ERIC Number: ED344161
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Aug
Status and Cooperation: Faculty Responsiveness to Student Inquiries.
Agnew, Christopher R.; Newton, James W.
This study was conducted to examine whether faculty members in psychology departments are objective and impartial in responding to requests for information to benefit students who may be potential applicants for admission to graduate study or whether faculty members are influenced by indications of the requestor's status in ways that may restrict access to information for some students. To examine this issue, 228 letters were mailed out to randomly selected professors of psychology at institutions throughout the United States, with 92 responses received. The content of each letter was the same: a request for materials about the professor's current area of research interest to be made available to interested students and faculty and especially to students contemplating further study in psychology. A 2x2x2 factorial design was used, with factors varying by the status of the letter recipient's (high=professor, low=student), the status of the letter recipient's institution (high or low), and the status of the letter itself (high=letterhead, low=plain paper). The findings revealed that the frequency of cooperative responses was significantly lower (23%) for low-status (student) senders using high-status (departmental stationery) letters than in any other combination of conditions (average response rate=45%), suggesting that attempts to enhance student status by invoking institutional affiliation may be counterproductive when seeking voluntary cooperation from academics. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (99th, San Francisco, CA, August 16-20, 1991).