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Amplifying Marginalized Voices & Citing Diverse Sources: Search & Discovery Strategies

Companion Guide to English 102

Search and Discovery Strategies for Diverse Citations

Since traditional citation politics shape not only who gets to have their voices included in the public record, but also affects how their voices are amplified by search and discovery functions, practicing Inclusive Citation in your research can take time and involve different searching strategies. 

  • Read the author information in database records, journal articles, or other publications to learn more about the author. Searching for university profile pages, blogs, social media, and other online projects the author may be involved in can often 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.” (You can organize your Library catalog results in the left-hand side "Refine Results" menu, or in other databases and search tools there may be a "Sort By" option at the top of your results page.) 
  • Experiment with different search terms. Different communities use different language to describe experiences, so consider whether your search terms are already shaped by certain perspectives on your research topic. Try out different terms, and pay attention to what language is being used by impacted communities. Approach searching as a playful and exploratory process!
  • Consider geography/location in your searching. Keep in mind that most academic libraries in the U.S. include a larger number of resources from North American and English-speaking European countries. Looking beyond the Libraries may be especially important if you are seeking resources from other geographic areas or cultures.
  • Think of multiple ways to describe the population you are looking for.  The “official” name for groups may have changed over time or have several ways of describing a group of people. Some primary sources may use outdated terms or terms modern scholars consider harmful.  
  • Learn how the library catalog or database describes certain populations in their Subject Headings.  Often the catalog or database will assume whiteness and maleness. They are not described as “White Male Authors”. Conversely, marginalized populations may be separated out in subject headings, and described as “Women Authors” or “African American Authors.” 

Language adapted from Shauna Vasudev's LibGuide "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Research: Citation Justice" and George Mason University Libraries' LibGuide: "Finding Diverse Voices in Academic Research"