Racial/Ethnic Minority Vocational Research: A Content and Trend Analysis across 36 Years

Article excerpt

The authors examined 281 racial/ethnic minority (REM) career-related studies published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, The Career Development Quarterly (CDQ), the Journal of Career Assessment (JCA), and the Journal of Career Development between 1969 and 2004. Publication trends, article content and type, samples, and leading author and institutional contributors are reported. CDQ published the largest percentage of these articles (33.5%, n = 94), whereas JCA had the largest percentage (13%) of REM career articles relative to other articles it published during this time frame. There was an increase in the number of REM career articles being published across the years.

The increasing diversification in the U.S. general population has been widely documented. At the same time these demographic changes have occurred, there has been a greater representation of diversity within institutional settings such as the labor force and educational environments (Fullerton, 1997; U.S. Department of Labor, 2005). Concomitantly, there is evidence that multicultural issues are being addressed with greater frequency in counseling and that multicultural vocational psychology is gaining strength as a viable area of study (e.g., Byars & McCubbin, 2001; Leong, 1994). However, data regarding the trends and changes in the scholarly literature focusing on the career development of racial/ethnic minorities (REMs) spanning several decades are not well documented. Such information may enhance understanding of career development research with REMs and inform multicultural career counseling practice. Thus, the present study provides the most comprehensive analysis of the multicultural career development research to date by conducting an analysis of racial ethnic minority (REM) career research published in four professional career journals from 1969 to 2004.

Given the importance of research in understanding the career development of REMs in educational and work settings, an overview of the research conducted in this area is essential. The present study seeks to address the limitations in prior studies and to fill in the gaps of knowledge. Specifically, we examine articles published across 36 years in four professional journals and address the following research questions: (a) How much research on the career development of REMs is being conducted? (b) What proportion of articles focus on REM career development for the respective journals? (c) Have the publication trends in REM career research changed significantly over the years? (d) What content areas are being addressed in this area of research? (e) What are the characteristics of the samples being used in these studies? and (f) Who are the scholars and what institutions are contributing to this research area?

An analysis of articles provides a meaningful way to examine the state of affairs of a journal or field (Buboltz, Miller, & Williams, 1999; Hill, Nutt, & Jackson, 1994) and is useful for understanding the development of a research area. In the past, content analysis studies have examined trends of career development research in The Career Development Quarterly (CDQ) and the Journal of Vocational Behavior (JVB; Buboltz, Ebberwein, Watkins, & Savickas, 1995), REM research in counseling (Carter, Akinsulure-Smith, Smailes, & Clauss, 1998; Perez, Constantine, & Gerard, 2000; Ponterotto, 1988), and career development research with REMs (Byars & McCubbin, 2001; Hoyt, 1989; Koegel, Donin, Ponterotto, & Spitz, 1995). Each of these studies analyzed published articles in professional journals, and the findings provided opportunities for the profession to reflect on the current or past "states of the field" and to consider areas of potential development. These studies are limited, however, in that their findings were restricted to one or two journals or a short time span.

Researchers have documented the dearth of empirical articles focusing on the career development of diverse REM groups. …


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