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Research productivity in education and psychology

In a recent paper entitled “Research productivity in education and psychology in the Philippines and comparison with ASEAN countries” published in Scientometrics, Lorelie Vinluan (University of the Philippines, Diliman) examined the country’s research productivity in the field of education and psychology. This type of study is important as it will help determine available experts in the field. In addition, this is particularly timely with regards to the recent implementation of the K+12 education program – introducing universal kindergarten and lengthening the basic education cycle from 10 years to 12 years. It matters to know the state of research in education in the country because it will play an important role in forming education policies and possible reforms.

To assess the country’s research productivity, the author used bibliometric data from the Institute for Scientific Information’s Social Science Citation Index (ISI-SSCI) database, which consists of articles from over 2,700 social science journals. Using the journal article as the unit of analysis, individual, institutional and national levels of productivity were assessed. The paper used the following search criteria: address = “Philippines”, timespan = 1969 to 2009, document type = {article, note, letter, review} and subject areas related to education and psychology (see paper for actual fields). The resulting documents were further processed to remove author-related or institution-related artifacts (e.g. misspelling in author names or initials or different names referring to the same institution).

Within a span of 43 years (1969-2009), the country produced only 214 papers (75 in education and 139 in psychology). Moreover, only 15 researchers in the Philippines authored or co-authored at least 3 papers indexed in SSCI database. The most published researcher is Allan B. de Guzman from the University of Santo Thomas with 21 education-related papers (2005-2009), followed by Allan B.I. Bernardo from De La Salle University with 15 papers (1994-2009). At the 3rd position is Estela Astilla from University of San Carlos with 14 psychology-related publications. Among the authors, she is also the most cited with 81 total citations. ML Onglatco from the University of the Philippines (UP) comes 4th with 8 papers in psychology. Completing the top 5 is Jose Alberto S Reyes from De La Salle University with 7 papers, also in psychology.

At the institutional level, UP has a total of 51 papers, the most number of papers among the institutions (Diliman – 35, Manila – 12, Los Banos – 4). UP is followed by De La Salle University (DLSU) with 44 papers, then University of Santo Thomas with 34 papers, University of San Carlos with 26, and the Ateneo de Manila University with 13 papers. All except two institutions with publications greater than 2 were higher education institutions.

Compared with other five ASEAN countries, the Philippines had the highest number of publications in the 1960s and the 1970s (6 and 25, respectively), though not that significant. Unfortunately it slipped down into the third position behind Thailand and Singapore in the 1980s, then into the fourth spot in the 1990s when Malaysia overtook the country. Since then, the Philippines has ranked lower compared to Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia in terms of research productivity at the individual, institutional, and national levels. On the other hand, Singapore accounts for more than 50% of the total number of publications from the six ASEAN countries and has been on the top spot starting from the 1980s.

The author pointed out that this low performance could be an indication that “research in both disciplines (education and psychology) and the dissemination of results through publication in SSCI-indexed journals might be considered peripheral activities in the Philippines rather than core activities.” Some possible explanation cited include local orientation of many social science research studies, funding, individual characteristics of researchers, and the epistemic culture of knowledge production in the country, among others.

Finally, as the author mentioned, “this is an important result because it impacts on the initiatives of the national and local government, as well as the private sector, to improve the delivery of education—(e.g., various interventions to enhance academic achievement) and psychology-related (e.g., career guidance, counseling) services, particularly to people who need them the most. This is because such initiatives might not be informed by relevant research or, if at all they are, the research results are contextualized to another country and thus might not be applicable to the Philippine setting.”


Lorelei Vinluan, Research productivity in education and psychology in the Philippines and comparison with ASEAN countries, Scientometrics 91 (2012) pp 277 – 294


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