14 May

Geographical Review Preview: Considering Refugees Through 100 Years of Geographical Review

By: Emily Skop, Joel Tonyan, and Arielle Cassiday

Article Title, Issue and Volume: Considering Refugees Through 100 Years of Geographical Review

What is the main purpose of your study?
This study examines how scholars publishing in Geographical Review have represented and studied refugees over the past 100 years, from the journal’s first issue in 1916 through 2018. Employing a bibliometric approach, the authors use NVivo, a qualitative data analysis software package, to analyze more than 400 articles that mention “refugees” published in Geographical Review, with the goal of identifying key terms, countries, and changing trends in scholarship over the past century.

What are the practical, day to day, implications of your study?
Through our analysis, we conclude that Geographical Review’s treatment of refugees over the past century reflects larger trends in the international refugee regime and the broader discipline itself. Our study not only serves as a starting point for those interested in how refugees have been studied and represented over the past 100 years, but also has implications for geographers thinking historically about the discipline of geography itself. Our findings illustrate key methodological and theoretical shifts in the field, from regional geography to the quantitative revolution and the more recent new cultural and critical geopolitical turns.

How does your study relate to other work on the subject?
Our study employs methods pioneered by David Kaplan and Jennifer Mapes, who in 2014 used bibliometric analysis to chart the field of geography’s development through 120 years of U.S. geography dissertations. Similarly, we employ bibliometric analysis to illustrate developments in the field through one of its longest running professional journals, focusing on both geography’s historical developments and its treatment of refugees over the past century.

What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study?
How terms associated with the word “refugee” change over time, including 1) how “maps” drops off and what that means as far as paradigm shifts in the discipline, and 2) the rise of “people” and what that means as far as disciplinary concern.

What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study?
The kind of bibliometric analysis presented here of journal articles as a database of disciplinary scholarship is underutilized in the discipline of geography. Though not groundbreaking, this kind of basic science approach further validates our understanding of the discipline and how knowledge production changes over time.

How does your research help us think about Geography?
Our study illustrates theoretical and methodological shifts over the past 100 years through a bibliometric analysis of one of the key journals in the field of Geography and documents how geographers historically have studied and thought about refugees since 1916. The research demonstrates the need for geographers to consistently review ourselves and the way we produce knowledge in order to ensure that we do good science.

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Click here to read the abstract of this article on the Wiley Online Library.