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Including Underrepresented Perspectives in Your Course

How to Use this Page

On this page you'll find questions to ask about each resource you assign students or use in your class. They are a starting point, not a solution, and a framework and not a checklist.

After examining all the resources on a given syllabus, you can see patterns emerge and address them, or address "problematic" resources themselves by either removing them, replacing them, or putting them into context for students. Regardless of what is assigned to your students, they will benefit from the reinforcement of or introduction to critical information literacy skills to help them understand the social, political, and economic conditions under which research is created, disseminated, and accessed.

Where's cultural competency on this guide?

That framework from Diane Goodman is already out there if you want to use it. This is just a set of considerations that can complement it or work independently or along with another set of principles like cultural humility or CRT. But please research criticism about the term "cultural competency" and its practice first. This is not a judgment of anyone's work; it is an appeal to research different points of view. 

Questions to Consider About Creators/Authors

•Google the Creator’s name. Check beyond the first three pages of results.
•Where are they from?
•Where did they go to school?
•Are they affiliated with any groups?
•Who is their employer? What do you know about their employer?
•What else have they written?
•Complete these steps for any co-authors.
•Do they have their own website? Visit it.

For Resources: Article, Book, Chapter, etc.

Most importantly, read the resource thoroughly to determine any bias or lack of sensitivity on the part of the creator/author.
Questions to consider:
•How will students from different backgrounds and lived experiences react to and engage with this resource? 
•Which articles and publications are being cited? What do you know about them?
•Google any theories or old publications cited. Are they still relevant?
•Google theories, techniques, formulas, etc. with the word criticism/critique, controversy, problem, bias, etc.
•Is the methodology sound? What population was used? What techniques? Is the sampling biased?
•Could this work have been written in a more inclusive way?
•How did you discover this book/article? Did you find it on your own or did someone recommend or introduce you to it?
•What are some biases I bring to my reading and interpretation of this resource?
•What do I want my students to learn from this? What other material could teach them the same thing? 


Questions to consider:
•Who else wrote chapters or articles in this publication? What do I know about them?
•Who are the members of the editorial board of the journal? What do I know about them?
•What are the criteria for submission or publication? Would it be easier for some people to publish here than others? 


Questions to consider:
•Google the publisher. Go beyond the first 3 pages of results.
•Visit the publisher’s website and journal’s website (if applicable).
•Who sits on the board of directors of or leads this publishing company?
•Who owns the publishing house?
•What are some other things they’ve published?
•Do they give money to any charities? (Sometimes listed under “philanthropy”)
•Do they advertise? If so, where and how do they advertise? If not, how do people know about and read their publications?
•Where do they sell their publications?
•Who reads the publications? Who is the audience?
•Do they take any steps to ensure diverse representation? 

Syllabus (Course Materials Overall)

Questions to consider:
•Do I use non-peer reviewed resources (in addition to peer-reviewed)?​
•Do I include materials authored by people from a variety of backgrounds?​
•Do I provide critiques or multiple points of view around the theories, methodologies, practices, or scholarship I introduce?​
•Do I include current scholarship? (e.g. including many resources beyond what you read in graduate school and beyond those you inherited on a syllabus that another faculty member created)​
•Have I checked this material for bias or for critiques/criticism from marginalized communities?​
•Do my students understand the nature of scholarship and the social, economic, and political considerations that drive it? Do I need to provide context?