Highly Productive Scholars: What Drives Them toward Success?

By Crase, Darrell | JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, August 1993 | Go to article overview

Highly Productive Scholars: What Drives Them toward Success?


Crase, Darrell, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance


Within the cohort of kinesiologists/physical educators in higher education, an impressive number of academics contribute regularly to the scholarly domain via research and publication. Among these regular contributors is a somewhat smaller cohort of scholars recognized nationally and internationally for their consistent and influential contributions. These "highly productive scholars" began producing early in their professional careers and have generally remained highly active over the years. What motivates these scholars to do what they do, and what work habits enable them to achieve impressive results?

While this article mainly focuses on the work habits of several productive scholars within physical education/kinesiology, a brief discussion of factors which may motivate and drive them toward achieving success is included to provide a brief, introductory foundation to better understand their work patterns.

Motivational Factors

Productivity within academe can be driven by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Tenure and promotion are extrinsic factors which usually require considerable evidence of research and publication. The requisite amount and scholarly rigor of research and publication varies considerably among faculty units and administrators of university programs.

High productivity is also rewarded systematically by higher salaries. While outstanding teaching, along with modest levels of university and professional service, are usually required as a basis for salary adjustments, considerable research productivity may be expected within many universities as a basis for higher salaries.

Seeing one's name and that of his or her institution in print and praise from colleagues may also motivate a professional to research and publish. These and other intrinsic variables are more apt to drive young professionals in early career stages than older, more established academics who have demonstrated a proclivity for scholarly inquiry.

Academics who have achieved eminence as scholars at the national and international levels and who continue to produce scholarly works are probably driven by intrinsic factors of an intangible, nonquantitative nature. They are apt to possess an internal sense of purpose and are largely motivated by a passion for their chosen research field. The scholarly life ensures an exciting and challenging environment that may be seen as an opportunity to achieve fulfillment--a vehicle for self-actualization.

Characteristics common to a number of highly productive scholars are the desire to learn, to know, to be heard, to satisfy a curiosity about scientific phenomena, the need to challenge ideas, to test and retest, to banter with erudite and inquisitive colleagues, and to participate at a level that may contribute to change and to productive movements. The exactness and rigor required to be successful as a published scholar, the degree of difficulty inherent in producing materials acceptable to discriminating colleagues, and the friendly exchanges that occur among scholars as issues and problems are examined and debated may also keep scholars focused on this academic process.

Highly productive scholars gain satisfaction by being identified with an elite group of other scholars. Scholarship and scholarly productivity via research and publication is highly valued by large segments of the academic community; thus, the ability to be identified with this sort of activity and with a scholarly cohort is uniquely rewarding.

Obviously, myriad phenomena drive individuals to do what they do, and any brief analysis of the subject only represents a beginning. What motivates scholars to produce and remain productive for an entire career is an intriguing and important issue, one worthy of serious investigation in the future.

Effective Work Habits of Scholars

What are the effective work habits of recognized scholars that are germane to ongoing, scholarly productivity? …

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Highly Productive Scholars: What Drives Them toward Success?
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