A new transdisciplinary research model to investigate and improve the health of the public

Helen Pineo*, Eleanor R. Turnbull, Michael Davies, Mike Rowson, Andrew C. Hayward, Graham Hart, Anne M. Johnson, Robert W. Aldridge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Transdisciplinary research approaches are being applied to today's complex health problems, including the climate crisis and widening inequalities. Diverse forms of disciplinary and experiential knowledge are required to understand these challenges and develop workable solutions. We aimed to create an updated model reflective of the strengths and challenges of current transdisciplinary health research that can be a guide for future studies. We searched Medline using terms related to transdisciplinary, health and research. We coded data deductively and inductively using thematic analysis to develop a preliminary model of transdisciplinary research. The model was tested and improved through: (i) a workshop with 27 participants at an international conference in Xiamen, China and (ii) online questionnaire feedback from included study authors. Our revised model recommends the following approach: (i) co-learning, an ongoing phase that recognizes the distributed nature of knowledge generation and learning across partners; (ii) (pre-)development, activities that occur before and during project initiation to establish a shared mission and ways of working; (iii) reflection and refinement to evaluate and improve processes and results, responding to emergent information and priorities as an ongoing phase; (iv) conceptualization to develop goals and the study approach by combining diverse knowledge; (v) investigation to conduct the research; (vi) implementation to use new knowledge to solve societal problems. The model includes linear and cyclical processes that may cycle back to project development. Our new model will support transdisciplinary research teams and their partners by detailing the necessary ingredients to conduct such research and achieve health impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-492
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
R.W.A. is supported by a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship (206602/Z/17/Z). This research was also conducted with funding from the Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health project (Wellcome Trust grant 209387/Z/17/Z) led by M.D.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press.


  • methodology
  • public health
  • research process
  • transdisciplinary


Dive into the research topics of 'A new transdisciplinary research model to investigate and improve the health of the public'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this