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Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies

Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies

Third Edition

November 2019 | 464 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies provides a comprehensive introduction to interdisciplinary studies with an approach that is - conceptual and practical. Completely updated to reflect advances in the literature on research, learning, and assessment, the book describes the role of both disciplines and interdisciplinarity within the academy, and how these have evolved. Authors Allen F. Repko, Rick Szostak, and Michelle Phillips Buchberger effectively show students how to think like interdisciplinarians in order to facilitate their working with topics, complex problems, or themes that span multiple disciplines. 

New to the Third Edition are guiding questions at the start of each chapter, a discussion of the public policy issue of "basic income" as an example at the end of each chapter, application of interdisciplinary techniques in daily life, enhanced discussion of ethical decision-making, and updated examples and references throughout.

FREE SAGE edge online resources gives instructors and students the edge they need to succeed with an array of teaching and learning tools in one easy-to-navigate website.  Learn more.

Part I: Understanding Interdisciplinary Studies
Chapter 1. Interdisciplinary Studies in the Real World
Chapter 1 Objectives  
Chapter 1 Learning Outcomes  
Why Interdisciplinary Studies Matters  
What Is Driving Interdisciplinary Studies Today  
The Academic Benefits of Pursuing an Interdisciplinary Studies Degree  
Interdisciplinary Studies and Your Career Development  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Applications and Exercises  
Chapter 2. The Rise of the Modern Disciplines and Interdisciplinarity
Chapter 2 Objectives  
Chapter 2 Learning Outcomes  
Why the Past Matters  
The Rise of the Modern Disciplines  
The Rise of Interdisciplinarity  
Interdisciplinarity’s Criticism of the Disciplines  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Applications and Exercises  
Chapter 3. Interdisciplinary Studies Defined
Chapter 3 Objectives  
Chapter 3 Learning Outcomes  
Why Definitions Matter  
Defining Interdisciplinary Studies  
Differences Between Disciplinarity, Multidisciplinarity, Interdisciplinarity, and Transdisciplinarity  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Applications and Exercises  
Chapter 4. The Interdisciplinary Studies “Cognitive Toolkit”
Chapter 4 Objectives  
Chapter 4 Learning Outcomes  
How She Did It  
Intellectual Capacities  
Traits and Skills  
Ways to Apply Your Interdisciplinary “Toolkit”  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Applications and Exercises  
Chapter 5. Academic Disciplines
Chapter 5 Objectives  
Chapter 5 Learning Outcomes  
Disciplines and Disciplinarity Defined  
An Integrated Definition of Discipline and Disciplinarity  
The Epistemic, Social, and Organizational Dimensions of Disciplines  
The Concept of Disciplinary Perspective  
The Defining Elements of a Discipline  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Applications and Exercises  
Chapter 6. The “DNA” of Interdisciplinary Studies
Chapter 6 Objectives  
Chapter 6 Learning Outcomes  
Assumptions of Interdisciplinary Studies  
Theories Supportive of Interdisciplinary Studies  
Epistemology of Interdisciplinary Studies  
How Interdisciplinary Studies “Sees”  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Applications and Exercises  
Part II: Thinking Critically about Interdisciplinary Studies
Chapter 7. Thinking Critically About Disciplinary Perspectives
Chapter 7 Objectives  
Chapter 7 Learning Outcomes  
What It Means to Think Critically About Disciplinary Perspectives  
Developing a Sophisticated Conception of Knowledge  
Why Interrogate Disciplinary Perspectives (or Practice Critical Pluralism)  
How Interdisciplinarians Interrogate Disciplinary Perspectives  
Critical Thinking Scenario  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Applications and Exercises  
Chapter 8. Thinking Critically About Disciplinary Insights
Chapter 8 Objectives  
Chapter 8 Learning Outcomes  
Critical Thinking Attitudes  
Categories of Statements  
Critically Analyzing Disciplinary Insights  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Applications and Exercises  
Chapter 9. Thinking Critically About Integration and Its Results
Chapter 9 Objectives  
Chapter 9 Learning Outcomes  
Approaches to Interdisciplinary Integration  
The Broad Model Approach to Integration  
Reflecting on What Was Achieved  
Critical Thinking Scenario  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Applications and Exercises  
Part III: Interdisciplinary Research and Writing
Chapter 10. An Interdisciplinary Research “Road Map”
Chapter 10 Objectives  
Chapter 10 Learning Outcomes  
The Power and Usefulness of Research  
Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Approaches to Research  
The Broad Model of the Interdisciplinary Research Process  
STEP 1: Define the Problem or State the Research Question  
STEP 2: Justify Using an Interdisciplinary Approach  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Applications and Exercises  
Peer Evaluation Activity  
Chapter 11. Identifying Relevant Disciplines and Gathering Information About the Problem
Chapter 11 Objectives  
Chapter 11 Learning Outcomes  
STEP 3: Identify Relevant Disciplines  
STEP 4: Conduct a Literature Search  
The Broad Model Rubric Applied to STEPS 3 and 4  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Critical Thinking Scenario  
Peer Evaluation and Edit Activity  
Chapter 12. Analyzing Insights and Reflecting on Process
Chapter 12 Objectives  
Chapter 12 Learning Outcomes  
STEP 5: Critically Analyze the Disciplinary Insights Into the Problem  
The Broad Model Rubric Applied to STEP 5  
STEP 6: Reflect on How an Interdisciplinary Approach Has Enlarged Your Understanding of the Problem  
Critical Thinking Questions  
Appendix A: Intellectual Autobiography
Appendix B: Student Portfolios and Blogging
Appendix C: Service Learning Internships and Alternative Projects for Nontraditional Students
Appendix D: The Broad Model Rubric: Instructor Version and Sample Student Outline
Appendix E: Answer Key
Glossary of Key Terms
Key features
  • Guiding questions help students understand the purpose of each chapter and provide prompts for class discussions.
  • Application of interdisciplinary techniques in daily life show students the connection to their lives and that the book is valuable beyond academic purposes.
  • Enhanced discussion of ethical decision-making shows students how to cope with ethical disagreement within complex issues facing contemporary society.
  • Closing section on basic income in each chapter shows how the analysis of each chapter builds upon preceding chapters and how to approach a complex issue in detail. 
  • Pedagogical features and activities throughout the book offer students projects that they can perform in order to learn by doing. 


  • Graphics, figures, tables, cartoons, and photographs make complex and unfamiliar concepts clear and understandable.
  • Examples of professional and student work, pictures, and stories (such as the fable of the elephant house) are woven into the narrative.
  • In-text learning aids, including end-of-chapter Critical Thinking Questions, Applications and Exercises, and Critical Thinking Scenarios, help students master the material.
  • Coverage of the Broad Model presents an easy-to-follow step-by-step approach to the interdisciplinary research process, emphasizes the importance of personal reflection, and introduces students to interdisciplinary thinking.
  • Guidance on group or individual projects included in the final three chapters provides easy-to-follow steps for success.

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ISBN: 9781544379401