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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to uncover how knowledge is exchanged and disseminated in the educational administration research literature through the journal citation network.

Research Methods: Drawing upon social network theory and citation network studies in other disciplines, we constructed an educational administration journal citation network by extracting all 157,372 citations from 5,359 journal articles in 30 educational administration journals from 2009 to 2013. We then performed social network analysis to visualize the network structure by journal clusters, and quantified journal prominence and interdisciplinarity by calculating Freeman indegree and betweenness, respectively. In addition to journal-to-journal citations, we examined the sources of non-journal citations by citation counts.

Findings: The results of journal prominence, interdisciplinarity, and eight journal clusters in the citation network indicate that educational administration, as a porous field, intimately interacts with the sub-fields of education (e.g., urban education and teacher education), other disciplines (e.g., economics, human resources, sociology, and psychology), and the research internationally. In addition to journals as the knowledge source (45.29%), we also found books (31.08%) and reports (14.98%) are important citation sources in the educational administration research literature. The most cited books and reports shed light on the knowledge base in the theory, research, and practice of educational administration.

Originality/value: The results of this by far the largest-scale study of educational administration journals present abundant evidence that educational administration is a porous field. This study also presents social network analysis as an alternative method to evaluate journal influence in the educational administration field.


Author accepted manuscript version of article published in:

Yinying Wang , Alex J. Bowers (2016). Mapping the field of educational administration research: a journal citation network analysis. Journal of Educational Administration 54:3 , 242-269. doi: 10.1108/JEA-02-2015-0013