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Unit information: Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Design in 2018/19

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Unit name Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Design
Unit code GEOGM0015
Credit points 15
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Lucas
Open unit status Not open



Students will combine this unit with one of four pathway-specific units (one for each interdisciplinary pathway) and relevant research training in quantitative and qualitative methods. The pathway units are Contemporary Debates in Sustainable Futures, Global transformations: Issues and Trajectories, Contemporary Debates in Lifestyle Behaviours and Public Health and Conceptual Issues in Security, Conflict, and Human Rights.

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


The module will fulfil the ESRC requirement for training in core research design, collection and analysis skills by addressing the on the ground characteristics and challenges of doing interdisciplinary research. On completion of the module students will be able to critically assess concepts such as interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. They will have an acquired knowledge and practical skills of how a range of research methods can be integrated in an ethically sound manner to examine interdisciplinary problems, and will have developed an appreciation of the importance of pertinent inter-disciplinary thinking.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Understand and communicate the complexities of defining and describing interdisciplinary research.
  • Appreciate the inherent and necessary interdisciplinarity of studying contemporary social science issues.
  • Demonstrate analytical and conceptual skills in their research design and written work.
  • Utilise relevant critical skills for the evaluation of evidence.
  • Address interdisciplinary problems from a range of social science perspectives.
  • Understand the ethical aspects of interdisciplinary research.
  • Demonstrate good communications skills when presenting to an interdisciplinary audience.
  • Demonstrate lateral, critical and analytical reasoning
  • Plan and implement applied research projects.

Teaching details

This module will be delivered in three face-to-face one day sessions at three of the partner institutions.

Assessment Details

Formative: development of a group presentation

Summative: Assignment of 3,000 words. (100%)

Reading and References

A course reader will be made available via Blackboard (or equivalent VLE) as the literature in this area is expansive. Indicative resources include:

Barry, A., Born, G. and Weszkalnys, G. (2008) Logics of interdisciplinarity. Economy and Society, 37(1): 20-49. Collins, H. and R. Evans (2002) The Third Wave of Science Studies: Studies of Expertise and Experience. Sage, London. Delanty, G. (2001) Challenging knowledge. The university in the knowledge society. Society for Research into Higher Education and Oxford University Press, Buckingham. Etzkowitz, H. and L. Leydesdorff (2000) The dynamics of innovation: from national systems and Mode 2 to a triple helix of university-industry-government relations. Research Policy 29, 10923. Nowotny, P. Scott and M. Gibbons (2001) Re-Thinking Science: Knowledge and the Public in an Age of Uncertainty. Polity Press, Cambridge. Repko, A. (2008) Interdisciplinary Research: Process and theory. Sage, London. Report of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences (1996) Open the Social Sciences. Stanford University Press, Stanford.

Taylor, P. J. (1996) Embedded statism and the social sciences: opening up to new spaces. Environment and Planning A 28, 191728. Weingert, P. and N. Stehr (2000) Practising Interdisciplinarity. University of Toronto Press, Toronto