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Working Beyond Disciplines - RSS00005M

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  • Department: Research Centre for Social Sciences
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Zoe Handley
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

This module will provide an introduction and overview to interdisciplinary study, and will emphasize the increasing significance of an interdisciplinary approach to research in today's society.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2022-23 to Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

The aims of the module are:

  • To provide students with an introduction to interdisciplinary study and the increasing significance of research that crosses disciplinary boundaries in today's society.
  • To highlight the approaches and practices through which interdisciplinary research can be achieved
  • To engage students in debates and discussions in relation to grand challenges in social sciences across one of seven pathways/themes (Cities, Environment, and Liveability; Security, Conflict and Justice; Education, Childhood, and Youth; Data, Technology, and Communications; Wellbeing, Health, and Communities; Sustainable Growth, Management, and Economic Productivity; Civil Society, Development, and Democracy)
  • To provide students will the opportunity to reflect on the role of interdisciplinary practice in the context of their own research

Module learning outcomes

After completing the module a student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the variety of approaches to interdisciplinary study alongside their theoretical and epistemological foundations
  • Critically evaluate the practical and methodological aspects of interdisciplinary research
  • Demonstrate an understanding of subject-specific and interdisciplinary debates to enable them to identify research challenges at the frontier of their field of specialist interest
  • Apply their understanding of interdisciplinary research to inform the development of their own research projects.
  • Communicate effectively to colleagues the role of interdisciplinarity in the context of their own research

Module content

This module will be based round a series of workshops the will cover the following:

  • an introduction to interdisciplinarity, focusing on the intellectual as well as the practical aspects of conducting interdiscplinary research and the challenges
  • an overview of the key debates on the differences between inter and multi-disciplinary approaches to research and knowledge production
  • an exploration of the grand challenges in themes across the social sciences
  • practical and methodological consideration for interdisciplinary research

The workshops will be co-ordinated by the programme leader in collaboration with the ESRC DTP theme leads.

Students will work individually, and in groups, within and across pathways/themes throughout the workshops.


Task Length % of module mark
Reflective Essay (2000 words)
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Formative work is embedded within the module through the workshops.

The group presentations will focus around the 7 pathways/themes that are central to the ESRC DTP and students will be allocated accordingly by the module leader.

The essay is designed to encourage students to reflect on the role of interdisciplinary research within their own area of interest and to concisely outline how this could be achieved and the challenges that may be faced.

A 500 word formative essay plan is also included to support the students with the reflective essay.


Task Length % of module mark
Reflective Essay (2000 words)
N/A 100

Module feedback

All feedback on summative work will be timely and will provided in accordance with University policy.

Formative feedback will be provided by the module leader at the start of the summer term on the essay plan



Indicative reading

Becher, T. (1989). Academic tribes and territories: Intellectual enquiry and the culture of disciplines. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

Creswell, J. W., & Clark, V. L. P. (2017). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. Sage publications.

Frodeman, R., Klein, J. T., & Pacheco, R. C. D. S. (Eds.). (2017). The Oxford handbook of interdisciplinarity. Oxford University Press.

Pring, R. (2004). Philosophy of educational research. (2nd Ed.) London: Continuum.

Repko, A. F., Szostak, R., & Buchberger, M. P. (2016). Introduction to interdisciplinary studies. Sage Publications.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.