Criticality in international higher education research: a critical discourse analysis of higher education journals

  • Chrystal A. George Mwangi
  • Sadaf Latafat
  • Shane Hammond
  • Suzan Kommers
  • Hanni S. Thoma
  • Joseph Berger
  • Gerardo Blanco-Ramirez


The purpose of this study is to critically and systematically examine current discourse within scholarship on the internationalization of higher education. Our study engages critical discourse analysis to review articles from four top-tier higher education academic journals published between 2000 and 2016. Findings across journals/articles demonstrate the absence of a clear definition of the concept of internationalization, a strong Western focus, and often inexplicit recommendations for practical application of research findings. Through critical discourse analysis, we explore the orientation of higher education research towards equity and inclusivity and challenge the perception of international higher education research and its distribution through academic journals as value-neutral. By continuing to recognize, articulate, and critique biases in research development and dissemination, higher education researchers and discourse may become more accountable and continue to develop a more critical lens for promoting globally inclusive scholarship. This study contributes to the ways in which discourse both shapes and is shaped by knowledge production in the higher education landscape, and future directions for this field.


Internationalization Critical discourse analysis International higher education Academic journals Criticality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chrystal A. George Mwangi
    • 1
  • Sadaf Latafat
    • 1
  • Shane Hammond
    • 1
  • Suzan Kommers
    • 1
  • Hanni S. Thoma
    • 1
  • Joseph Berger
    • 2
  • Gerardo Blanco-Ramirez
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Massachusetts AmherstAmherstUSA
  2. 2.University of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA

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