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BIS 301 - Professor Tony Clark: Profiling a Discipline (PaD)

This guide will provide resources for specific assignments: Profiling a Discipline (PaD) and Interdisciplinary Literature Review.

PaD Assignments

Assignment: Find the historical context for one of your disciplines by addressing these questions:

  • When did it become an academic discipline?
  • Which universities were the first to offer a degree in the discipline?  
  • Since that  time, what other universities has this spread to and when?

Researching: A good place to start is the Libraries' mega-search called Library One Search, which provides access to a wide variety of potentially useful sources: books, encyclopedias, and journal articles.

Keywords to use: Type your discipline along with such words as academic discipline, education history, or field of study, etc. Note that there may be variants for some disciplines, for example Organization Studies often works better than Organizational Studies.

Examples:

**These examples are provided so you can see the variety in the types of sources you can find in Library One Search. If your discipline is included in the above Examples, you should still find additional sources besides these!

Search tips: Not finding anything useful in the first 10 to 20 entries? Try different keywords, or use the Refine Your Search options on the left side of the results page to further focus the search by limiting results to a Content Type such as "Book Chapter" or "Reference."

Library One Search  

 

Extracting information: After completing searches of Library One Search using the keywords and techniques described above, mine the sources you found for information to answer the questions on the historical context of your disciplines. Note that you will keep coming back to these sources for additional information to use in the other PaD assignments.

Assignment: Determine what the faculty in your discipline require for the undergraduate major by answering these questions.

  • What must a major know and be able to do?
  • What are the key concepts introduced to undergraduate majors?
  • Who are the foundational thinkers and why are their ideas key to the undergraduate major?

Researching: Start with the academic program web page for your discipline at ASU, then find at least two other academic institutions offering this major by searching Google. 

Keywords: Type your discipline along with such words as bachelors, undergraduate, major, degree, department, requirements, or faculty, etc.

Search tips: Add site:edu at the end of the search statement to limit results to education websites. Example: Communication bachelors site:edu

Extracting information: After completing searches of Google using the keywords and techniques described above, mine the websites you found for information to answer the first two questions of the assignment. Besides the program description, be sure to look at the curriculum (what courses are required?) and the course descriptions. 

Refer back to the sources found in the Origin Story Telling assignment to identify the foundational thinkers and look at how they relate to the course work of the academic programs you are analyzing in order to answer the third question.

Assignment: Identify the "intellectual homes" (namely, doctoral programs, academic journals, and academic societies/associations) for your discipline and determine:

  • What does it require as coursework for the doctorate?
  • What is presented as the research product or service? (look for academic journals the faculty are publishing in)
  • What value does it claim to add to social and organizational life? (look for related academic societies or associations)

Researching doctoral/PhD programs: Start by checking if ASU offers a PhD in your discipline. Also find at least two other academic institutions offering a PhD by searching Google.

Keywords: Type your discipline along with such words as doctorate, PhD, or graduate

Search tips: Add site:edu at the end of the search statement to limit results to education websites. Example: Communication doctorate site:edu

Extracting Information: Looking at the doctorate program websites you found in your searches, what courses are required for a PhD in your discipline at each university? 


Researching academic journals: We recommend using one of these four ways to identify academic journals in your discipline. Once you have identified a journal, you need the detailed information about the journal, such as its publisher, purpose, or intended audience. 

1. Look at the articles written by the faculty in the undergraduate and graduate programs you have already found. Often each professor will provide a list of their publications. Is there a particular journal(s) they are choosing to publish in? If so,

2. Journal Collections - you can find a select list of journal titles in your discipline by searching our journal packages from specific publishers. 

SAGE Premier (Click the blue Connect button)

  • Select Browse Journal List
  • Select Journals by discipline
  • Choose SAGE journals Available to Me 
  • Select your broad discipline category, e.g. Social Sciences
  • Choose your specific discipline

Science Direct (Click the blue Connect button)

  • Click on Journals from the green navigation bar
  • Select your broad discipline category, e.g. Health Sciences
  • Choose your specific discipline
  • Click Apply

3. Some of the library guides for specific disciplines have identified key journals in the field and link to ASU's subscription access for them. Examples are: Business, Organizational Studies, Organizational Leadership.

4. Search Google using keywords top business journals, top sustainability journals, etc. Keep in mind that if you find a list of journals this way, you will probably not be able to access the full text of the journal articles if you are off campus because you won't be going through the ASU Library. For this part of the assignment, you don't need the articles yet, but you will! 

Extracting Information: You need the detailed information about the journal, such as its publisher, purpose, or intended audience found on the journal's webpage.


Researching academic societies/associations:

  • You may notice that some of the journals you already identified are published by an academic association. For example, the American Marketing Association publishes these four journals
  • Otherwise, type your discipline along with the word association or society in Google to find relevant academic associations.

Extracting information: Look through the association website for information on its mission, activities, publications, services to members, and free information it shares with the world at large.

Assignment: Identify the internal debates and external forces which are impacting upon research and teaching in your discipline by answering these questions.

  • What sorts of topics are addressed in the graduate seminars of its doctoral programs?
  • On what topics are the academic journals currently publishing?
  • What topics are earning recognition as outstanding scholarship?

Researching: In the Gatekeeping assignment, you found the websites for the doctoral programs in your disciplines and the journals which you will use to answer the first two questions. What remains to be found is recognition of outstanding scholarship through recent awards for research, books, articles, etc.

Keywords to use: To find evidence of outstanding scholarship, type the name of your discipline into Google along with keywords like research award, outstanding book, outstanding article, etc.

Extracting information:

  • Scan the websites you found for doctoral programs in each of your disciplines looking for descriptions of the graduate seminars and noting the topics being addressed.
  • Go to the websites of the journals you identified for your disciplines and browse the table of contents of recent issues for trends in the topics covered.
  • Review the recognition awards you found for research, books, articles, etc. in your disciplines and look for topic trends. Another place you can look for topics earning recognition is on the websites of core journals you have identified in your discipline. Some journal publishers like Sage and Elsevier (Science Direct) will include information like the most read/downloaded articles from a particular journal or the most cited articles.
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