Palma, from 23 to 25 October 2013
Celebrating and Enhancing the Tourism
Knowledge-based Platform: A Tribute to Jafar Jafari

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Thursday 24 October, 2013 15:45 to 16:05 Oral Communication
Multidisciplinary Research In Hospitality And Tourism: What We Should Know By Now
Speaker: Fevzi Okumus, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida
Speaker: Mathilda van Niekerk, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida

Authors: Prof. Fevzi Okumus University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management 9907 Universal Blvd Orlando, Florida, 32819 Email: Tel: (+1) 407 903 8177 Fax: (+1) 407 903 8105 Dr. Mathilda van Niekerk University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management 9907 Universal Blvd Orlando, Florida, 32819 Email: Tel: (+1) 407 903 8052 Fax: (+1) 407 903 8105 Dr. Anil Bilgihan The Ohio State University Department of Consumer Sciences 1781 Neil Ave. Campbell Hall, 115B Columbus, Ohio, 43210 Email: Tel: (+1) 614 292 6219 Fax: (+1) 614 688 8133

The aim of this study is to investigate familiarity of tourism and hospitality scholars with multidisciplinary research. A discipline is defined as a detailed knowledge area with distinct borders, a shared language between academics, prevailing worldviews and widely shared paradigms (Alvargonzalez, 2011; Leavy, 2011). Specialization in one discipline can however blind researchers to the broader context of a research problem and create tunnel vision. It can cause a lack of appreciation of other perspectives and some creative breakthroughs may require knowledge from not only one, but multiple disciplines. A single discipline can therefore seldom address complex research problems and researchers should be encouraged to engage in multidisciplinary research. Multidisciplinary research can be defined as the collaboration that takes place between two or more disciplines on a research project. Each discipline will however maintain its own research methodology, goals, assumptions, values and methods. Autonomy of the disciplines is maintained during the research and integration is restricted to the research results (Choi & Pak, 2007, 2006; Chua & Yang, 2008; Darbellay & Stock, 2012; Leavy, 2011; Pless, 1995; Weiler & Moyle, 2012). Multidisciplinary research offers a slightly broader perspective on traditional research questions than a single discipline based research and can yield better research results. However, what multidisciplinary research really means and how it can be put into practice is not always clear (Janssen & Goldsworthy, 1996). Furthermore, despite its advantages, multidisciplinary research may have certain limitations as it lacks cross-fertilization and close partnership with other disciplines. In other words, the disciplines remain self-contained and there is often a lack of synergy among the outcomes, the outcomes are therefore not greater than the sum of its part. Based on an in-depth literature review of multidisciplinary research (Choi & Pak, 2007, 2006; Chua & Yang, 2008; Darbellay & Stock, 2012; Leavy, 2011; Pless, 1995; Weiler & Moyle, 2012), an online survey was developed. The survey was pilot tested with PhD students and faculty members at one of the biggest hospitality colleges in the USA. An invitation email was then sent to several academic e-mail groups to participate in the study. A total of 445 hospitality and tourism scholars from 193 different countries and 182 higher education institutions participated in the study, with a total of 341 questionnaires that were usable. Descriptive data revealed that 62% of participants were males and 38% females with a normal distribution in age that ranged from 26 years to 65 years. Of all respondents, 35% of them indicated that they had an administrative role at their institution, while 25% were assistant professors, 22% were associate professors and 21% were full professors. Study results indicate that 29% of scholars have published more than 30 articles in their academic career. According to study results, only 40% the participants could define multidisciplinary research correctly. Tourism and hospitality scholars seem to be confused between multidisciplinary research and interdisciplinary research. On the other hand, the participants believe that multidisciplinary research is of a higher quality than research produced within a single discipline. About 63% of them indicated that multidisciplinary research is advantageous and that it could open doors for funding opportunities. However, study results reveal that only 25% engage in some form of multidisciplinary research. Main barriers to engage in multidisciplinary research include that the strong identity of their own discipline, as well as the fact that they seem to feel more comfortable in using methodologies that they are familiar with. Enablers for multidisciplinary research were identified as the possible funding opportunities that exist and possibility of establishing networks with scholars from other fields. The study findings offer theoretical and practical implications. This is perhaps one of the first studies presenting and discussing empirical findings on multidisciplinary research in the tourism and hospitality field. It offers insights on the level of hospitality and tourism scholars’ understanding of multidisciplinary research. This study also offers practical implications in terms of how to train hospitality and tourism scholars to undertake multidisciplinary research. Keywords: tourism, hospitality, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary. REFERENCES Alvargonzalez, D. (2011). Multidisciplinarity, Interdisciplinarity, Transdisciplinarity and the Science. International studies in Philosophy of Science, 25(4): pp. 387-403. Choi, B.C.K. & Pak, W.P.P. (2006). Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity in health research, services, education and policy: 1. Definitions, objectives and evidence of effectiveness. Clin Invest Med, 29(6): pp. 351-364. Choi, B.C.K. & Pak, W.P.P. (2007). Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity in health research, services, education and policy: 2. Promotors, barriers, and strategies of enhancement. Clin Invest Med, 30(6): pp. 224-232. Darbellay, F. & Stock, M. (2012). Tourism as complex interdisciplinary research object. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(1): pp.441-458. Janssen, W., & Goldsworthy, P. (1996). Multidisciplinary research for natural resource management: Conceptual and practical implications. Agricultural Systems, 51(3): pp. 259-279. doi: Leavy, P. (2011). Essentials of transdisciplinary research. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press: Pless, I.B. (1995). Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary are not synonymous. Journal of International Society for child and adolescent injury prevention, 1. pp. 65-66. Weiler, B. & Moyle, B. (2012). Disciplines that influence tourism doctoral research: The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(3): pp.1425-1445.
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Session 3 – Ontologies, epistemologies and disciplinarity (3)
Place: Main Room

Other activities in Session 3 – Ontologies, epistemologies and disciplinarity (3)
16:05 h. to 16:25 h.Oral Communication

Inner and Outer Journeys: Tourism as a Way of Personal Transformation and Growth

Speaker: Marco Antonio Robledo, Universitat de les Illes Balears
16:25 h. to 16:45 h.Oral Communication

Theory and methodology: implications in the construction of the tourism as study object

Speaker: Celeste Nava, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México