Interdisciplinarity as an Approach to Study Society

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A discipline refers to a specific branch of learning or body of knowledge that has a different body of concepts, theories, framework, subject matter, perspectives, world views, assumptions, and research methodologies. Each of these disciplines or branches of knowledge are different from the other branches of learning. There are four main clusters of traditional disciplines. These include the following:

Clusters of Traditional Disciplines

Clusters of Traditional Disciplines

Scope

Natural Sciences

Include the life sciences and physical sciences

Social Sciences 

Include sociology, economics. political science, geography, anthropology, history, and psychology

Applied profession

Business, communications, criminal justice, education, engineering, law, social work, nursing, and medicine 

Humanities

Include art and art history, literature, music, philosophy, and religious studies

In the social sciences, each of the disciplines studies human society, human behavior, and their culture in a specific lens or approach that is unique to that particular discipline. This is often referred to as disciplinarily because the focus of study and analysis is limited only to a particular field of study or specialization. Discipline-based studies and orientation of major branches of the social sciences started to disappear with the emergence of interdisciplinary social science. Through this major development in social science research, the various disciplines of the social sciences produced a vibrant interaction of diverse scholarly researches and teaching communities. 

Interdisciplinary social science approach or interdisciplinarity involves the application of two or more fields of study or disciplines to address and answer social problems and issues. In this approach, a problem can be solved through the analysis, synthesis, and coordination between and among the different disciplines to form a coherent research. Most of the researches in the social sciences have shifted to the application of interdisciplinary approaches in the study of society. This new form of study provides a systematic way of providing answers to questions, solving problems, and addressing very broad or complex topics through the application of the various social science perspectives and integrating the data, information, techniques, methodology, concepts, theories, and frameworks coming from two or more of its diverse disciplines (Replok, 2008, p. 11).

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