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Research Guides

Integrated Social Sciences Program: Diversifying Your Citations

Guide for the online Integrated Social Sciences program

Citation Politics

Citation politics is about reproducing sameness. Academia has a long history with intellectual gatekeeping. Institutions of higher education in the United States still employ a predominantly white male faculty population resulting in white male dominated research production favoring Anglo- and Euro-centric systems of knowledge.

Women are cited less on average than research authored by men. If a women co-authors with a man, the paper has a higher chance of being cited. 

People of Global Majority (people that have been racialized in white imperialist contexts as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) are less cited than their white colleagues even if they have more experience than white researchers.

Well-cited scholars gain authority because they are well-cited. However, well-cited does not equate to quality especially at the expense of those less-cited.

Language adapted from Dawn Stahura's LibGuide, "Evaluating Sources: Act Up." 

Where to Find Diverse Citations

There are few databases and search platforms that focus on collecting or representing Black, Indigenous and People of Color authors, as well as women and transgender voices, but these resources are limited and can't be relied upon entirely. The best method for diversifying your readings and citations is to expand on your source types to include non-scholarly voices and writers, which will include a broader range of identities and experiences to add to your research. Consider citing your own or your family's experiences as part of your academic work, particularly if it is evidence that is not well supported elsewhere. Check out Our Voices (Willard, MacDonald-Scott and Lally) on some basics for citing yourself in research. 

Breaking the Citation Cycle

Practice citation counting: literally count how many women and people of the global majority are included in your references. Also: how many scholars working outside the United States do you cite? How many scholars working in languages other than English? You may not be able to change the counts, but awareness is key.

Cite research produced in other countries and in languages other than English, when you are writing about those regions.   

There are different kinds of authority. Consider the context in which you are writing and determine: what kind of "expert" do you need? For example, when might a government site not be as reliable as a personal narrative? 

Push against the narrow definition of academic scholarship that is exclusive, misogynistic and racist. Just because someone's work has not been heavily cited does not mean it does not have value. Strive towards citation politics that are feminist and anti-racist.

There are more contributors to research than just the author(s). Take a critical look at the methodology section to see who contributed and who didn't. 

Who you cite matters! We have a responsibility to thoroughly evaluate our sources.

Language adapted from Dawn Stahura's LibGuide, "Evaluating Sources: Act Up." and Tulane Libraries Latinx/e/a/o/ Studies Guide.

Citation Diversity Statement

Citation bias is the tendency for students and researchers to cite articles and ideas published in preferred journals due to familiarity or ease.The purpose of your Citation Diversity Statement is to help mitigate this by producing your own reflection, including your own potential biases and looking at who is included or may be missing from the discussion. Here are some prompts for your to consider in writing your Citation Diversity Statement: 

  • Who are the authors included in your bibliography? Do you know their backgrounds and identities? 
  • Search online to see how authors self-identify-- don't assume based on name or picture
  • Track your own citation trends-- do you see any recurrences in where you look and what voices you're gathering?
  • Include evidence and voices outside of peer-reviewed literature-- how diverse are your source types?