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What Is Diversity Research?

STATEMENT ON DIVERSITY RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP

Scholars who have furthered our understanding of historical and contemporary social issues related to identity, difference, culture, representation, power, oppression, and inequality -- as they occur and affect individuals, groups, communities, and institutions -- have played a key role in supporting positive social change.

In keeping with NCID’s commitment to social change, we promote and support diversity research and scholarship. Our framework for diversity scholarship is not limited to particular disciplines, topics, populations, or methodologies. Instead, we articulate guiding principles, defining diversity research and scholarship as work that broadly seeks to:

  • inform understanding of historical and contemporary issues of social inequality across societal contexts and life domains (e.g., in education, arts and culture, health and mental health, economic and occupational attainment and mobility, infrastructure and community development)
  • illuminate the challenges and opportunities that arise when individuals from different backgrounds and frames of reference come together in significant societal contexts, such as schools and colleges, neighborhoods and communities, work teams in organizations
  • inform our understanding of systems of power and privilege and their interactions with groups historically underrepresented and marginalized based on identities including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, social/economic class, culture, sexual identity, ability status, and religion
  • highlight the experiences of disenfranchised populations, whose narratives have traditionally been relegated to the outer periphery of intellectual inquiry and academic scholarship, made invisible through epistemologies and research methods that privilege dominant social groups
  • foreground the knowledge systems, assets and resources, and cultural strengths of members of historically marginalized communities in order to promote empowerment of individuals and groups from these communities

Our framework for diversity research and scholarship also reflects an inclusive approach to methodology and discipline, including qualitative and quantitative methods, multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches across social sciences and the arts and humanities, as well as the use of both traditional and non-traditional disciplinary modes of inquiry and methodologies.

Diversity research and scholarship engages and equips members of society with critical ways to think about commonalities and difference that can be applied in a variety of ways to improve daily interpersonal and intergroup interactions, institutional and organizational practices, and policies. From our perspective then, diversity scholars share a common goal for their research and scholarship: advancing equity and inclusion throughout our society. We present this framework as an ongoing and fluid perspective of approaching and understanding diversity research and scholarship. As new socio and political contexts change, new methodologies are introduced, or different challenges face our communities, this framework may shift.

 

The following resources have informed our framework of diversity research (click each link to download):