Unvoicing a field's expertise: A two-pronged citation and language analysis


  • Emily Suh Texas State University
  • Na Wu Texas State University
  • Candice Oelschegel Texas State University
  • Agustín Garcia Texas State University
  • Sonya Armstrong Texas State University




citation content analysis, critical discourse studies, developmental education, positioning theory, transitivity analysis, voicing, un-voicing


The field of Developmental Education (DE) draws from a distinct and multidisciplinary body of research and scholarship to facilitate students' transitions to college and to support their postsecondary academic success. However, highly cited scholars and policymakers external to the field perpetuate negative perceptions of DE, arguing for reform or elimination without inclusion of field experts. Through a combination of Citation Content Analysis and Transitivity Analysis, this study examined citation trends and verb transitivity to uncover the voices privileged as experts within an influential publication by the Community College Research Center and aimed to uncover how the authors (re)presented the DE field, literature, scholarship, its members, and its students. Findings revealed a single citation of an in-field DE scholar and repeated erasure of developmental educators and DE scholarship through passivation of DE professionals as social actors. Implications are discussed for the importance of including inside-field experts’ voices in discussions about their field as a necessary component of developing a critical praxis of integrating scholarship and practice in support of students.

Author Biography

Na Wu, Texas State University

Emily K. Suh is Assistant Professor of Developmental Education and Integrated Reading and Writing Coordinator at Texas State University. Her research applies multimodal and critical discourse analysis tools to examine the intersection of equity, identity, and engagement for postsecondary developmental literacy practitioners.




How to Cite

Suh, E., Wu, N., Oelschegel, C., Garcia, A., & Armstrong, S. (2022). Unvoicing a field’s expertise: A two-pronged citation and language analysis. Journal of Praxis in Higher Education, 4(2), pp. 90–121. https://doi.org/10.47989/kpdc280



Research Articles (peer-reviewed)