How is interdisciplinary research different?
How can you do truly interdisciplinary research, when most research sources are discipline-specific? Most of us learn to do research within a discipline, but you need to become adequate in multiple disciplines for this course.
- Determine which disciplinary methods you will use- to know WHERE to search and how to use what you find.
- Look in a specialized encyclopedia to get background information on research methods for a specific discipline. For an econ related topic, you could use An encyclopedia of macroeconomics.
- Become conversant with the terminology of all relevant disciplines- to know HOW to search [i.e., which words to use as search terms]
- look in a specialized encyclopedia to learn the terminology of a specific discipline. For a public policy related topic you could refer to Health care policy and politics A to Z
- Understand what kinds of sources are considered legitimate by those disciplines- to know WHAT to search for.
- specialized encyclopedia will probably have an essay on methods of research that will explain what sources are appropriate.
- Learn what kinds of research questions are valid in the disciplines you are working with.
- Reading other research articles in the discipline is the best way to learn about what questions are considered valid.
Find specialized encyclopedias for your disciplines:
- Open Oskicat
- Type encyclopedias and a word or phrase describing your topic, such as development
- See what comes up.
- If that doesn't work, try typing handbooks and a word or phrase describing your topic such as organizational behavior
- If that doesn't work, ask a librarian.
Read more about doing interdisciplinary research. An excellent book is Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory by Allen Repko