Academic Discipline

This page gives advice to ensure you identify the correct Academic Discipline when submitting a proposal for the Honors Research Symposium.

Why are you asking me to identify a discipline?

We consider your research with care and assign an expert to review every proposal closely. Because research methods differ from discipline to discipline, it is important that we assign the proper discipline expert to determine whether the steps you took followed best academic practices. 

Note that the discipline whose methodology you followed can be different than the topic you are researching. What’s most important is not the topic you’re investigating, but the way in which you investigate the topic. See the examples below, and when in doubt, consult your mentor professor who will guide you.

Example #1: Using Statistics to Answer a Question about Sexism

Student A is working in a statistics class on the topic of the rise of sexism in the United States. If the methods used in the project primarily involve gathering and analyzing data, this is a statistics project, and it should be reviewed by an expert who understands proper statistical research methodology. This expert will look at the sample and survey design and the types of quantitative analysis which were conducted.

It would be incorrect to label this project as “women’s studies” or “sociology” even though there are implications in those areas. In women’s studies, as opposed to statistics, a researcher might perform a feminist analysis or critique, or investigate intersectionality.

Academic Discipline: Statistics

What if my project uses methodologies from two fields?

Sometimes a research project uses methodologies of more than one discipline. In this case, you should put the main one down as the primary discipline and list the secondary one afterwards. This means we’ll assign your proposal to TWO experts, one from each field, and they’ll both examine whether the way you conducted your research was valid.

Example #2: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Sexism using Statistics

Student B has taken a women’s studies class previously and is now continuing to research this topic in their statistics class. This student already knows a great deal about how to approach the question of sexism using feminist analysis tools. And this student maintains contact with their previous teacher in women’s studies to get some advice on their current statistical analysis of sexism’s rise. The student is cognizant of the two disciplines and their methods and utilizes both. This student should put in both topics. 

Primary Academic Discipline: Statistics

Secondary Academic Discipline: Women’s Studies

I’m still confused. Who can I ask for help?

Ask your mentor professor or Honors Director/Coordinator. As professionals in the academic community, they’ll be able to guide you.