Scholarly Context

An academic discipline, such as history, fine art, sociology, philosophy or physics, is a particular body of knowledge. The disciplines have their own conventions and methods and one discipline’s way of doing things may be very different from that of another. Postgraduate study requires awareness of the specific disciplinary context of your research. This includes sub disciplines or fields of study which may also have their own way of doing things.

14217552239_467ebbcb25_zResearch at all levels of study at GSA tends to be interdisciplinary, drawing on the knowledge and methods of a variety of different disciplines. For example a Masters student in Architectural Studies will engage with research in history, physics, sociology and design, as well as architecture as a distinct discipline. Interdisciplinarity does not mean that distinctions between the disciplines no longer matter. Interdisciplinary work requires that you define the approaches you are using in your work based on knowledge of the disciplines and the differences between them.

In addition to synthesising, analysing and critically evaluating an extensive range of sources, at postgraduate level the status of your research sources within their particular discipline must be taken into account. You need to engage with the most cutting edge and up-to date research and be aware of the work that has been most influential and generative within its discipline. You will consider how one piece of research builds on the work of others by developing, critiquing or responding to it.

As well as having different methods for generating knowledge, the various scholarly disciplines communicate knowledge and ideas in different ways. Different disciplines have different conventions for academic writing. These range from the kind of referencing system that is used, through to whether or not written work uses the first person ‘I’.

Through postgraduate study you will develop a scholarly identity as a researcher located in a particular discipline and become part of a particular research community.

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