Join | Login



Martin Ruck


Journal of Social Issues: Rationale for Adding Positionality to Author Biographies

Martin D. Ruck, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Social Issues (JSI), The Graduate Center, CUNY

Common in qualitative or interpretative research, positionality refers to a researcher’s identity or worldview, including ontological and epistemological beliefs, which influence the entire research endeavor (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005; Holmes, 2020). As part of the research process, researchers explicitly acknowledge their positionality in the form of positionality statements, describing their stances as they pertain to a specific research project.

Recently, scholars have called for such statements to also be part of quantitative and mixed-methods research practices (Jafar, 2018; Roberts, Bareket-Shavit, Dollins, Goldie, & Mortenson, 2020). In keeping with that call, JSI is strongly encouraging all authors in their author biographies or where ever they feel is most appropriate to briefly describe their own positionality with respect to their social identities (including ability status, gender, sexual orientation, age, race/ethnicity, etc.) and commitments (theoretical, epistemic, ethical) to their research and the participants of that research.

As Roberts et al. (2020) noted, positionality “makes transparent how the identities of the authors relate to the identity of the participants and the extent to which those identities are represented in the permanent scientific record” (p. 11). Authors will not be required to disclose any aspect of their identities unless they wish (consent) to do so themselves. Similar to authors’ names, institutional affiliations, and acknowledgments, author biographies and positionality information will never be included in the materials sent out for blind review as they are only submitted with accepted papers.

We believe that including aspects of positionality in JSI author biographies serves to challenge assumptions about the nature of science and truth, and interrogates research practices such as objectivity, transparency, and avoiding author bias. Examples of including positionality information in recent JSI papers are available in:

Grant, S., Leverett, P., D’Costa, S., Amie, K. A., & Campbell, S. W. (2020). Decolonizing school psychology research: A systematic literature review. Journal of Social Issues, 78(2), 346-365.

Rea, J. (2020). Social relationships, stigma, and wellbeing through experiences of homelessness in the United Kingdom. Journal of Social Issues, 79(1), 465-493.

For additional information, we invite authors to see:

• Curran, M. A., & Randall, A. K. (2021);

• Jafar, A. J. N. (2018);

• Roberts, S. O. et al. (2020);

back to menu