IS 4444: Interdisciplinary Studies Seminar
May 12, 2015
My Interdisciplinary Studies major is called International Studies and it combines disciplines such as Political Science, Geography, Spanish language and Tourism Policy and Management. I wanted to create a major with an international focus that would satisfy my broad interest in our globalized world. The world is interdisciplinary and therefore majoring in International Studies will give me an opportunity to view the world from many perspectives. Thus, I will be able to address current global issues and also integrate theoretical knowledge about broad global processes. The International Studies major integrates several different disciplines in order to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the global arena and it includes an interdisciplinary study of issues that transcend borders.
For my capstone project, I created a plan for establishing and successfully managing a nongovernmental organization (NGO). This project is relevant to my Interdisciplinary Studies major because nongovernmental organizations became key players in terms of the global governance and international relations. The NGOs work towards advocacy and change and implementation of various government policies that extend beyond the border of nation states. Generally, The NGOs are not affiliated with the government and they work toward social change. According to Peace Corps organization, “the aims of NGOs are to improve the circumstances and prospects of people and to act on concerns and issues detrimental to the well-being, circumstances, or prospects of people or society as a whole”. Thus, the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach is necessary in order to achieve these goals.
|Image: Iveta Stefancova|
The objective of this project is to create a NGO called The Global Diplomacy Network. The project provides an insight to an effective nongovernmental organization that succeeds in achieving the mission. The project focused on the procedure of successfully establishing, maintaining and operating the NGO. It examined effective management, leadership and organization strategies for success. Also, it explored various ways to successfully deliver its mission through marketing, fundraising and social media outreach. My projects consists of two parts. The first is a business plan that examines requirements for establishing the organization, goals for successful marketing, management, and recruitment. It gives an overview to the essential factors required for running an effective organization. The second part of the project is a website that better shows the organization’s work in practice. The website served as a tool for visualizing the operation of the organization. I also created a Facebook and Twitter account in order to get better publicity and recruit more members. The website includes various information about current involvement of the organization as well as its mission and work. It explains the term diplomacy and how is it used. Furthermore, it includes sections related to job and volunteer opportunities, local diplomatic events, and opportunities for campaigns, donations, membership, etc.
For this project, I used different research methods including primary as well as secondary sources. I used various sources from several disciplines such as Political Science, Economics/Business, Psychology, and Law. I created a data table that helped me to organize the information and evaluate the relevance of each source. In my research, I mainly focused on academic literature that included a number of journals, books and reports with up-to-date information that analyzed the significance and successful nongovernmental organization. I also conducted several interviews with experts in the nonprofit field and I used some case studies to get a better understanding of how a successful NGO operates.
In my capstone project, I used a Broad Model approach for my interdisciplinary research. Step 1 in Broad Model focuses on defining the problem or stating the research question. In my case, the research question/problem is; What are the strategies for running an effective nongovernmental organization with global diplomacy focus? The question is complex and researchable in an interdisciplinary sense. Also, the question is clear and it clearly defines the scope of the study. It answers the “so what” question and it avoids jargon, disciplinary bias, and personal bias (Repko, 207).
According to Repko (210), the Step 2 in Broad Model is to justify using an interdisciplinary approach. In my project, the research question is complex and also the important insights into the problem are offered by more disciplines. The disciplines included in this project are the following; Economics/Business, Political Science, Psychology, and Law. Economics/Business discipline is important in terms of developing a business plan and identifying the market for the organization. It also gives an insight to organizational leadership, management and strategic planning. Political Science discipline is important because the nongovernmental organizations can affect the government decisions and policy development. It also gives an insight to the role of diplomacy in global governance and how it can be achieved through the work of the NGO. Furthermore, Psychology is an essential discipline because it is related to the work of the organization, which is diplomacy through conflict prevention, management, and settlement. The Psychology perspective looks at the ways how to regulate the conflict and how to mediate. Last but not least, Law looks at the legal conditions of establishing a nongovernmental organization and the requirements.
There is no single discipline that can address the problem comprehensively because establishing of the NGO and achieving its mission requires integrating different disciplines in order to succeed. NGOs have an impact on the society and the globe and thus, there is need for more disciplines in order to address the problem. This is related to the last justification that explains that the problem is an unresolved issue. Creating a NGO through integration of various disciplines will work toward resolving the issue.
The Step 3 in Broad Model looks at the identification of relevant disciplines. In my project, I found a number of potential disciplines, but as I developed the mission of the organization I was able to decompose the problem and to determine the most relevant disciplines. As mentioned earlier, my relevant disciplines are Economics/Business, Political Science, Psychology, and Law. It also includes various interdisciplinary disciplines such as Peace and Conflict Studies, Cultural Studies, International Relations, Public Policy, Security Studies and many others (Repko, 222-27).
The Step 5 in Broad Model deals with critically analyzing the disciplinary insights that includes three strategies. The three strategies in my project included discovering the key elements of each insight, organizing the information, and then critically analyzing the disciplinary overlap and conflict between them. However, in my project, I noticed an interdisciplinary overlap between several disciplines rather than a conflict between them.
In Step 6 of the Broad Model, I reflected how the interdisciplinary approach enlarged my understanding of the problem. Through the approach, I was able to better understand how a nongovernmental organization works and how its specific mission and cause affects its work. I discovered that each organization has its own biases and it integrates different disciplines. Even similar organizations could integrate different disciplines. The interdisciplinary approach helped me to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the process and activities of a nongovernmental organization that focuses on promoting diplomacy, peace and global understanding. Through the comprehensive understanding of the complex problem, I am better prepared for professional life beyond the classroom. It will certainly help me in the future career in international affairs. This project is a foundation for future use. It serves as an applicable guide for future work in nonprofit and international affairs field.
Repko, Allen F., Rick Szostak, and Michelle Phillips Buchberger. Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies. SAGE, Print.
For, An Ngo Training Guide, and Peace Corps Volunteers. The Role of NGOs in a Civil Society. Peacecorps.gov. Peace Corps. Web. 5 May 2015. <http://files.peacecorps.gov/multimedia/pdf/library/M0070_mod1.pdf>.