73 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 765 (1997-1998)
Research and Teaching on Law Faculties: An Empirical Exploration

handle is hein.journals/chknt73 and id is 783 raw text is: RESEARCH AND TEACHING ON LAW FACULTIES: AN
EMPIRICAL EXPLORATION
DEBORAH JONES MERRITF*
Some professors maintain that research and teaching are comple-
mentary, that the best scholars are also the most outstanding teachers.
Other academics believe that these two tasks detract from one an-
other, so that professors must choose eminence in either teaching or
research. Legislators and members of the public often join the latter
group, charging that professors devote too much time to scholarship
and too little time to classroom instruction.
Is it possible to resolve this debate empirically? More than thirty
studies have attempted to explore the relationship between research
and teaching in higher education.' Contrary to dire predictions by
some members of the public, only one of those studies identified a
statistically significant negative relationship between scholarly pro-
duction and teaching effectiveness.2 Most of the remaining investiga-
tions found a weak but significant positive relationship between these
* John Deaver Drinko/Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law, The Ohio State University. The
research reported in this article would not have been possible without the help of Jennifer
Cihon, George Hoskins, Rosanne Mitchell, Rachael Russo, and Rebecca Woods, all current or
former Ohio State law students who contributed to building the database. I am also grateful to
Kathryn Barry and Stefanie Neubauer, graduate students in the Ohio State sociology depart-
ment, for assisting on this project. James Brudney, Ruth Colker, Lowell Hargens, Andrew Mer-
ritt, and Barbara Reskin provided invaluable comments on both survey design and a previous
draft of this article. Barbara has co-authored several other articles drawing upon portions of this
database; her insights and work permeate the research. I presented a draft of the article at a
faculty workshop held at New York University, and received further useful suggestions. The
Sociolegal Center at the College of Law provided financial and other support for the empirical
work reflected here.
1. See, e.g., John M. Braxton, Contrasting Perspectives on the Relationship Between Teach-
ing and Research, in FACULTY TEACHING AND RESEARCH: Is THERE A CONFLICr? (John M.
Braxton ed. 1996) (collecting studies); Kenneth A. Feldman, Research Productivity and Scholarly
Accomplishment of College Teachers as Related to Their Instructional Effectiveness: A Review
and Exploration, 26 RES. HIGHER EDUC. 227, 230-39 (1987) (same).
2. See R.A. Hoffman, Correlates of Faculty Performance, 18 C. STUDENT J. 164 (1984); see
also Braxton, supra note 1, at 9 (categorizing studies); Feldman, supra note 1, at 275 (Nearly
without exception, the many studies located for review have not found (for their total samples)
statistically significant inverse associations between research productivity or scholarly accom-
plishment of faculty, as measured in a variety of ways, and students' assessments of these teach-
ers' overall instructional effectiveness.). But see Mary Frank Fox, Research, Teaching, and
Publication Productivity: Mutuality Versus Competition in Academia, 65 Soc. EDUC. 293, 295-97,
301 (1992) (finding that the social scientists in a sample who published the most invested more
time in their scholarship and less in their teaching than did other social scientists in the sample;
the study did not explore any relationship between scholarly productivity and teaching
excellence).

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