, Volume 96, Issue 1, pp 147-171
Date: 05 Nov 2012

The interdisciplinary structure of research on intercultural relations: a co-citation network analysis study

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This study aims to map the content and structure of the knowledge base of research on intercultural relations as revealed in co-citation networks of 30 years of scholarly publications. Source records for extracting co-citation information are retrieved from Web of Science (1980–2010) through comprehensive keyword search and filtered by manual semantic coding. Exploratory network and content analysis is conducted (1) to discover the development of major research themes and the relations between them over time; (2) to locate representative core publications (the stars) that are highly co-cited with others and those (the bridges) connecting more between rather than within subfields or disciplines. Structural analysis of the co-citation networks identifies a core cluster that contains foundational knowledge of this domain. It is well connected to almost all the other clusters and covers a wide range of subject categories. The evolutionary path of research themes shows trends moving towards (e.g. psychology and business and economics) and away from (e.g. language education and communication) the core cluster over time. Based on the results, a structural framework of the knowledge domain of intercultural relations research is proposed to represent thematic relatedness between topical groups and their relations.