Literature Reviews

Literature Reviews

9. Citation practices

As with all elements of the research process, ethical considerations are central to the process of conducting a literature review. From the Journal of Critical Ethnic Studies:

Indeed, our practices of citation make and remake our fields, making some forms of knowledge peripheral. We often cite those who are more famous, even if their contributions appropriate subaltern ways of knowing. We also often cite those who frame problems in ways that speak against us. Over time, our citation practices become repetitive; we cite the same people we cited as newcomers to a conversation. Our practices persist without consideration of the politics of linking projects to the same tired reference lists.

Self-reflexivity is important when making choices about which literature to include in a literature review. How you locate yourself in relationship to the texts also determines which ones are selected – literature reviews involve the reproduction of knowledge, and they are opportunities to consider the contributions of essential and yet peripheral texts.

Reflection Exercise:
Once you have selected your texts, take a look at the authors. Are they representative of the topic that you are researching? Are the authors diverse and inclusive? Can you identify any gaps or absences in the your references? How can you further diversify your texts?