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PLoS one

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College teaching -- Methodology, Effective teaching, Doctoral students -- Research


Many current faculty believe that teaching effort and research success are inversely correlated. This trade-off has rarely been empirically tested; yet, it still impedes efforts to increase the use of evidence-based teaching (EBT), and implement effective teaching training programs for graduate students, our future faculty. We tested this tradeoff for graduate students using a national sample of life science PhD students. We characterize how increased training in EBT impacts PhD students' confidence in their preparation for a research career, in communicating their research, and their publication number. PhD students who invested time into EBT did not suffer in confidence in research preparedness, scientific research communication, or in publication number. Instead, overall, the data trend towards a slight synergy between investing in EBT and research preparation. Thus, the tension between developing research and teaching skills may not be salient for today's graduate students. This work is proof of concept that institutions can incorporate training in EBT into graduate programs without reducing students' preparedness for a research career. Although some institutions already have graduate teaching programs, increasing these programs at scale, and including training in EBT methods could create a new avenue for accelerating the spread of evidence-based teaching and improved teaching across higher education.


© 2018 Shortlidge, Eddy. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Originally appeared in PLoS one, 13 (6), 2018. Published by the Public Library of Science. May be found at



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