Determinants of research productivity of laboratory science faculty

John Carroll Flynn, University of Pennsylvania


There are several hundred schools and colleges of allied health science in the United States. An allied health program common in many of these is laboratory science, which includes such fields as medical technology, cytotechnology and cytogenetics. Faculty in these programs have traditionally been trained as practitioners who decided to change to an academic career. These faculty are now in positions which require scholarly activity, and are expected to publish, conduct research and write grants as part of their professional activities. This academic professionalization, for some, has been problematic since they were not trained to perform scholarly and research activity. One reflection of academic professionalization is scholarly and research activity. One purpose of this study was to determine what constitutes scholarly activity of laboratory science faculty. A second purpose was to identify factors that influenced this productivity. The factors examined included: type of institution, faculty rank, highest degree earned, distribution of effort, principal evaluators and years in a faculty position. The design of the study was cross-sectional. Laboratory science faculty were surveyed in three types of academic environments: community colleges, comprehensive colleges and universities, and academic health centers. Respondents were requested to complete a survey and submit a copy of their curriculum vitae (CV). After examining the CVs, individuals were categorized according to research type and authorship; then, indices of the individuals scholarly/research activity were developed. Discriminant analysis was used to determine the relationship between the scholarly/research index and selected independent variables. The overall return rate was 35.6%. Discriminant analysis indicated that 94.3% of survey respondents returning CVs were correctly classified into one of four groups: one group that conducts basic research as part of a team; a second group that carries out basic research and sole-authored, non-basic research; a third group that engages in sole- and team-authored non-basic research; and a fourth group that only publishes sole-authored, non-basic research. However, there were no significant discriminant functions identified. Future research will need to address the large number of non-responders, other variables that may influence scholarly activity and perhaps an alternate way to quantify scholarly productivity.

Subject Area

Higher education|Health sciences|Health education

Recommended Citation

Flynn, John Carroll, "Determinants of research productivity of laboratory science faculty" (1993). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9331775.