Date of Award

December 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Information Studies

First Advisor

Richard P. Smiraglia

Committee Members

Dietmar Wolfram, Iris Xie, Margaret EI Kipp, Rick Szostak


Alternative and tailored metrics, Informetrics, Interdisciplinarity, Natural language processing, Science of science


This study examined the transdisciplinary area of cognitive science, and was framed around the sociological notion of the boundary object. Harmonizing theoretical and technical approaches, methods introduced in this work moved beyond qualitative study practices traditional to boundary object theory work to a mixed-methods data-driven approach. Bibliometric Web of Science data, enriched with National Science Foundation (NSF) journal classifications, formed the foundation from which a seed-and-expand dataset were created from journals containing the string cogni* and their cited articles for the years 2006-2016. This two-tiered dataset allowed for the analysis of boundary-spanning interdisciplinary concepts, as identified by noun phrases, and their inhabitance within the intellectual space of the NSF taxonomy. The most interdisciplinary concepts were analyzed for their conceptual periphera using term co-occurrences, and the underlying sociological structures of co-authorship. Two concepts met the criterion of publication in all six core-level NSF disciplines resulted in two for this analysis: ``children's," and ``case study." Clearer clusters of term co-occurrences were present for ``children's" than were for ``case study," demonstrating the conceptual periphera. The underlying social structures for ``children's" were more interconnected than those for ``case study." The findings of this study suggest that different types of research problems, in conjunction with the methodology used to explore them, may be more useful to pinpoint boundary-inhabiting interdisciplinary epistemologies and other conceptual phenomena than the examination of broadly defined boundary-spanning concepts alone.