Determinants of graduate research productivity in doctoral programs of Public Administration

Gene A. Brewer, James W. Douglas, Rex L. Facer II, Laurence J. O'Toole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


Given that research is the first step in improved practice, how can public administration doctoral programs train more productive research scholars? This article reports details on the first systematic attempt to answer this question empirically. Specifically, the authors collect data from 47 NASPAA-affiliated doctoral programs and test conventional wisdom distilled from the literature. Three factors prove to be important in doctoral programs that train productive research scholars: (1) engaging students in structured research experiences that culminate in student research productivity, (2) providing students with adequate financial support, and (3) employing productive faculty members. These three factors explain approximately 70 percent of the variation in graduate research productivity across doctoral programs, and they represent action steps for programs interested in improving the research productivity of their graduates. The implications for improving the quantity and quality of scholarship in public administration are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-382
Number of pages10
JournalPublic administration review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • METIS-100227
  • IR-1699


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