Health research is often bounded by disciplinary expertise. While cross-disciplinary collaborations are often forged, the analysis of data which draws on more than one discipline at the same time is underexplored. Life of Breath, a 5-year project funded by the Wellcome Trust to understand the clinical, historical and cultural phenomenology of the breath and breathlessness, brings together an interdisciplinary team, including medical humanities scholars, respiratory clinicians, medical anthropologists, medical historians, cultural theorists, artists and philosophers. While individual members of the Life of Breath team come together to share ongoing work, collaborate and learn from each other’s approach, we also had the ambition to explore the feasibility of integrating our approaches in a shared response to the same piece of textual data. In this article, we present our pluralistic, interdisciplinary analysis of an excerpt from a single cognitive interview transcript with a patient with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We discuss the variation in the responses and interpretations of the data, why research into breathlessness may particularly benefit from an interdisciplinary approach, and the wider implications of the findings for interdisciplinary research within health and medicine.
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Contributors All authors responded to the data from their disciplinary perspective. The lead author wrote the first draft with comments by coauthors.
Funding This study was funded by the Wellcome Trust (grant no. 103340).
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Ethics approval NRES Ethics approval was granted 10 November 2015 (Research Ethics Committee Reference: 15/EM/0478).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request.
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