Team Research glossary

This glossary provides brief definitions and explanations of common terms associated with Team Research.

Team Research

“A collaborative effort to address a common goal using the strengths and expertise of a diverse team where contributions of all team members are encouraged, acknowledged, recognised and valued.” (1)

Team Science

A new interdisciplinary field that empirically provides a better understanding of how teams connect and collaborate to achieve scientific breakthroughs that would not be attainable by individual efforts.

As described in the Collaboration and team science: field guide, many factors, such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence, trust, shared vision, communication, effective leadership, mentoring and conflict management have been identified as necessary to build successful partnerships among team members (2). For more information, please visit the Wikipedia ‘Science of team science’ webpage.


The fact of involving two or more different subjects or areas of knowledge. These can include the following ways of working:

  • Multidisciplinary
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Transdisciplinary

Multidisciplinary working is where disciplines work alongside each other and coordinate around objects or themes of interest (classic example is multidisciplinary medical teams who do not need to know each other’s approaches to a patient and thus physiotherapy, medicine, nursing and pathology/histology) can all work alongside one another. (3)

Defining characteristics: juxtaposing, sequencing, coordinating


Interdisciplinary working is where disciplines integrate combining methods or theories to produce new ways of doing things. For example, synthetic biology involves biologists, chemists, engineers, computer scientists, and others, to approach biological entities with particular goals of modularisation, abstraction and decoupling design and manufacture of new organisms. (3)

Defining characteristics: integrating, interacting, linking, focusing, blending


Transdisciplinary working means to transcend disciplinary boundaries often by incorporating knowledge from beyond the academe (and this is a European way to clearly distinguish trans- from inter-). (3)

Defining characteristics: transcending, transgressing, transforming

A taxonomy of Interdisciplinarity: (3)

Translational research

Generally associated with health science research. ‘Translational research is the process by which basic scientific research is translated into patient-focused research that improves healthcare and wellbeing within society’. (4) 

Team processes

The means by which team members marshal and coordinate their individual resources – cognitive, affective, and behavioural – to meet task demands necessary for collective goal accomplishment. (5)


(Adjective) dealing with or treating the whole of something or someone and not just a part. (6)


Knotworking is introduced as a new idea and an emerging practice for enhancing collaboration across organisational and team boundaries. Knotworking refers to co-located ‘knots’ that are organised on a temporary basis to solve a specific task, a problem or an open question requiring multi-disciplinary expertise in a project. (7)


Teamwork combines the individual efforts of all team members to achieve a goal. Teamwork is usually overseen by a team leader, and those within a team are delegated individual tasks to complete to contribute towards the team’s end goal. (8)


Collaboration is, by definition, something you cannot do on your own. The word ‘collaboration’ is derived from the Latin word ‘collaborare’- literally ‘to work together’. (9)


Co-opetition is a particular form of collaboration between competing organisations or businesses [16]. Literally a mix of co-operation and competition, this form of collaboration is a type of strategic alliance that changes the rules of competition to move from a zero-sum game to a plus-sum game. (10)

Ontology (countable & non-countable noun)

A list of concepts and categories in a subject area that shows the relationships between them. (11)

A branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of existence. (11)

Glossary references
  1. Pankhurst Institute website – The University of Manchester Team Research Programme. Co-created by the Manchester Team Research Community, 2023.
  2. Harvard Macy Institute. 8 October 2018. Deploy team science principles to mend “silos” in academic medicine. Written by Darshana Shah, PhD
  3. Klein, J. T. (2010). A taxonomy of interdisciplinarity. In R. Frodeman, J. Thompson Klein, and C. Mitcham (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of interdisciplinarity (pp. 15-30). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. Translation Manchester website, Translational research support in Manchester, The University of Manchester
  5. From: Committee on the Science of Team Science; Board on Behavioural, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences; Division of Behavioural and Social Sciences and Education; National Research Council; Cooke NJ, Hilton ML, editors. Enhancing the Effectiveness of Team Science. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015 Jul 15. 3, Overview of the Research on Team Effectiveness. Available from NIH National Library of Medicine.
  7. Hannele Kerosuo, BIM-based Collaboration Across Organizational and Disciplinary Boundaries Through Knotworking, Procedia Economics and Finance, Volume 21, 2015, Pages 201-208, ISSN 2212-5671,
  8. Annette Bramley, Liz Ogilvie. Research Collaboration: A Step-by-step Guide to Success [Internet]. Bristol: Institute of Physics Publishing; 2021 [cited 2023 Jul 10]. (IOP eBooks). Section 1.4.1 Chapter 1
  9. Annette Bramley, Liz Ogilvie. Research Collaboration: A Step-by-step Guide to Success [Internet]. Bristol: Institute of Physics Publishing; 2021 [cited 2023 Jul 10]. (IOP eBooks). Section 1.3 Chapter 1
  10. Annette Bramley, Liz Ogilvie. Research Collaboration: A Step-by-step Guide to Success [Internet]. Bristol: Institute of Physics Publishing; 2021 [cited 2023 Jul 10]. (IOP eBooks). Section 1.5.1 Chapter 1
  11. Ontology noun – Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary at