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Does university research improve university teaching in management?
University of Exeter
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University of Exeter
It seems widely accepted, not least by academics, that university research improves university teaching. However, it is not always clear how important the links are. In the UK a huge amount of detailed information has become available as a result of two extensive exercises undertaken to measure the quality of research and teaching – the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and the work of the government Quality Assurance Agency (QAA). The RAE was primarily set up to provide the basis on which public funds for research could be allocated by government funding bodies though it is now used more generally as an indicator of the quality of research in university departments. The QAA's mission is to safeguard the public interest in sound standards of higher education qualifications. The result of their work has generated a natural experiment in which universities departments strove to achieve the best results they could for their research and teaching. During 2000/2001 university departments including those in Business and Management were assessed by the QAA and in 2001 the results of the most recent RAE assessment of university research performance were also published. This paper reviews the two exercises and then undertakes some preliminary analysis of the results for departments of Business and Management and also, as a comparison, for Economics departments. On the basis of the evidence so far, it does not seem that high quality research as defined by the RAE has a very large and measurable benefit on the quality of teaching. However, the analysis of teaching quality and research outcomes using chi-square indicates that the results for Economics are significant at the 10 per cent level but not at the 5 per cent level. For Business and Management there is no statistically significant association between higher scores in the RAE and higher scores in the QAA reviews. Such a result may have arisen for one or more of a range of reasons. One plausible possibility is that the range and nature of the research that helps the delivery of excellent teaching in Business and Management is not the same as it is in Economics.
Paper presented at British Academy of Management conference, University of Oxford, 13-15 September 2005