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About the Summit

The Roadmap Interdisciplinary Methodology and Technology Summit was convened at the Marriott Bethesda North Hotel and Conference Center, Rockville, Maryland, on August 21–22, 2006. Approximately 75 leading methodologists and technological development experts from academia, government, and nongovernmental organizations participated in the event. The general public is invited to view the archived videocast of the Summit (see links below). Breakout sessions conducted during the afternoon of August 22, 2006 are not included in the videocast.

Copies of selected slide presentations are available upon request. Contact Patricia L. Mabry Ph.D. at mabryp@od.nih.gov.

Summit Purpose

A major purpose of the Summit was to showcase work under two NIH Roadmap initiatives: NIH RFA RM 04-013 Supplements for methodological innovations in the behavioral and social sciences and RFA RM 04-014, Meetings and networks for methodological development in interdisciplinary research. Principal Investigators funded by these initiatives were invited to attend the Summit, and some presented their work in oral sessions at the Summit.

A second major purpose of the Summit was to identify the gaps and opportunities in developing research methodology and technology that lies at the intersection of behavioral and social sciences and other disciplines.

Within the context of this Summit, “Methodology” refers to data collection, measures development, study design, and analysis. Analytic areas and challenges discussed at the meeting included: large complex data sets, multilevel approaches, intergenerational approaches, economics/econometrics, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and neighborhood data, Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), and combining qualitative and quantitative approaches were topics that were also featured. There was also some discussion of technological advances in other disciplines that might be capitalized on by behavioral and social sciences.

The core purpose of the NIH Roadmap is “to identify major opportunities and gaps in biomedical research that no single institute at NIH could tackle alone but that the agency as a whole must address, to make the biggest impact on the progress of medical research.” The Summit was designed to address this core purpose. Another important feature of the Summit was its focus on interdisciplinarity. An interdisciplinary approach to conducting research is required to tackle the complex problems facing behavioral and social scientists as they attempt to solve the most challenging health problems of our time. Like multidisciplinary research, interdisciplinary research brings together different disciplines to address a particular issue. But unlike multidisciplinary research, interdisciplinary research takes bits and pieces from the contributing disciplines and integrates them in ways that produce a new conceptual framework.

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