A decade of doctoral research in nutrition.
OBJECTIVE: To describe North American dissertation research in human nutrition from 1986 through 1995. DESIGN: A census collection. SUBJECTS/SETTING: The unit of observation was the dissertation abstract submitted to Dissertation Abstracts International for the years 1986 through 1995. Only dissertations written in English with a human nutrition subject code (0570) that lead to a PhD, DrPH, EdD, or ScD at a North American university were included (N = 2,044). Abstracts were reviewed by 2 raters who extracted pertinent data on variables describing the dissertation research (e.g., topic of dissertation, type of sample). ANALYSES: Analyses were descriptive. RESULTS: The majority (n = 1,147) of doctoral dissertations were completed by female students. Male students were more likely to study in vitro samples than female students (11% vs 4%) and female students were more likely to study human subjects (64%). Male students tended to have male advisers, although overall male advisers appeared to predominate (34% men, 24% women, 42% unknown or missing). Topic areas for dissertation work reflected gender differences. Popular topics for dissertation research have changed over time; biochemical-, micronutrient-, and obesity-related research decreased and research in development of theoretical constructs and examination of dietary habits of selected groups increased. CONCLUSIONS: From 1986 through 1995 there was an increase in the proportion of female doctoral students. Female and male students varied in the type of sample studied, gender of advisers, age group of human subjects, and topics of their dissertations. Universities emphasized different topic areas and methodologies. There appears to have been an increase in areas of applied research (e.g., dietary habits) and a decrease in basic science topic areas (e.g., micronutrients) over the 10-year period examined.
Keller, HH; Ostbye, T; Edwards, HG; Johnston, C
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