Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) 602

Researching Society and Culture (Revision 3)

MAIS 602

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Delivery Mode: Grouped study (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Interdisciplinary Studies 2

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

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**Note: Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


MAIS 602: Researching Society and Culture is a foundational course that will ensure students possess the methods required to carry out and complete interdisciplinary research.

Note: It is recommended that MAIS 601 and MAIS 602 be completed early in the program.

Course Outline

Throughout the course students will be encouraged to work across disciplinary boundaries, so that their work becomes an interdisciplinary, integrated project. The course is designed in the hope that students will learn something new, challenge themselves, engage with their colleagues in the course, and have fun.

  • UNIT 1 (Weeks 1 - 3) Situating the Disciplines and Inter-disciplines
  • UNIT 2 (Weeks 4 - 9) Doing Interdisciplinary Research: Perspectives, Insights and Adequacy
  • UNIT 3 (Weeks 10 - 12) Doing Interdisciplinary Research: Analyzing, Integrating, Proposing
  • UNIT 4 (Weeks 13 - 15) Case Studies from Interdisciplinary Area Studies

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to

  1. understand the ways in which disciplinarians problematize the world based on specialist knowledge.
  2. critically discuss and define “interdisciplinary” research.
  3. identify specific steps researchers can take towards producing integrated research outcomes.
  4. produce an interdisciplinary research question/problem for further investigation.
  5. produce a literature review that explores a given research question/problem from varying disciplinary perspectives.
  6. produce a research proposal that outlines an achievable Master's level research project.

Student Evaluation

Please note that your work on each assignment will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Your professor will also give you an indication of your strengths, weaknesses, and areas requiring improvement for each assignment. This evaluation process is intended to assist you in achieving greater competency as you progress through each stage of the course. Try to focus on your learning, rather than on how that learning is assessed.

The below weightings suggest an approximate percentage of the work in the course that you should devote to each activity. However, this will vary among students.

Course Activity Weighting
Online Participation 20%
Assignment 1: Research Question and Literature Review 30%
Assignment 2: Peer Review/feedback: Research Question and Literature Review 15%
Assignment 3: Final Research Proposal 35%
Total 100%

Course Materials

The course materials for MAIS 602 include the items listed below:


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Repko, Allan F. Interdisciplinary Research Process and Theory. (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications Inc., 2020.

Seale, Clive, ed. Researching Society and Culture. (4th. ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, 2018.

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page: You will find Course Information (including the Assignment File and other pertinent information) at the top of the course home page. You will also find your Study Guide presented unit by unit online. You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, January 7, 2013.