This study extends previous work relating contemporary approaches to the comparative evaluation of doctoral programs, focusing on the 2004 NCA study (based on perceptual measures) and the ComVista system (based on publication patterns). Coding and analyzing the ComVista data for topical content revealed 17 clusters of intellectual activity in the field, grouped doctoral programs into nine categories of publication frequency and distribution, and found substantial prediction of NCA ratings for perceived quality of doctoral faculty. Results suggest that these data are principally based on peer perceptions of faculty publication activity, that more specialized publication activities tend to be perceived more favorably, and that the number of publishing faculty in a program is strongly related to positive perceptions of faculty quality.
Stephen, T. D. (2009), Clustering Research Activity in Communication Doctoral Programs: Relationship of Publication Productivity and Department Size to Disciplinary Reputation and Prestige. Journal of Communication, 59: 768–787. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2009.01457.x