System thinking is defined as the analytical skills that allow one to dissect an issue, discover its internal and external variables, determine its relationships to one another and the situation at hand, and decide which aspects various fields of study focus on (Repko et al., 2019). Systems thinking are essential to interdisciplinary studies since it allows students to see the relationship between the disciplinary aspects of the issue and the problem as a whole. Through systems thinking, students can identify and evaluate ideas about when and where to interfere in the system after comprehending its dynamics.
Integrative thinking is among the distinguishing characteristics of interdisciplinary learning. It is the ability to weave together knowledge from various sources to arrive at a more holistic understanding or formulate a novel interpretation (Repko et al., 2019). Integrative thinking is crucial to interdisciplinary studies because it removes our natural tendency to lose sight of the broader picture by adopting entrenched views or opting for substandard compromises. Integrative thinking does not adopt one answer while making a few concessions to the other point.
When referring to natural eyesight, tunnel vision refers to the condition in which the eye can only concentrate on a limited portion of the surrounding field of view, with the remainder of the field of view far beyond the lens appearing unfocused or fuzzy. The concept of tunnel vision is essential to interdisciplinary studies since it enables specialists to pay attention solely to the problem known to them rather than focusing on another part of the problem that lies outside the specialist’s area of competence (Repko et al., 2019).
Disciplinary reductionism is the method of dividing phenomena into their component elements and studying them independently. The idea is that information acquired by particular specializations may be merged into comprehending the phenomenon as a whole (Repko et al., 2019). Besides, disciplinary reductionism reduces or simplifies complex things to more essential ones. The theory of disciplinary reductionism is vital to interdisciplinary studies because it enables students to understand that if one breaks down a complicated issue, behavior, or object into its parts and studies each of those parts independently, then the information gained from the various specialized fields can be easily integrated into a comprehensive comprehension of the phenomenon being studied.
Multidisciplinarity is defined as the practice of juxtaposing the findings of two or more academic fields without making any effort to unify them. (Repko et al., 2019). When it comes to interdisciplinary studies, taking a multidisciplinary approach is beneficial for several reasons, one of which is that it assists students in developing a more comprehensive view of the world. In place of taking individual departments and the topics they study into consideration in isolation, a multidisciplinary approach brings aspects of each department’s study programs into conversation with those of the other departments.
Personal bias occurs when one allows one’s perspective, such as politics, spiritual tradition, or cultural identification, to color their analysis or decision-making. Selecting resources that support your position while ignoring or dismissing those that oppose it is an example of personal bias (Repko et al., 2019). Besides, any personal bias, regardless of how generous it may be, cannot coexist with high-quality work that draws on several disciplines.
The concept of disciplinary inadequacy refers to the idea that individual academic fields do not have the resources necessary to tackle complex issues in a way that is both comprehensive and holistic, i.e., in a manner that is inclusive of the viewpoints and ideas offered by the many other relevant fields of study (Repko et al., 2019). The concept of disciplinary inadequacy is vital to interdisciplinary studies because it enables learners to understand that disciplines, taken on their own, cannot adequately comprehensively handle complicated issues. Thus, there is a need to incorporate other disciplines to address complex problems comprehensively.
According to the interdisciplinary complexity theory, interdisciplinary research is required whenever a topic or issue consists of several aspects and operates as a system. (Repko et al., 2019).The characteristics of complex systems give a justification for the study of interdisciplinary problems. An investigation into complex systems provides fresh perspectives on the process of interdisciplinary research and lends credence to the fundamental ideas that underpin the most successful multidisciplinary investigations. The unique situation of the arts and humanities is taken into consideration by the interdisciplinary complexity theory. These academic fields focus on analyzing behavior characterized as being distinctive, unique, and individual.
Perspective Taking Theory
The perspective-taking theory includes making inferences about the states of mind of other people, such as their goals, wants, knowledge, and beliefs. This kind of reasoning is required in practically every facet of human interaction. Taking on other people’s perspectives is a critical talent that enables us to grasp other people’s ideas, emotions, and perceptions. The perspective-taking theory is essential to interdisciplinary studies as it allows people to view a problem from other peoples’ points of view hence developing a more comprehensive understanding of the problem.
Depth and Breadth
Depth and breadth are essential guidelines for critically analyzing a disciplinary work. These two concepts capture the conflict that exists between interdisciplinary and disciplinarily (Repko et al., 2019). The whole scope of knowledge on a topic is meant to be included by one’s breadth of learning. The level to which certain subjects are honed, expanded, and investigated is what the term depth of understanding means. There will always be a more excellent range and depth of learning available to pupils as they enhance their knowledge and expertise in any field of study. The concept of depth and breadth is vital to interdisciplinary studies since it enables learners to address broad issues, answer complex questions, solve problems beyond the scope of a single discipline, and explore the relationship between different disciplines.
Logical integrity is the most apparent criterion when critically analyzing a piece of disciplinary work. Arranging an argument’s stages in a list and checking to see whether they all follow logically from one another is a beneficial exercise. A statement may seem more convincing than it is by leaving out supporting evidence or other details. For instance, it is easy to jump from a laundry list of welfare system abuses to conclude that the whole system should be destroyed without first attempting to quantify its advantages and weigh them against its costs (Repko et al., 2019).
Clarity in Research
The clarity in research involves avoiding uncommon references, abbreviations, and jargon. If an author’s statements are unclear, the critical analysis task is difficult, if not impossible. If we want the content to be wholly understood, clarity in research is one of the most critical factors. Therefore, it is best to avoid using dense and abundant language that obscures the author’s primary thoughts in favor of transparent and straightforward, ideally written in the active person, and organized in a manner that makes sense.
Contextualization is a method used by humanists and those working in the fine and performing arts to interweave the subject of their research with the history of culture and their own experiences. The contextualization technique does not standardize the integration process; hence, how it is carried out differs depending on the circumstance (Repko et al., 2019). Approaches to interdisciplinary integration that use contextualization enable humanists to facilitate viewers’ and readers’ ability to draw connections between discipline ideas that are both incredibly creative and far-reaching. This encompasses the sciences when the objective is to embed science into the historical and cultural fabric of time and to bring forth its social responsibility.
Disciplinary jargon is among the three affinities that run counter to interdisciplinary processes. It refers to using specialized terminology and notions not often understood by those outside the discipline. If a technical phrase has to be utilized, then the ideal approach is to redefine the term or concept more broadly or generically so that it may be relevant to each field.
Comprehensive understanding is defined as cognitive progress that occurs as a consequence of integrating discoveries. This leads to producing a brand-new whole that would not be conceivable using the tools of a single discipline (Repko et al., 2019). Comprehensive understanding entails a wide mental range or a firm grip on anything, whether of a specific topic or several issues. Suppose one discipline and its point of view, together with that field’s preferred research methodology, are allowed to dictate the terms of the study. In that case, the understanding will never be comprehensive.
Part 11: Short Essay Questions
Interdisciplinary studies involve at least two scientific, academic, or artistic disciplines. Besides, it permits the synthesis of concepts as well as the synthesis of features drawn from a wide range of fields. While doing so, it takes into account each student’s unique characteristics and contributes to developing essential, marketable talents. Degree programs in interdisciplinary studies integrate two or more traditional academic disciplines into a single, more individualized concentration of study. In contrast to a liberal arts degree, which requires students to study a broad range of topics, an interdisciplinary degree enables students to concentrate their studies on a single topic relevant to more than one academic discipline. The vast majority of interdisciplinarians do not advocate for eliminating specialized disciplines; instead, they recognize and value the significant role that specialization has played in the development of knowledge. They feel that a strictly specialized approach to learning and knowledge creation comes at a very high price, even though the disciplines are valuable for creating, structuring, and applying information. The two criticisms about specialization with the disciplines are that specialization can blind us to the broader context and specialization tends to create tunnel vision (Repko et al., 2019).
To avoid the parochial perspective, which will attach an intensely rigid and limited way of thinking, we must employ the interdisciplinary approach when discussing globalization. This is especially important when considering topics relating to the intensification and expansion of social relations and the concept of space and time. Besides, through an interdisciplinary approach, students will approach global challenges from various viewpoints, allowing them to think about and experience the concepts of a global world from an authentic point of view. As a step toward becoming citizens of the world who are also capable of global thinking, they will investigate and learn about its variety and sustainability. Since I always tend to place side by side the findings of two or more academic fields without making any effort to unify them, I see myself as a multidisciplinarian. Besides, I like working with people from different disciplines, with each participant relying on the expertise of their field. I could make a good multidisciplinarian.
Compared to traditional methods, an interdisciplinary method broadens the scope of what students can learn by enabling them to address issues that cannot be neatly categorized under a single discipline. In addition, it alters how students learn by requiring them to synthesize multiple points of view rather than simply accepting what is presented to them by a teacher at face value. On the contrary, the traditional disciplinary approach involves early establishing rules and guidelines for appropriate conduct. Students get consequences for breaking such standards whenever they do so. It is anticipated that in the future, kids will not engage in inappropriate behavior since they will want to avoid being disciplined once again. The essential components to interrogating perspectives of relevant disciplines include; phenomena which are the elements of human life that have stood the test of time and may be described and explained in academic detail; epistemology which is the philosophical study of justification and knowledge of the truth; assumptions which are the foundational concepts and worldview of the field as a whole. As the name suggests, these principles are generally considered as being at the very heart of what it means to be an academic in that field; a concept that is a linguistic sign that stands for an event or a notion that can be generalized from specific cases; a theory which includes both scientific theory and philosophical theory; methods which cover how one does research, examines data or evidence, evaluates hypotheses, and develops new information (Repko et al., 2019).
A good research question clearly specifies the topic, issue, or behavior pattern to be investigated. In most cases, it is posed as a question; however, declarative statements may also be used to explain the issue that needs to be looked into. A good research question needs a synthesis of various resources, original data, and an interpretation to provide a solution. The solution to the question should not simply be a concise description of the facts; instead, there should be room for you to debate and analyze the results of your investigation. The two qualities of a good research question are; the research question must be complex to solve, and the research question must be researchable from several disciplinary perspectives (Repko et al., 2019). When critically reviewing sources, the following steps should be taken: read the introduction or the abstract and examine the work for images, inflammatory language, or graphic styles likely to provoke anger. Lastly, research related topics by looking for articles, books, and websites.
Repko, A. F., Szostak, R., & Buchberger, M. P. (2019). Introduction to interdisciplinary studies. Sage Publications.