AuthorASHTON, ARTHUR BENNER.
AdvisorLeslie, Larry L.
Committee ChairLeslie, Larry L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to determine if a composite Research Activity Index (RAI) score could be developed for each major research university in the United States. Such an index if more valid and reliable than existing univariate rankings, would be a valuable instrument for the objective measurement and dissemination of research activity information. Composite RAI scores were developed for each major research university included in this study. The primary data sources were the National Science Foundation's University Science Statistics and the Association of Research Library's ARL index. Eleven variables were used to develop the RAI. They were average percentage change in research and development expenditures over four years; total research and development expenditures; total capital expenditures for scientific and engineering facilities and research equipment for research, development, and instruction; full-time scientists and engineer employed; part-time scientists and engineers employed; full-time graduate science students enrolled; part-time graduate science students enrolled; postdoctoral personnel; other non-faculty doctoral research staff/students; Phd's awarded per year; and the Association of Research Library's annual index. Principal component analysis was used to produce the RAI scores. The RAI was validated by examination for systematic bias, by analysis of each variable's contribution to the outcome, by comparison to the traditional research and development expenditures ranking, and by having the statistical methods reviewed by a noted statistician. Reliability was established by reviewing the stability of the data bases and variable's definitions over time, by reviewing their stability in previous studies, and by determining that like universities produced like RAI scores. This study demonstrates that an objective composite RAI can be developed from existing data and that the index is more valid and reliable than current, unitary research measures. The RAI has the potential for assisting national policy analyses and university management, strategic planning, and evaluation. The RAI allows for historical, longitudinal, and trend analysis; comparative analysis on a national, regional, state, or university basis; and the potential setting of objective, future research goals with subsequent evaluations based upon actual performance of RAI scores.
Degree ProgramHigher Education