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What Is an Interdisciplinary Theory?

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  • Written By: Osmand Vitez
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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Interdisciplinary theory is typically a concept found in major colleges and universities within degrees and certain writings. The theory tends to allow for the learning and discovery of new thoughts, concepts, and knowledge. In many educational institutions, interdisciplinary degrees or programs do not work in the same manner as traditional degrees. In order to learn the most from this type of program, individuals can often prepare their own degree programs. This allows one to develop interdisciplinary theory involving more than one concept or area of knowledge if so desired.

An educational institution may have ideas or thoughts on which degree program may allow for a specific interdisciplinary theory of knowledge. For example, a program may be in arts and humanities, social sciences, or natural sciences, along with other types. The purpose of these program types is to lay a foundation from where one can write papers or discuss topics from an educated viewpoint. In some cases, the program is not really going to provide a focused degree or education. It simply provides a little knowledge on several topics for an individual to learn about new and different things in the world.

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Several large factors can drive the need or changes of interdisciplinary degrees, programs, or thought processes. Globalization and technology are two of the most important factors in the last several years that drive this type of study. These two factors can influence thoughts and papers written about certain topics or other aspects of society. Interdisciplinary theory, then, is not a static course of learning; it is meant to develop and evolve. It also works together with other types of theory in educational fields.

Teaching and research are often two areas where those in interdisciplinary theory work and make most of their major contributions to society. In teaching, individuals can educate others on how to think, what types of theory need more study, or other aspects of particular topics. Research may be the larger of the two areas where individuals can work in interdisciplinary theory. Here, individuals select a topic to study or to evaluate the history of previous work of other individuals. Adding to the depth and breadth of knowledge of any interdisciplinary topic allows for interdisciplinary theory to continue and add knowledge to the overall body of work in society.

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