The multidisciplinary roots of higher education research: An analysis of citation patterns.
Researchers in higher education (HE) are a community of academics with backgrounds and experiences in a variety of scientific disciplines. For this reason, HE research is influenced by other disciplines from which HE researchers take theories, constructs and research methods. This article describes a large-scale analysis of the impact of different scientific fields on HE research. Special attention is paid to the analysis of the influences of psychology, sociology & political science, and economics as the disciplines that have the greatest impact on HE research. To assess this impact, we analyse citation patterns in seven key HE journals. Our empirical analysis confirms that HE research is indeed a multidisciplinary field and experiences a different impact of identified scientific fields for HE articles of different topics. We analyse the dynamics of such an impact and discuss the factors that may cause the growth of multidisciplinarity in HE research.