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Bibliometric analysis of reading research journal literature Barnett, David J.


The results from a bibliometric analysis of reading research journal literature are reported in this investigation. The major purposes of the study were to: establish a sample of reading research literature; determine the core journal structure of the sample; describe developmental characteristics of the reading research journal literature; and illustrate disciplinary connections among journals reporting reading research. Summaries from the Annual Summary of Research on Reading (ASHR) for the years 1959, 1964, 1968 and 1972 — representing the years 1959 to 1972 — provided the literature for analysis, 768 (84 percent of the total) of the journal articles appearing in the four summaries were collected and provided the referencing and cited sets of journal titles. Three major analyses were performed. In the first, the referencing collection of journal articles was described and sets of core journals listed. Developmental characteristics of reading research were described in the second using a number of bibliometric measures including average number of references per article, age of cited materials, type of publication cited, frequency of author self-cites, and patterns of multiple authorship both in the referencing and cited set of journals. In the third analysis, two clustering programs (UBC C-Group and Osiris Hiclust) were used to statistically group the core cited journal titles. Core Journal Structure. Core journals were identified using three criteria: number of articles appearing in the ASRR, quantity of references produced by the articles, and volume of citation in the referencing set of journals. For all three lists, the most productive journals accounting for 50 and 80 percent of the total articles, references and citations in the two sets of journal titles are identified. The journals isolated as the cores for the three lists fellow the general Pareto distribution, confirming earlier work by Price (1965), Garfield (1972) and others, thus demonstrating the predominance of small cores of highly productive journals in the reading research information network. Comparison revealed the three core lists represent subject areas such as reading, growth and development, curriculum, educational research, general education, educational psychology and several areas of psychology. The discipline diversity of the journal titles increased markedly with the selection criterion based on volume of citation in the referencing set of journals. Developmental Characteristics. Based on the results of the study, and comparison with research using other literatures, the following developmental characteristics for reading emerged. Reading research is becoming a more scholarly field using quantity of citations per article as a criterion. There is a slight movement toward a more immediate research front, indicated by age of cited materials, but this is not strong and the field still relies heavily on archival and near archival resources in its research. A movement toward generation of science-like paradigms may DS developing, based on proportion of serial and monographic usage, but this is tentative at best and not yet a pronounced trend, Beading research may be becoming more cumulative as indicated by increasing author self-citation. Finally, based on multiple authorship data, reading research is definitely becoming more collaborative. Clustering of Journal Titles Two statistical algorithms, one using correlational techniques and the other Euclidian distances in n-dimensional space, were applied to the 36 core cited journal titles. Intuitively acceptable journal groupings were produced in the cluster analysis with the two programs generally confirming each other. Ten journal groupings emerged. Three were somewhat ambiguous with the remaining seven illustrating strong interrelationships suggesting the existence of clusters of ideationally related content among subjects in journals reporting reading research. Recommendations for further research include; statistical analysis of the dispersion of the identified core journal listings; comparison of the core cited' journals with recent issues of the ASBR and ERIC's CIJE ; further study of author productivity in reading research; development of a Journal of Really Important Papers , analysis of conceptual research fronts in reading research; broader analysis of the extent to which archival sources are used in reading research; analysis of cited journal titles which emerged as clusters to delineate conceptual maps related to reading research; and development of a Reading Research Literature Citation Index based on the annual summary of research.

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