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Public Administration Research and Practice: Are Academician and Practitioner Interests Different?

Author: PAMELA A. GIBSON and DIANA DEADRICK
Published in PAQ, Vol. 34 No. 2

The research-practice gap has been viewed as an eternal dilemma between public administration academics and practitioners and has fostered a great deal of writing as to how to “bridge” it. This research investigates one element in the composition of this gap by comparing the topics of interest to academics and practitioners as evidenced in four (4) of their respective journals over the last two decades. The study sought to determine if these groups are attending to different topics of interest and, if so, how pervasive is the gap in these interest areas over time. The findings suggest the gap is not evidenced in which topics receive attention in the academy or agency. And yet, the perception of a gap remains. More research needs to be done in order to better understand the dynamics of a perceived chasm in the field of public administration and methods by which to reconcile the real and/or imagined dissonance between academics and practitioners.

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