[Preprint] Thirty Years of Nonprofit Research: Scaling the Knowledge of the Field 1986 – 2015

Ji Ma, Sara Konrath

This empirical study examines knowledge production between 1986 and 2015 in nonprofit and philanthropic studies using science mapping and network analysis. Results suggest that scholars in this field have been actively generating a considerable amount of literature and a solid intellectual base for the continuing development of this field as a new discipline. Knowledge production in this field is also growing in cohesion – several main themes have been formed and actively developed since the mid-1980s. Future advancement of this field faces a critical challenge: the lack of geographic and cultural diversity resulting from the domination of research taking place in the “Anglosphere.” We also emphasize the importance of new paradigms in mitigating the tension between theory and practice – a challenge commonly faced by academic disciplines. Methodological and pedagogical implications, limitations, and future directions are also discussed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 52

Keywords: nonprofit and philanthropic studies, network analysis, knowledge production, paradigm shift, science mapping

Full text available at SSRN.

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