Research from a Diversity Perspective

Research from a Diversity Perspective

What is research from a diversity perspective?

Research from a diversity perspective can be on a wide variety of subjects and in a wide variety of disciplines. Its defining characteristic is an emphasis on including a wide range of voices, viewpoints, and experiences. Diversity-centered research may seek to address identities of ethnicity, culture, sexuality, gender, age, disability, or a wide range of other perspectives.

Why have a guide for research from a diversity perspective?

This kind of research often requires flexibility, as well as a broad understanding of research strategies and the ways in which information is organized in the Library and in the rest of the world. Often this type of research is interdisciplinary: it doesn't fall neatly into any particular discipline, and requires the researcher to master several tools and combine results from several searches in order to produce the desired information. Diversity-based and interdisciplinary research are becoming increasingly important as people ask new and different questions about what we already know.

What are examples of research questions that would require these special research strategies?

  • How are feature films marketed to minority groups in the United States? How are movie scripts written and pitched, and how are minority characters represented in films marketed this way?
    • Possible fields: ethnic studies, sociology, women's studies, film studies, business, and other fields.
  • How does environmental racism and classism play out in the Southeastern United States? For instance, how many SuperFund sites are situated in or near low-income or minority neighbourhoods? What kinds of industry are located in White and Black areas? Have any lawsuits been launched that mention environmental racism or classism as factors?
    • Possible fields: ethnic studies, environmental science, sociology, geography, law, business, and other fields.
  • How should parks be managed in developing countries? Should indigenous peoples be allowed to do what they have always done with the land? How has the use of the land changed over time? How has the global economy changed what the land is used for?
    • Possible fields: ethnic studies, ecology, geography, anthropology, law, political science and other fields.

Navigating Subject Headings

Knowing how to use Library of Congress (LC) subject headings can help you create a much more relevant and effective search. See our guide to using LC subject headings for more information.

Associations and Information-Gathering

Interdisciplinary research often requires familiarity with the publications, terminology, and information-sharing practices of many different fields. This can be difficult to master alone, and many interdisciplinary researchers report better success when they use the support mechanisms available to their discipline. These mechanisms can include:

  • membership in associations
  • conference attendance
  • discussion list communication
  • formal and informal connections with colleagues in a shared or related discipline.

For help in finding out about associations in your discipline, talk to your library subject specialist, or look in The Encyclopedia of Associations, which is at KNIGHT REFERENCE AS 22 .E5.

Related Library Guides

Interdisciplinary research often requires you to use information in different formats, as well as on different subjects. For example, you may find yourself looking for government documents, dissertations, newspaper articles, statistics, or maps. The Library maintains research guides for finding many kinds of material.

For more help with specialized kinds of research, check out our other Research Guides.

Print Guides to Diversity Research

Getting Started

These sources can help you learn terminology and find information sources in a field you don't know well.

  • Learning terminology
    • The Contemporary Thesaurus of Search Terms and Synonyms KNIGHT REFERENCE ZA 4060 .K58
    • A Dictionary of the Social Sciences KNIGHT H41.G6
    • The Library's guide to subject encyclopedias. These are books that will help you define terms and expand your vocabulary in a discipline. We have subject encyclopedias for almost every discipline; if you don't find what you need, ask a reference librarian.
  • Finding sources
    • Bibliographic Index KNIGHT REFERENCE Z1002 .B595
      • Bibliographic Index helps you to find collections of research that have been published on your topic. It lists bibliographies published as books, or in the back of books or articles, as long as they include at least 50 items.
    • The Humanities : A Selective Guide to Information Sources KNIGHT REFERENCE AZ221 .B53
    • Social Science Reference Sources: A Practical Guide KNIGHT REFERENCE Z7161 .A1 L5
    • The Social Sciences : A Cross-Disciplinary Guide to Selected Sources KNIGHT REFERENCE Z7161 .S648 1996
    • Sources of Information in the Social Sciences KNIGHT REFERENCE Z 7161 .S666
  • Finding articles
  • Finding books

Exploring Farther

If you're entering an interdisciplinary field, you may want to read more about the problems and advantages of interdisciplinary research. Here are some full-length books on the subject:

  • Creative Marginality : Innovation at the Intersections of Social Sciences KNIGHT H62 .D613 1990
  • Interdisciplinary Information Seeking in Women's Studies KNIGHT HQ1180 .W47 1999
  • Outside the Lines : Issues in Interdisciplinary Research SCIENCE Q180.55.I48 O97 1996
  • Practising Interdisciplinarity SCIENCE Q180.55.I48 P72 2000
  • Questions of Evidence: Proof, Practice, and Persuasion Across the Disciplines KNIGHT BD181 .Q47 1994
  • Work at the Boundaries of Science: Information and the Interdisciplinary Research Process SCIENCE Q223 .P32 2001


Created by pfrantz on Aug 7, 2012 Last updated Aug 16, 2012