Interdisciplinary studies Preliminary Research Proposal


Applying what you have learned about in IDS 201, students will write and submit a 2-3 page preliminary research proposal on the interdisciplinary problem they want to investigate.

Knowledge:  The assignment will help you:

  1. Articulate a problem you would like to solve articulating key disciplinary insights.
  2. Explain the relationship of the problem you would like to solve/ the question you would like to explore.
  3. demonstrate contextual thinking in your articulation of your questions’ or problem’s relationship to your fields of study, your historic intellectual development and future goals
  4. Draft questions that will set the foundation for how you plan to approach your vetting/autoethnography, digital ethnography, archival research project, annotated bibliography and research rationale.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply the theories, and critical perspectives of at least two academic disciplines. (Critical Thinking, Communication)
  2. Synthesize the theories, critical perspectives of at least two disciplines into a preliminary plan of research. (Lifelong Learning, Communication, Intellectual Breadth)
  3. Apply a synthesized plan of research to a single problem or set of problems concerning contemporary society. (Global Awareness and Critical Thinking)
  4. Communicate ideas clearly in written and oral form. (Communication and Critical Thinking)
  5. Build an intellectual foundation to support continuous learning. (Lifelong Learning, Communication, Intellectual Breadth)


  1. FIRST PART: Write a brief (150 word) description of the specific topic you would like to research. Answer the following questions:
    1. What, personally and or professionally shapes your invested interest?
    2. Have you worked in this arena/around the themes emerging in your question?
    3. Do you want to work in the arena/institution related to your questions’ themes?
  2. SECOND PART: Provide a list of at least 6, open-ended and relatable research questions that will guide your search for information about your proposed topic. Consider which questions will allow you to use disciplinary insight to improve contextual thinking as it relates to your question and or problem.  
  3. OPEN – who, what, when, where, why, how, to what extent?
  4. CLOSED to avoid – do, am, could, would (and variations)
  5. (IN FIRST OR THIRD PART) Discuss this topic’s relevance to each of your areas of study/historic coursework.  
    1. How have the courses you discussed in your area of study paper helped inform this question?
    2. In what ways are you extending a project you have started in another course. (students will need to submit past coursework in relation to the research proposal)
  6. Conclude with at least a paragraph answering the following question: Why should others care about the answers to your questions? In answering the aforementioned question, explain the extent to which your project needs critical interdisciplinarity.
  7. Identify three to five (3-5) key words related to your topic. Type those keywords at the bottom of your assignment, right next to word count.
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