Research digest for practitioners: May 2018

Research digest for practitioners: May 2018

The May 2018 Journal of Studies in International Education is a special issue addressing the topic Internationalization and Research. Authors in the first article propose a common research model in the USA to foster comparative research considering how studying abroad influences degree completion. The second article offers a fascinating look into the evolution of research themes over the 20-year lifetime of this journal. Traveling to Europe, Marek Kwiek explores international research collaboration and international research orientation of academics in 11 European countries. Finally, the last article offers thought-leadership on the rationales, factors, and measurement of internationalisation of research. Hopefully these brief summaries entice you to further explore the articles.

Toward a Common Research Model: Leveraging Education Abroad Participation to Enhance College Graduation Rates

By: John Haupt, Anthony C. Ogden, Donald Rubin

Topic: Fostering comparative research

How does studying abroad influence graduation rates? The authors conduct a literature review on existing research in the USA that explores this question. Compiling the results of these studies reveals that bachelor’s level students participating in education abroad do not experience a slow time to degree completion, instead they may increase their chances of graduating in 4–6 years (a typical bachelor’s degree in the USA is four years). However, these results are difficult to compare across institutions because the methodological approaches vary. Therefore, the authors propose a common research model (called GRAD LEAP) in the USA to foster more comparative research on this topic.

Two Decades of Research Into the Internationalization of Higher Education: Major Themes in the Journal of Studies in International Education (1997–2016)

By: Svenja Bedenlier, Yasar Kondakci, Olaf Zawacki-Richter

Topic: The evolution of research in the internationalisation of higher education

How has the research on the internationalisation of higher education evolved over the last two decades? This study focuses in on the development of this research field by considering content of articles in the Journal of Studies in International Education (JSIE), from the first JSIE published in 1997 to 2016. Using Leximancer computer software, the authors conducted a content analysis of 406 papers, analysing titles and abstracts. A detailed concept map, categorised in five-year periods, highlighted emerging themes over time:

  • 1997–2001: delineation of the field, seminal literature defining the field was published during this period.
  • 2002–2006: institutional and management of internationalisation; articles focused on how to institutionalise, manage, and steer internationalisation internally.
  • 2007–2011: consequences of internationalisation (student needs and support structures); a new research dimension emerged during this phase that explored student needs.
  • 2012–2016: moving from institutional to transnational; the research during this phase centered on the transnational context of the student experience, structures, and policy.

Reflecting on how the research in the field has developed through the years, gives us context about where we are today and at the same time connects with how the practice of internationalisation has evolved.

International Research Collaboration and International Research Orientation: Comparative Findings About European Academics

By: Marek Kwiek

Topic: Internationalisation of research in Europe

This unique study explores the international research collaboration (IRC) and international research orientation (IRO) of European academics. IRC is considered to be an academic behavior (eg. international publishing) whereas IRO is an academic attitude (eg. how they characterise their research, international or other). Using a cross-national dataset of 11 European countries, micro-level individual academic responses (N=17,211) are analysed to explore patterns of IRC/IRO by and across country(ies), discipline(s), and generation(s). Overall, the findings have national and regional policy implications, especially considering that EU research funding encourages IRC.

Internationalization of Research: Key Considerations and Concerns

By: Ayenachew A. Woldegiyorgis, Douglas Proctor, Hans de Wit

Topic: Rationales, factors, and measurement of internationalisation of research

The internationalisation of research is under-researched when compared to the internationalisation of higher education. This article explores rationales, factors impacting international research collaboration, challenges, and measurement. First, the authors highlight overarching rationales for the internationalisation of research including the competitive agenda that uses bibliometric analysis for global rankings, the notion that international collaboration leads to greater productivity and how international collaboration can drive identification of and solutions for global societal problems. More specific rationales are highlighted at the national, institutional, and individual levels. Second, a variety of factors influence international research collaboration:

  • graduate education
  • mobility
  • disciplinary differences
  • changes in international research communication
  • funding
  • regional initiatives
  • multilateral and independent organisations

At the same time, challenges, such as brain drain, English as the academic lingua franca, and inequality between/among partners complicates and brings debate to the ambition for the internationalisation of research. Furthermore, measurement can be complex, as the literature shows there are many ways to measure internationalisation of research. However, there is resistance to simply focus in on quantitative outcomes, because it’s understood that the broader internationalisation of higher education is a process rather than an outcome. The authors end with the question: Will a more structured approach to internationalisation of research produce different outcomes?

Leasa Weimer
EAIE, the NetherlandsLeasa is Senior Adviser for Knowledge Initiatives for the EAIE.