collaborative process. The findings also suggested that funding agencies need to modify solicitation and review processes to accommodate interdisciplinary proposals.