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Interdisciplinary Research

Interdisciplinary Research
Process and Theory

Fourth Edition
Additional resources:

January 2020 | 472 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory offers a comprehensive, systematic presentation of the interdisciplinary decision-making process by drawing on student and professional work from the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and applied fields.

Designed for active learning and problem-based approaches, the Fourth Edition includes expanded discussion of epistemology, creativity within the interdisciplinary research process, confirmation bias and social media, the philosophy of integration, and student work patterns, mapping, and the importance of performing independent research while working through this book. 
Part I About Interdisciplinary Studies and Disciplines
1. Introducing Interdisciplinary Studies
Chapter 1 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 1 Objectives

Defining Interdisciplinary Studies

The Intellectual Essence of Interdisciplinarity

Distinguishing Interdisciplinarity From Multidisciplinarity, Transdisciplinarity, and Integrative Studies

Chapter Summary



2. Introducing the Disciplines and Their Perspectives
Chapter 2 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 2 Objectives

Defining Disciplinary Perspective

How Knowledge Is Typically Reflected in the Organization of the Academy

Categories of Disciplines

Disciplinary Perspectives

Unpacking the Defining Elements of a Discipline’s Perspective

Chapter Summary



Part II Drawing on Disciplinary Insights
3. Beginning the Research Process
Chapter 3 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 3 Objectives

The Integrated Model of the Interdisciplinary Research Process

Key Characteristics of Interdisciplinary Research

STEP 1: Define the Problem or State the Research Question

STEP 2: Justify Using an Interdisciplinary Approach

Chapter Summary



4. Identifying Relevant Disciplines
Chapter 4 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 4 Objectives

Select Potentially Relevant Disciplines

Map the Problem to Reveal Its Disciplinary Parts

Reduce the Number of Potentially Relevant Disciplines to Those That Are Most Relevant

Chapter Summary



5. Conducting the Literature Search
Chapter 5 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 5 Objectives

Meaning of Literature Search

Reasons for Conducting the Literature Search

Special Challenges Confronting Interdisciplinarians

The Initial Literature Search

The Full-Scale Literature Search

Chapter Summary



6. Developing Adequacy in Relevant Disciplines
Chapter 6 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 6 Objectives

The Meaning of Adequacy

Develop Adequacy in Theories

Develop Adequacy in Disciplinary Methods

Use and Evaluate Disciplinary Methods in Basic Research

Provide In-Text Evidence of Disciplinary Adequacy

Chapter Summary



7. Analyzing the Problem and Evaluating Insights
Chapter 7 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 7 Objectives

Analyze the Problem From Each Discipline’s Perspective

Evaluate the Insights Produced by Each Discipline

Checklist for Evaluating Previous Research

Chapter Summary



Part III Integrating Insights
8. Understanding Integration
Chapter 8 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 8 Objectives

What Interdisciplinary Integration Is

The Controversy Concerning Integration

Integration in the Broad Model

Questions Raised by This Discussion of Integration

Chapter Summary



9. Identifying Conflicts Among Insights and Their Sources
Chapter 9 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 9 Objectives

Identify Conflicting Insights

Locate Sources of Conflict Among Insights

Communicate Your Research to the Appropriate Audience

Chapter Summary


10. Creating Common Ground Among Insights: Concepts and/or Assumptions
Chapter 10 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 10 Objectives

About Interdisciplinary Common Ground

Create Common Ground Among Conflicting Concepts and/or Assumptions

Chapter Summary



11. Creating Common Ground Among Insights: Theories
Chapter 11 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 11 Objectives

Defining Disciplinary Theory

Models, Variables, Concepts, and Causal Relationships

Create Common Ground Among Theories

When Theories Differ Only Minimally

Chapter Summary



12. Constructing a More Comprehensive Understanding or Theory
Chapter 12 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 12 Objectives

Definition of “More Comprehensive Understanding”

Construct the More Comprehensive Understanding From Modified Concepts and/or Assumptions

Construct a More Comprehensive Theory From a Modified Theory

Chapter Summary



13. Reflecting on, Testing, and Communicating the Understanding or Theory
Chapter 13 Learning Outcomes

Chapter 13 Objectives

Reflect on the More Comprehensive Understanding or Theory

Test the Quality of Interdisciplinary Work

Test the More Comprehensive Understanding

Communicate the Results of Integration

Chapter Summary





Instructor Resource Site
Password-protected Instructor Resources include editable, chapter-specific Microsoft® PowerPoint® slides to offer you complete flexibility in easily creating a multimedia presentation for your course and highlight essential content and features. Tables and figures pulled directly from the book are available for you to add to course materials at your convenience.  

“In this Fourth Edition, Repko and Szostak have gone further to de-mystify the interdisciplinary research process. By providing students with guiding study questions within each chapter, adding extended advice on how to choose a complex research question, and illustrating that many of the strategies outlined in this text can be applied beyond the academy, they are more responsive to the needs of both professors and students.”

Charles R. Hamilton
Texas A&M University, Central Texas

“Repko and Szostak’s text remains a vital guide to interdisciplinary inquiry, with clear accounts of an ideal progression from initial idea through completed project. While oriented to all levels from undergraduates to professional scholars, the book ably serves as a text for doctoral students; it has helped them achieve profound contributions. The current edition expands on instruction regarding literature searches and research questions, while encouraging students to rely on their own creativity as novel approaches are conceived and interpretations of findings sought.”

Carol Barrett
Union Institute & University and Saybrook University

"The Fourth Edition of Interdisciplinary Research offers improved clarity and usability, particularly for undergraduate researchers. Guiding questions at the beginning of each chapter encourage readers to remain focused, and newly incorporated examples of relevant, recent research demonstrate that interdisciplinary perspectives have the power to help us understand and shape the world around us—including people, policies, and even public spaces—for the better.”

Anissa J. Sorokin
Stevenson University

“The revised edition of Interdisciplinary Research is timely and well received! Literature on interdisciplinary research has increased and developed to include a synthesis theory and practice from around the world. This book is recommended for undergraduate and graduate students and those involved in interdisciplinary research. Instructors using this as a primary or supplemental text will find the pedagogical revisions helpful in challenging students to engage with the interdisciplinary research process. I highly recommend it.”

Marcus Tanner
Texas Tech University

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Allen F. Repko

Allen F. Repko, PhD, is the former director of the interdisciplinary studies program in the School of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he developed and taught the program’s core curriculum for many years. The program is one of the largest in the United States. Repko has written extensively on all aspects of interdisciplinary studies, has twice served as coeditor of the interdisciplinary journal Issues in Integrative Studies, and has served on the board of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS). More About Author

Richard Szostak

Rick Szostak, PhD, is professor and chair of economics at the University of Alberta, where he has taught for 34 years. He is the author of a dozen books and 50 articles, all of an interdisciplinary nature. Several of his publications address how to do interdisciplinary research, teach interdisciplinary courses, administer interdisciplinary programs, or organize information in order to facilitate interdisciplinarity. As an associate dean, he created the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Alberta, the Science, Technology and Society program, an individualized major, and two courses about interdisciplinarity. He has... More About Author

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