What perspectives underlie ‘researcher identity’? A review of two decades of empirical studies

Montserrat Castelló, Lynn McAlpine, Anna Sala-Bubaré, Kelsey Inouye, Isabelle Skakni

Producció científica: Article en revista indexadaArticle de revisió (sistemàtica)Avaluat per experts

33 Cites (Scopus)


Over the past two decades, identity has emerged as a concept framing studies of early career researcher experience. Yet, identity is an amorphous concept, understood and used in a range of ways. This systematic review aimed to unpack the underpinnings of the notion of researcher identity. The final sample consisted of 38 empirical articles published in peer-reviewed journals in the last 20 years. Analyses focused on (a) identifying the dimensions used to define researcher identity, and (b) characterising the meta-theories—the underlying assumptions of the research—in relation to these dimensions. We identified four different stances towards researcher identity (clusters), based on variation on the identity dimensions in relation to the meta-theories. We characterised these as (1) transitioning among identities, (2) balancing identity continuity and change, (3) personal identity development through time and (4) personal and stable identity. These stances incorporate thought-provoking nuances and complex conceptualisations of the notion of researcher identity, for instance, that meta-theory was insufficient to characterise researcher identity stance. The contribution of the study is first to be able to differentiate four characterizations of researcher identity—important given that many studies had not clearly expressed a stance. The second is the potential of the four dimensions to help characterise identity, in past as well as future research—thus a useful tool for those working in this area.

Idioma originalAnglès
Pàgines (de-a)567-590
Nombre de pàgines24
RevistaHigher Education
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - de març 2021


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