Mapping the Landscape of Water and Society Research: Promising Combinations of Compatible and Complementary Disciplines

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 1 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.


Download Preprint


Marc F Müller , Maria Rusca, Leonardo Bertassello, Ellis Adams, Maura Allaire, Violeta Cabello-Villarejo, Morgan Levy, Jenia Mukherjee, Yadu Pokhrel


Coupled human-water systems (CHWS) are diverse and have been studied across a wide variety of disciplines. Integrating multiple disciplinary perspectives on CHWS provides a comprehensive and actionable understanding of these complex systems. While interdisciplinary integration has often remained elusive, specific combinations of disciplines might be comparably easier to integrate (compatible) and/or their combination might be particularly likely to uncover previously unobtainable insights (complementary). This paper systematically identifies such promising combinations by mapping disciplines along a common set of topical, philosophical and methodological dimensions. It also identifies key challenges and lessons for multidisciplinary research teams seeking to integrate highly promising (complementary) but poorly compatible disciplines. Applied to eight disciplines that span the environmental physical sciences and the quantitative and qualitative social sciences, we found that promising combinations of disciplines identified by the typology broadly reproduce patterns of recent interdisciplinary collaborative research revealed by a bibliometric analysis. We also found that some disciplines are centrally located within the typology by being compatible and complementary to multiple other disciplines along distinct dimensions. This points to the potential for these disciplines to act as catalysts for wider interdisciplinary integration.



Environmental Education, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Studies, Geographic Information Sciences, Human Geography, Hydraulic Engineering, Hydrology, Natural Resource Economics, Natural Resources Management and Policy, Physical and Environmental Geography, Spatial Science, Sustainability, Water Resource Management



Published: 2023-10-13 12:49

Last Updated: 2023-10-13 19:49


CC-BY Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International