School of Information Sciences -- Faculty Publications and Other Works

Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

Journal of Documentation

Document Type


Publication Date





Purpose – The purpose of this study is to provide an overview of social justice research in Library and Information Science (LIS) literature in order to identify the research quantity, what populations or settings were included, and future directions for this area of the discipline through examination of when related research was published, what contexts it covered, and what contributions LIS researchers have made in this research area.

Design/Methodology/Approach – This study reviews results from two LIS literature databases—Library, Information Science and Technology Abstracts (LISTA) and Library and Information Science Source (LISS)—that use the term “social justice” in title, abstract, or full text to explicitly or implicitly describe their research.

Findings – This review of the literature using the term social justice to describe LIS research recognizes the significant increase in quantities of related research over the first two decades of the twenty-first century as well as the emergence of numerous contexts in which that research is situated. The social justice research identified in the literature review is further classified into two primary contribution categories: indirect action (i.e., steps necessary for making change possible) or direct action (i.e., specific steps, procedures, and policies to implement change).

Research Implications – The findings of this study provide a stronger conceptualization of the contributions of existing social justice research through examination of past work and guides next steps for the discipline.

Practical Implications – The conceptualizations and related details provided in this study help identify gaps that could be filled by future scholarship.

Originality/Value – While social justice research in LIS has increased in recent years, few studies have explored the landscape of existing research in this area.

Keywords –Direct Action; Indirect Action; Library and Information Science; Literature Review; Social Justice

Paper Type – Literature Review

Submission Type


jod-appendix-december-28-2020-1 (2).xlsx (38 kB)
Article Appendix (Excel Spreadsheet)

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