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Advancing a Controversial Research Agenda: Navigating Institutional Dynamics and Politics


Conducting research on topics that others consider “controversial” comes with manychallenges. A key tenet of critical librarianship is to disrupt the status quo, whether that involves dismantling white supremacy culture, questioning patriarchal systems, or rejecting heteronormative practices.1 This chapter provides a guide for librarians interested in conducting research that challenges systems of oppression within and outside of librarianshipbut are unsure how to get started or are afraid that their libraries may not supportthis work. First-hand lessons learned for conducting research on controversial topics are provided by examining the development of two research projects about sexual harassment experiences of University of California library employees.

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