Investigating Factors and Characteristics of the Use of e-Collaboration Tools in Research Collaboration
Research collaboration, which is the working together of researchers to achieve a common goal of producing new knowledge, is worthy of investigation. Mattessich et al. (2001) identified twenty factors that influence the success of research collaboration. This exploratory investigation used Mattessich et al’s (2001) model to measure the perception and degree of collaboration amongst researchers from the Otago region of New Zealand. A mixed-method research design, using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, was employed to assess a number of collaborations in the Otago region. This study employed an online survey instrument based on the Wilder Inventory (Mattessich et al., 2001). Forty-nine researchers from different disciplines in the Otago region completed a 42-item survey about their experience with research collaboration. Survey results were used to identify strengths and weaknesses in the Otago researchers’ collaboration and to establish baseline data for future comparisons. Thirteen in-depth interviews were conducted with researchers who had been involved in collaborative research. Researchers from different sectors were interviewed individually. During these interviews, the preliminary outcomes from the online survey data were used to encourage the researchers to recall particular events about their collaboration, how they felt at the time and to reflect on these experiences. Qualitative data were analysed for emergent categories and themes, and were used to explore the status of collaboration amongst Otago researchers. The twenty factors mentioned in Mattessich et al. (2001) can be useful in evaluating the success of research collaboration. According to the Wilder Inventory guidelines (Mattessich et al., 2001), nine factors scored high (4 – 4.3) indicating strengths in the Otago researchers’ collaboration, eleven factors fell within the borderline area (3 – 3.9) and no factors scored lower than 2.9 indicating no weaknesses in their collaboration. However, interview findings showed that new technologies are still not utilised as they could be in the area of research collaboration. The findings of this study may help Otago researchers to enhance the strengths and work on weaknesses in their collaboration.
Advisor: Butson, Russell; Purvis, Maryam
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Information Science
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: collaboration; research; E-collaboration
Research Type: Thesis