Skip to Main Content

Today's hours:

See all library hours »

  • Ask a Librarian
  • FAQ

POLI 170: Political Theory

Spring 2023, Dr. Whiteduck

Inclusive Citation

Inclusive citation is an approach to citing the intellectual and creative work of individuals and groups with a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Inclusive citation works to counteract dominant power structures that have historically privileged certain groups, while disadvantaging others. 

As you start your research and throughout your research process, consider:

  • Which groups seem to be at the center of debates and analysis for the topic you are interested in? Are there any groups at the margins or periphery of research? Are there groups that are mentioned but not prioritized?
  • Where are the 'community spaces' (physical or digital spaces, or resources) where different groups have a voice and are able to freely express, represent, and self-determine their own identities?  

The expression Nothing about us, without us gained popularity in the 1990's when used by the disability rights movement advocating for representation in policy making, and has since been used more widely by groups and communities advocating for human rights and social justice. Pictured here, are climate activists from protesting at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2021. 

How does this expression converge with your research? 

Questions to Facilitate Inclusive Citation

As you develop strategies for finding sources, consider:

  • What voices could or should be included in your research?
  • If you looking at a particular community or geographic region, do you have sources from that community or region?
  • Are particular groups particularly affected by the topic you're discussing? Do you have sources from those groups?
  • Does your research need to be accessible for people with different needs? For example, would audio-visual resources or other means of representation make your topic more accessible for your audience?

As you review your citations, consider the authors you used in your research. Do you know what their relationship to the topic is? Does the collection of authors represent a range of voices and perspectives that are relevant to the topic? Reflecting on this might include: 

  • Where the authors are from?
  • Aspects of their identity or positionality, as they relate to the topic (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, disability.)
  • Their perspective(s) on or interest(s) in the topic.

Inclusive Citation Research Strategies

  • Read author information in database records, journal articles, or other publications to learn more about the author. You may need to go outside the source and search for university profile pages, blogs, social media, and other online projects the author may be involved in. This information may help you better understand an author's background, research agenda, and perspectives on the topic you are researching. 
  • Change the way search results are sorted. “Relevance" is often the default setting for displaying search results, but you can change it to another setting, such as “Date-newest.” (In Library Search, use the "Sort by" feature. Other search tools have similar display options.) 
  • Experiment with different search terms. The terms you are using to describe your research topic may be different from those others are using. Consider the terms that different communities might be using. Try out different terms, and pay attention to what terms appear in the sources that you locate. 
  • Consider geography/location in your searching, i.e. look for journals, online resources, or other publications that based in a certain geographical area. You may try using search terms that reflect a given region or location. Looking beyond library resources may be especially useful if you are seeking resources from other geographic areas or cultures.

Diversifying Your Sources

  • Explore new types of information sources, including memoirs/autobiographies, novels, literature, poetry, art, audio-visual materials and primary sources (such as interviews, letters, diaries, etc.) While you may be required to cite a certain number of peer-reviewed sources, you are not limited to just using peer-reviewed sources. Non-academic and non-text sources may include valuable perspectives and modes of expression that you might not otherwise encounter.
  • Find out where scholars  or experts in your field share ideas less formally (such as blogs, Twitter, social media etc), to find conversations happening outside of traditional forms of scholarly communication. Ways to do this include:
    • Search the internet and platforms like Twitter for resources and authors who may not show up in library databases or Google Scholar.
    • Search Google Scholar for resources and authors that may not appear in library databases.
    • Look at conference programs in your area of study.
    • Ask your professors or other researchers who shares your interest, where they see conversations happening outside of scholarly publications.
  • Explore news sources.
    • For example, the library database Ethnic News Watch can be used to find publications that feature indigenous voices. 
    • Use Newspaper Map to locate newspapers across the world.
  • Explore organizations and professional associations. Conference programs, committee lists, and membership rosters can help identify scholars and their interests.

Credits & Acknowledgment

Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-SA Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This page was adapted from Rowen University Library's Inclusive Citation Guide, WPI Library's Identifying Underrepresented Voices in Research Guide, USU Libraries' MMU Scholarship guide and TU Dublin Library Services' Building Multi-Stories: A Guide to Inclusive Referencing resource. All guides have Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial licenses. Many thanks to those guides' creators for their intellectual and creative labor, and their permission to reuse their content.