We are a collaborative team of PhD students from epidemiology, sociology, anthropology, and health policy who train together at the Carolina Population Center, a research center associated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While engaged in interdisciplinary research discussions, we noted a distinct lack of consensus both between and within our disciplines on the use of race in publications. In 2017, motivated by Thomas LaVeist’s 1996 article “Why we should continue to study race… but do a better job: an essay on race, racism and health,” we initiated a project examining the conceptualization, operationalization, and use of race in academic publications. Using a clear set of defined inclusion/exclusion criteria and a randomly generated list of articles from within a single discipline at a time, we extracted and analyzed how race and ethnicity is measured and used, or not, within a discipline’s literature over time. As publications influence both the research practices of current scientists and shape future researchers, we feel that it is important to have a clear understanding of the trajectory of the use of race and ethnicity in research, and to highlight opportunities for improvement.
The project has continued to expand and now includes a multitude of presentations, a blog series, a podcast episode, and publications. In order to facilitate easy accessibility of these resources for those interested in examining and improving upon their use of race and ethnicity in their own work, we have created this website. Explore the site to see more of our resources and meet the team. Please feel free to get in touch!