integration, philosophy of science, engaged philosophy, engaged philosophy of science, Michigan State University research, research dialogue, team communication, communication and collaboration, collaboration, team science, science of team science, Toolbox Project, Toolbox Dialogue Initiative
page-template-default,page,page-id-22394,page-parent,qode-social-login-1.1.3,qode-restaurant-1.1.1,stockholm-core-2.4,edd-js-none,select-child-theme-ver-1.1,select-theme-ver-9.6,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_menu_,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.10.0,vc_responsive,elementor-default,elementor-kit-22512,elementor-page elementor-page-22394
Title Image


The Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI) is a collective that conducts research in combination with its facilitation of communication and collaboration in cross-disciplinary research and practice. Its research and facilitation efforts form a feedback loop, with the research informing its facilitative outreach, and the outreach informing its research. The result is a dynamic, evidence-based initiative that produces high-quality research in tandem with helpful workshops.

Our Book:

The Toolbox Dialogue Initiative:
The Power of Cross-Disciplinary Practice

This book, inspired by this initiative, describes dialogue-based exercises designed to increase mutual understanding among collaborators so as to enhance the quality and productivity of cross-disciplinary collaboration.

  • Introduces the Toolbox Dialogue method for improving cross-disciplinary collaboration
  • Reviews the theoretical background of cross-disciplinary collaboration and considers the communication and integration challenges associated with such collaboration
  • Describes methods employed in workshop development and implementation
  • Uses various means to examine the effectiveness of team-building exercises

  • Research Working Groups

With 20 affiliated researchers, the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative incubates many diverse research projects exploring the many facets of collaborative team communication. Several projects have cohered into an Integration subgroup, with active involvement by Michael O’Rourke (MSU), Bethany Laursen (MSU), Brian Robinson (Texas A&M-Kingsville), Chad Gonnerman (USI), and Stephen Crowley (BSU). The figure below shows how they interact. Click the button below to learn more!


Concept map of TDI integration research

Concept map of TDI integration research



Learn More

We typically think of virtues as habits of thought or action possessed by an individual that are reliably linked to behavior we value positively. Honesty for example is a habit of both thought and action in which one not only speaks truly but does so in a way that is appropriate to the circumstances. TDI research in this area focuses on two linked questions:


  1. Are there individual level virtues associated with collaboration or teaming? That is, are there habits that reliably support positive team outcomes across the variety of teaming situations or (in contrast) are the circumstances of teaming so various that no single set of stable habits will always support positive team performance?
  2. Are there group level virtues associated with successful collaboration or teaming? Perhaps there are no individual level habits that reliably support successful teaming but there are stable structural features (that is, features of the group as a whole) that do support such outcomes. Would such group level features count as virtues and could they be taught to groups?


This work is at an early stage of development and owes a great deal to the work of Dr. Jeni Cross at Colorado State.


Themes associated with this research can be found in i) presentations at SciTS (2019 – Lansing) and ii) publications (Laursen et al 2020). Please contact Steve Crowley for more information at

  • Publications

We have organized these from newest to oldest, but they can be sorted using one of the following tags:

  • (a) TDI approach – these research products focus on the Toolbox approach;
  • (b) TDI contributions – these products involve a contribution from TDI;
  • (c) TDI theory – these products are theoretical treatments of constructs associated with the work of TDI;
  • (d) Cross-disciplinary (xD) facilitation – these more engaged products are related to the facilitation of complex research and practice.
  • Filter Research
  • All
  • TDI Approach
  • TDI Contributions
  • TDI Theory
  • xD Facilitation