Interdisciplinary Analysis

Purpose Demonstrate understanding of Repko’s Broad Model (as explained in the Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies, Chapters 10-12, and Appendix D).

Task Use the Broad Model to analyze a scholarly article that purports to show an interdisciplinary approach to solving a problem.

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Outcome Produce a coherently written, concise paper (average 4-6 pages, but could be longer) that analyzes the interdisciplinarity of an academic article according to Repko’s Broad Model. 1” margins, no cover page, 12-point font, double spaced. APA or MLA format is fine, but be sure to be consistent. A portion of your grade will be based on writing mechanics (grammar, spelling, overall flow, etc).

The Article to be Analyzed I suggest using “School Violence Beyond Columbine: A Complex Problem in Need of an Interdisciplinary Analysis” by Stuart Henry, but if there is another article that speaks to you, you are welcome to use it with my prior approval.

The recommended article can be found at: http://www.academia.edu/2648850/School_Violence_Beyond_Columbine_A_Complex_Problem_in_Need_of_an_Interdisciplinary_Analysis

Assignment Specifics Repko’s Broad Model Rubric is offered below, along with Introduction and Conclusion recommendations.

Please separate the paper into eight sections (one for each of the steps plus the introduction and conclusion). Each section should be labeled. Each of the substeps (1.1, 1.2, etc) should be answered with evidence provided if applicable. The paper should not be a list of answers to questions, but rather a thoughtfully written paragraph-based piece with a list of references (if used) at the end.

Introduction: In 200-250 words, please:

summarize the article
describe the basic premises behind interdisciplinarity, and
discuss Repko’s approach to interdisciplinary research.
Step 1: Define the problem or state the research question. Criteria: Introduces the problem or research question that is the subject of study and states the purpose or objective of the study.

Does the author define the problem or state the research question in a way that is appropriate to interdisciplinary study? Where?
Does the author clearly define the scope of the study? How?
In the statement of problem or research question, does the author avoid the three tendencies that run counter to interdisciplinary process: disciplinary bias, jargon and personal bias? Yes or No. If no, which tendency is apparent and how is it evident?
Does the author answer the “so what” question? If yes, summarize the author’s points. If no, provide an answer to what the author could have presented here.
Step 2: Justify using an interdisciplinary approach. Criteria: Explains why the problem or research question requires using an interdisciplinary approach.

2.1 Does the author state that the problem or research question is complex and explain what this means? Where and how?

2.2 Does the author state or imply that there are important insights into the problem offered by two or more disciplines? If so, where? If not, create a statement to fit this essay.

2.3 Does the author state or imply that no single discipline has been able to address the problem comprehensively? If so, where? If not, create a statement to fit this essay.

2.4 Does the author state that the study addresses an important and as yet unresolved issue concerning nature or society? If so, where? If not, create a statement to fit this essay.

Step 3: Identify relevant disciplines. Criteria: Identifies the disciplines potentially relevant to the problem or research question and then reduces these to those that are most relevant.

3.1 Does the author identify the disciplines potentially relevant to the problem? If so, which ones specifically? If not, suggest at least 3 others to be considered.

3.2 Does the author narrow these to those that are most relevant and explain the basis for doing so? Which ones, and what was the basis? If not, how could this cause problems for the author?

Step 4: Conduct a literature search. Criteria: Identifies insights from two or more disciplines, confirming that they are most relevant to the problem.

4.1 Create a table to show how the author reports that the literature search confirms the identity of the disciplines and their insights that are most relevant to the problem. The table should include the name of the disciplines and a brief list of relevant insights corresponding to the disciplines.

Step 5: Critically analyze the disciplinary insights into the problem and locate their sources of conflict. Criteria: Identifies the key elements of insights and locates their sources of conflict.

5.1 Does the author identify the key elements of the most important disciplinary insights into the problem? Explain the type of elements that could be identified and specifically list which ones were identified by the author.

5.2 Does the author identify both the sources of conflict and/or agreement between the insights? If so, where? If not, why is this necessary?

5.3 Does the author map or compile a table that sets out how the insights from contributing disciplines are interconnected or fit together? If so, where? If the author did not, create a table using insights listed in the article.

Step 6: Reflect on how using an interdisciplinary approach has enlarged your understanding of the problem. Criteria: Reflects on how interdisciplinary process has enlarged your understanding of the problem.

6.1 Does the author explain how an interdisciplinary approach challenged his/her bias on the problem? If so, where?

6.2 Does the author explain how an interdisciplinary approach has influenced his/her perception of disciplinary expertise? If so, where?

6.3 Does the author explain how an interdisciplinary approach has enlarged his/her understanding of the problem as a whole? If so, where?

6.4 Does the author explain how an interdisciplinary approach is applicable beyond the classroom? If so, where?

Conclusion: In 200-250 words, reflect on this analysis, incorporating answers to the following items:

Evaluating the sources at the end of the article, discuss the variety of perspectives seen (within disciplines and between disciplines) and the quality of literature used.
State whether or not the solution or suggestion presented in the article is truly interdisciplinary (rather than multidisciplinary or disciplinary), based on what has been covered in your readings this semester. If the article is an interdisciplinary work, then defend it; if not, explain why not.
What have you learned about the differences between disciplinary and interdisciplinary research?

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