A mathematical approach to assess research diversity: operationalization and applicability in communication sciences, political science, and beyond Articles uri icon

publication date

  • September 2020

start page

  • 2299

end page

  • 2322


  • 125

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0138-9130

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1588-2861


  • With today's research production and global dissemination, there is growing pressure to assess how academic fields foster diversity. Based on a mathematical problem/solve scheme, the aim of this study is twofold. First, the paper elaborates on how research diversity in scientific fields can be empirically gauged, proposing six working definitions. Second, drawing on these theoretical explanations, we introduce an original methodological protocol for research diversity evaluation. Third, the study puts this mathematical model to an empirical test by comparatively evaluating (1) communication research diversity in 2017, with respect to field's diversity in 1997, and (2) communication research and political science diversity in 2017. Our results indicate that, contrasted to pattern diversity, communication research in 2017 is not a diverse field. However, throughout the years (1997-2017), there is a statistically significant improvement. Finally, the cross-comparison examination between political and communication sciences reveals the latter to be significantly more diverse.


  • Information Science
  • Statistics


  • research diversity; diversity; communication science; political science; diversity gaps