Collaboration and team science: a field guide

Practical guidance is provided on collaboration in research teams.

The toolkit is divided into nine sections, each covering the following:

  • How to… (eg., how to foster trust).
  • Ask yourself: is it working? (Under this question tips are provided for identifying successes and failures, illustrated by case studies, along with take-away messages.)

Preparing to Collaborate: This introductory section reviews issues relevant both to participating in and leading a research team; describes the importance of mentorship; lays out the value of self-reflection, understand ing personality types, and recognising the impact of emotions; and provides tips for resolving conflict and receiving feedback from others. Links are provided to three specific tools: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to understand personality types, Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instru ment, and 360-degree evaluations for receiving feedback from others.

Building a Research Team: Provides tips for interviewing new team members to ascertain their approach to collaborations though assessment of values, performance, and behaviour. A link is provided to the Model of Group Development, which lays out five stages of group evolution.

Fostering Trust: Provides information about two types of trust (calculus-based and identification-based) and creating the foundation for trust,including a template for developing a collaborative agreement.

Developing a Shared Vision: Provides four key questions.

Communicating about Science: Compares dialogue with debate in discussing data, interpreting results, and other aspects of research communication.

Sharing Recognition and Credit: Criteria for evaluating contributions are provided.

Handling Conflict: Provides tips about listening, principled negotiation, and “adversarial scientific collaboration”.

Strengthening Team Dynamics: Reviews factors that prevent the development of a strong team, evaluation of relationships and performance, tips for keeping a positive mood.

Navigating and Leveraging Networks and Systems: Includes suggestions for understanding a team as a social system.

Reference: Bennett, L. M., Gadlin, H., Levine-Finley, S. (2010). Collaboration & Team Science: A Field Guide. National Institutes of Health Publication No. 10-7660, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Unites States of America. Full text online at: or the splash page for the resources is at:;jsessionid=C5274DF9E1BFEFC93E155E121C27BDD4

Digital Poster: Bennett, L. M., Levine-Finley, S. and Gadlin, H. (2013). Collaboration and team science: a field guide, digital poster #613, from the First Global Conference on Research Integration and Implementation Canberra, Australia, online and at co-conferences in Germany, the Netherlands and Uruguay, 8-11 September, 2013. You can access this digital poster as a powerpoint presentation or pdf:

Posted: November 2014
Last modified: July 2016

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