Relationship between research and teaching in doctoral education in UK universities : the cases of education and chemistry
This study aims to investigate the relationship between staff research and teaching in doctoral education with a special reference to disciplinary variations. There is substantial literature on this relationship in higher education, and there has been much debate about whether they are complementary or competitors for the resources of universities. There is however, little research at the level of doctoral education. This may be because it appears to be self evident that there is a posit. ve link at the doctoral level. However this is a hypothesis that needs testing. In order to do this testing, a questionnaire composed of two major dimensions of doctoral education - Supervision and Research environment for doctoral students - was distributed to about 2,200 full-time doctoral students in Education and Chemistry in UK universities. The dimension of supervision was divided into three components - the supervisor's facilitation of learning, his or her accessibility and the relevance of the supervisor's research to that of the student. The dimension of research environment for doctoral students was categorised into four components - the academic culture of social interaction, the intercultural facilitation of research (for international students), the research training programmes and research facilities. The relationship between staff research (the 1996 RAE scores) and the effectiveness of doctoral education as perceived by students is analysed along the above dimensions. Follow-up interviews were also conducted with students. On the whole, little relationship between departmental research performance (the RAE scores) and effectiveness of doctoral education is found in Education and Chemistry, especially pertaining to the aspects of supervision. However, the results of research environment are more complex. With regard to disciplinary differences, although the general findings of a lack of a significant relationship between research and teaching apply to both Education and Chemistry departments, it is interesting to note that doctoral education is more favourably perceived on most counts in supervision and research environment for doctoral students in Chemistry than in Education. Finally, a theoretical framework of research training structures to discuss these findings is offered.