The Nexus Between Teaching and Research: A Qualitative Study Using two Focus Group on Academic Information Systems Teachers


  • Kevin Grant
  • Stuart Fitzgerald


Focus Groups, Information Systems, Academic Identity


Over the last two decades or so, the discussion of and research into the question of a nexus between teaching and research, has expanded exponentially. Much has been learnt, and said; with a growing rhetoric, with only general insights emerging and being supported by particular empirical evidence. The study of a nexus between teaching and research is not a single coherent field; rather it is beset by epistemological, methodological, political and practical differences. To date, much of the discussion and research on the nexus has arisen due to varying views and alleged agreed consensus as to the nature of the academic profession; the role of the academyuniversity and thus, how the concepts of teaching and research (including scholarship) have been conceptualised and enacted to inform teaching practice. There is a continuing debate as to whether research undertaken by academic staff within the boundaries of a university adds value to the teaching and student learning. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the usefulness of focus groups as a way of exploring and making sense of the conceptions staff have with regard to the nexus between teaching and research. Two focus groups were held with a sample of IS academic teachers. The merits and limitations of using a focus group are discussed given this area of investigation with some possible research areas highlighted. The paper argues that focus groups for this type of study are not appropriate on their own and should be considered as part of a much wider and multi methods research design when attempting to make sense of a complex, multifaceted and emotional areas of teaching, research, scholarship, administration, management and knowledge transfer; and the identify of IS in Higher Education.



1 Sep 2005