How pluralistic is the research field on adult education? : Dominating bibliometrical trends, 2005-2012
Andreas Fejes: Linköping University, Sweden Erik Nylander: Linköping University, Sweden
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What the field of adult education research is and how it can be described has been a debated issue over the decades. Several scholars argue that the field today is heterogeneous, borrowing theories and methods from a range of disciplines. In this article, we take such statements as a starting point for empirical analysis. In what ways could it be argued that the field is pluralistic rather than monolithic; heterogeneous rather than homogenous? Drawing on bibliographic data of the top cited articles in three main adult education journals between 2005 and 2012, we illustrate how the citation patterns have tendencies of homogeneity when it comes to the geographical country of authorship, since the USA, UK, Australia and Canada dominate, as well as the research methods adopted, since qualitative approaches have near total dominance. Furthermore, there is a tendency to adopt similar theoretical approaches, since sociocultural perspectives, critical pedagogy and post-structuralism represent more than half of the articles in our sample. At the same time, the results of our analysis indicate signs of scholarly pluralism, for instance, in terms of authorship, since both early career researchers and established researchers are represented among the top cited publications. We conclude the article by arguing that empirical analysis of publication and citation patterns is important to further the development of reflexivity within the field, not least for early career researchers, who might benefit from knowledge about what has been recognized among peers as worth citing in recent times.

Keywords: Adult education; bibliometrics; content analysis; sociology of science

Volume 6, Issue: 2, Article 2, 2015

Andreas Fejes, Erik Nylander
How pluralistic is the research field on adult education? : Dominating bibliometrical trends, 2005-2012:
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Volume 6, Issue: 2, Article 2, 2015

Andreas Fejes, Erik Nylander
How pluralistic is the research field on adult education? : Dominating bibliometrical trends, 2005-2012:
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
  • Andreas Feje & Erik Nylander (2017). The economy of publications and citations in educational research: What about the ‘Anglophone bias’?. Research in Education, 99(1): 19. DOI: 10.1177/0034523717740146
  • Ellen Boeren (2018). The Methodological Underdog: A Review of Quantitative Research in the Key Adult Education Journals. Adult Education Quarterly, 68(1): 63. DOI: 10.1177/0741713617739347
  • Kevin M. Roessger (2017). From Theory to Practice: A Quantitative Content Analysis of Adult Education’s Language on Meaning Making. Adult Education Quarterly, 67(3): 209. DOI: 10.1177/0741713617700986
  • Erik Nylander, Lovisa Österlun & Andreas Fejes (2018). Exploring the Adult Learning Research Field by Analysing Who Cites Whom. Vocations and Learning, 11(1): 113. DOI: 10.1007/s12186-017-9181-z
  • Barbara J. Daley, Larry G. Marti & Kevin M. Roessger (2018). A Call for Methodological Plurality: Reconsidering Research Approaches in Adult Education. Adult Education Quarterly, : 074171361876056. DOI: 10.1177/0741713618760560
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