Ecosystem management (EM) is a process for addressing environmental problems. It draws on research from multiple disciplines in order to ensure long-term maintenance of socio-ecological systems. The present study evaluates the definition of interdisciplinary work among researchers involved in generating data use (EM). The goal is twofold: to generate further discussions in research supporting EM, and to better situate this research in the broader context of interdisciplinary science. Using an online questionnaire, data was collected from 119 researchers. A cluster analysis identified both distinct and shared understandings of the concept. A logistic regression analysis identified the extent to which personal characteristics and researchers’ understandings of interdisciplinary theory determine definitions of interdisciplinary work. Researchers differ on the terminology but share an understanding about what it is: both a ‘way to do research’ and a ‘way of thinking about research’. Differences between researchers suggest a growing interest in developing deeper engagements with theoretical discussions of interdisciplinarity. Results are discussed in the context of the current state of development of research for EM and its contributions to sustainability.