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Building Multi-Stories_a Guide to Inclusive Referencing

An introduction to the concept and practice of resistance researching

Resistance Researching


Resistance Research is simply, researching in a way that resists traditional power structures, assumptions and often Western hegemony. In essence, it is the incorporation of EDI principles and social justice into your work.

Conducting your research in an open-minded and inclusive manner, allowing for your own biases, recognising the biases of your sources, and ensuring you include all relevant perspectives and voices, from a variety of platforms, is at the core of Resistance Research. 

From how you search for and find materials, to analysis and citation, this guide will give you an introduction and guidance on completing your work in an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way.

We want you to learn how to proactively seek multiple perspectives in information gathering and how to resist privileging dominant voices by engaging in a practice of inclusive citation.


What is Inclusive Referencing?

Inclusive referencing is the practice of including different voices and perspectives in your research. It prioritises investigating, and where relevant including, non-dominant voices, and emphasises the importance of including voices and perspectives from the group you are looking at and/or groups affected by the topic. Different and in particular, non-dominant voices can bring valuable new insights and perspectives, allowing you to take your research in new directions. Inclusive referencing also shows that you have committed to deep research in to your topic.

What can you do?

  • Don't be afraid to use different types of resources, e.g. audio-visual. Sometimes it is difficult to find academic text sources from a particular community or on a new topic. It is fine to use non-academic and non-text sources in order to be inclusive and to add to your research. 
  • Learn to search well - think about different keyword and synonyms. Try and think of different terminology that might be used in other communities.
  • Consider developing a citation policy for your research:
    • Think about what voices could or should be included in your research.
    • Are you looking at a particular community or geographic region? Do you have sources from that region?
    • Are a particular group particularly affected by the topic you're discussing? Do you have sources from that group?
    • Does your research need to be accessible for people with different needs, e.g. would using audio-visual resources provide your audience with a better route 'in to' the topic?

Test Yourself!

  • Think about your most recent assignment.
  • Write down three authors you used in your research. 
  • Do you know:
    • Where they are from?
    • What is their gender?
    • What is their race?
    • Are they from a dominant or marginal culture?
    • Are they like you in race, gender, nationality, or are you using authors that are different to you?
  • Does your reference list represent a balance of voices and perspectives? Could it be more diverse?


Most of us – at least initially – search for, interpret and use information in a way that confirms our own beliefs. This is known as confirmation bias. It’s effect is most strong when the researcher has an emotional attachment to the subject and can often be seen in matters of race, religion and gender politics.

However, 'true' research and learning means finding and using sources for their authority on and relevance to a subject, regardless of whether you agree with them.

Acknowledging your own biases, preconceptions and prejudices and keeping them in check, will allow you to accurately assess your sources.

To help you move away from your own biases and find new and sometimes challenging perspectives, here are some practical tips:

Identify your emotions:

  • What are your honest opinions regarding the topic?
  • Have you addressed your internal biases?
  • Make a list of counter-arguments.

Identify the facts of the topic:

  • Conduct a general knowledge overview.
  • Search for information in reference texts such as encyclopaedias.

Identify unbiased resources:

  • See RADAR

Be brave!

  • Identify credible materials for viewpoints- yours and the counter-arguments you identified.
  • Reject unsound arguments - have the courage to accept that not all viewpoints are valid, even if you initially agreed with them.

Finding and using resources from different voices and communities can be challenging, but will also bring your new insights and perspectives. It can be difficult at first, to assess the validity and authority of a new voice or perspective, but this Stanford guide is a useful tool to help you assess different arguments.

This work is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0