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ERIC Number: ED537746
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 243
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2671-5410-1
The Development of Research Networks among Early-Career Faculty Members in the Science, Engineering and Health Disciplines
Bankart, Charles Allen Swanson
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Kansas
The purpose of this study was to develop a better understanding of the patterns and processes of collaboration in the performance of research, as well as to understand why and how early-career faculty members engage in collaborative partnerships. With an eye toward institutional policy and academic programming, special emphasis was placed on how faculty members perceive the role of their diverse developmental experiences as they relate to the acquisition of collaboration skills. Data from the National Science Foundation's Survey of Doctorate Recipients were used, as well as individual interview data with early-career faculty members from a single public research university. The results of this study provide strong support for the use of social network theory's strength of weak ties hypothesis in developing our understanding of how collaborative processes work and are elaborated upon. Developing this understanding is increasingly critical as our knowledge base deepens, our research communities expand and become more diverse, and our research questions become more complex. Collegial networks, both physical and virtual were found to be the key to bringing in information from pertinent knowledge hubs and applying it in innovative ways to the questions that attract our imagination. The findings of this study also have significant implications for practice. Faculty members were found to have had diverse collaborative experiences throughout their undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral, and faculty careers and these experiences had profound effects in terms of orientating faculty members toward collaborative research and developing the necessary skills to work with colleagues both near and far. Institutions of higher education could do a great deal to facilitate collaboration on their campuses and with scholars beyond the campus walls by training tomorrow's faculty members in how to engage others in research production, providing faculty members with opportunities on campus to learn about each other's work, and by supporting faculty participation in professional conferences. Granting agencies, on the other hand, were found to have enormous power in terms of facilitating and inhibiting collaborative research. By providing the funding that enables collaborative research to take place, agencies were found to be critical partners. In order to maximize their effectiveness, however, programs, policies, practices, and lines of communication need to be improved to foster and further enable innovative collaborations. Risk aversion, short grant periods, and rigid reporting requirements were found to inhibit collaboration and made adaptation to unanticipated developments in research very difficult. The study concludes that there is great potential for increasingly synergistic and complementary programs between institutions of higher education and granting agencies supporting collaborative research. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A