Volume 3 Issue 2 (2007): On Beyond Interdisciplinarity
Reframing the Structures

How and Why to Teach Interdisciplinary Research Practice

Rick Szostak
University of Alberta
Published October 11, 2007
  • interdisciplinarity,
  • teaching,
  • disciplines,
  • research process


This article addresses the interrelated questions of why it is important to teach students about the nature of interdisciplinarity and how this material might be best communicated to students. It is important to define for students what is meant by disciplines and interdisciplinarity. Having distinguished interdisciplinarity from the disciplinary approach, the advantages and disadvantages of each can be discussed. It is useful to discuss the history of both disciplines and interdisciplinarity. It is also useful to discuss the complex relationship between interdisciplinarity and other intellectual currents: postmodernism, unity of science, complexity analysis, feminism, and others. Critically, students should be guided as to how interdisciplinary research might be best performed. Some potential objections to teaching interdisciplinary research practice are addressed.