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Intro Interdisciplinary Research

  • Why should we collaborate? What does successful collaboration look like? What does it take to do it?
  • How does technology impact our understanding of community? What values are embedded within or do we assume about technological means of communication?
  • How do social movements and communities operate in “online spaces”? Do various platforms create different nuances in how we communicate? What affect does this have on the communities and on how we research these communities?
  • What means do social movements require to affect change? Do the different social media platforms and various digital apps play a role?

What is Interdisciplinarity? Why does it matter?

Students in this Lab will learn about interdisciplinarity, how to begin interdisciplinary work, and the skills of collaboration that it requires through readings, discussions, and experimental exercises. Students can expect to devise interview questions, discuss the importance of interdisciplinary work with people from a wide range of disciplines, create a Lab wiki, work with a librarian to learn how to use the Library to your advantage, write an annotated bibliography, and develop with your team an interdisciplinary research impact project. What students learn about interdisciplinarity will be applied to a current social challenge: social movements and digital culture. Student teams practice their new knowledge and skills to pursue their chosen inquiry paths. For example, what are the ethics of studying people’s activities online? Do algorithms amp up or limit certain narratives and, if so, how? How do different platforms affordances impact the way social movements interact with each other and with the larger community?


  • The instructional team is organizing panels of faculty who engage in interdisciplinary research to answer your questions.
  • Consultants to help you with your inquiries into social movements and digital communities are also being organized to provide additional insight into how to conduct interdisciplinary, collaborative research.

Impact Outcomes

The Lab as a whole will decide how their collective impact outcome – the results of their interdisciplinary team inquiries – should best be shared. Those impact outcomes could be an op-ed piece, instructional guide, art project, or some other form of public dialogue.

Enrollment Information

Spring 2021

Course time/location: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:30 to 2:45pm (location TBA)

Lab time/location: Tuesdays 3:00-4:00pm (location TBA)*

  • Humanities Lab HUL 250
*Lab time is for students to work on activities and assignments, especially skill-building and collaborative Lab projects. Contact faculty about required Lab times.

NOTE: For clarification, this Lab had been advertised as “Intro Interdisciplinary Inquiry.” It has since been updated to “Intro Interdisciplinary Research;” the Lab can be found in the Class Search as “Introduction to Problem-Based Interdisciplinary Research.” All titles are the same Lab and the content remains the same.

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Instructional Team

Faculty: Christiane Fontinha de Alcantara Minority and Human Rights Issues Barrett Honors College Intro to Interdisciplinary Inquiry Spring 2021
Faculty: Monica Boyd Interdisciplinarity in Complex Social Issues Humanities Lab Intro to Interdisciplinary Inquiry Spring 2021
Librarian: Ashley Gohr E-Learning and Instruction First Year Experience & Outreach Librarian Intro Interdisciplinary Research Spring 2021