A transdisciplinary approach to protocol development for tobacco control research: A case study

Melissa A. Clark, Michelle L. Rogers, Julie Boergers, Christopher W. Kahler, Susan Ramsey, Frances M. Saadeh, David B. Abrams, Stephen L. Buka, Raymond Niaura, Suzanne M. Colby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The increasing complexity of scientific problems related to lifestyle risk factors has prompted substantial investments in transdisciplinary or team science initiatives at the biological, psychosocial, and population levels of analysis. To date, the actual process of conducting team science from the perspectives of investigators engaged in it has not been well documented. We describe the experience of developing and implementing data collection protocols using the principles of transdisciplinary science. The New England Family Study Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Center was a 10-year collaboration involving more than 85 investigators and consultants from more than 20 disciplines as well as more than 50 research staff. We used a two-phase process in which all the study personnel participated in the developing and testing of 160 instruments. These instruments were used in 4,378 assessments with 3,501 participants. With substantial effort, it is possible to build a team of scientists from diverse backgrounds that can develop a set of instruments using a shared conceptual approach, despite limited or no experience working together previously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-440
Number of pages10
JournalTranslational behavioral medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cooperative behavior
  • Interdisciplinary communication
  • Team science
  • Tobacco
  • Transdisciplinary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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