Predictors of short-term and long-term scholarly activity by academic faculty: A departmental case study

Robert L. Ferrer, David A. Katerndahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: What leads to individual success or failure in family medicine scholarly activity? We prospectively studied predictors of short-term (2 years) and long-term (5 years) scholarly productivity in the faculty of one university family medicine department. Methods: All department faculty (n=37) between 1986 and 1998 completed an annual survey of their scholarly activities (238 person years). Using bivariate and multiple regression analyses, we examined the influence of faculty demographics, professional degrees and training, academic rank, and responsibilities in areas such as patient care, teaching, and administration on 2-year and 5-year output of presentations, publications, and grants. Results: Productivity (defined as publications, external presentations, and funded grants) declined with time since medical school graduation. PhD and MD/MS faculty were more productive than MD faculty. Fellowship training was also associated with greater productivity, as was national service to journals and grant review panels. Administrative activity below the level of department chair or vice chair did not detract from scholarly activity. Clinical time demonstrated only a weak, nonsignificant negative correlation with most of our scholarly activity measures. Conclusions: As previously noted, research training through advanced degrees or fellowships enhances scholarly activity. The effect on scholarly productivity of time spent in clinical work or on administrative tasks requires further study across different departments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-461
Number of pages7
JournalFamily medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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