Vietnamese Academics' Research Capacity in Tertiary Contexts
Research carried out by academics at higher education institutions (HEIs) has substantially contributed to nations’ development, particularly in a time of globalisation and internationalisation of higher education (HE). A range of studies on academics’ research have been undertaken in western contexts. Those studies can be classified into studies of academics’ research perceptions and studies of factors affecting academics’ research productivity. However, there has been a very limited number of studies on academics’ research capacity and HEIs’ research capacities in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese Government has attempted to develop its HE system to contribute to the success of its national development. Over the past ten years, the Vietnamese Government has issued a series of research related policies and has had a greater investment into the development of its HE system. However, the research capacity of Vietnamese HEIs has been lower than that of its neighbouring countries in the region. Therefore, this study was conducted with the hope that it might provide an in-depth understanding of the research capacities of Vietnamese HEIs and their academics and how they can be better fostered in the Vietnamese HE system. The study was conducted in three public HEIs at different levels in southern Vietnam: provincial, regional, and national. The study employed an interpretive case study approach with a lens of historical and sociocultural theory. Three key tools used for data collecting were surveys, individual semi-structured interviews, and document analysis. The research participants were purposefully selected from the three institutions. For data analysis, the study utilised a combined framework adapted from the predictive model department research productivity of Bland, Center, Finstad, Risbey, and Staples (2005), the model of factors affecting academics’ research productivity of Chen, Gupta, and Hoshower (2006), and Moore’s (2015) social-ecological model: Looking beyond the individual. The study’s findings indicated that the research capacities of Vietnamese HEIs and their academics were influenced by various factors at different levels. At societal level, they include socioeconomic, sociocultural, and political factors. At community level, they comprise resources, research orientation, research networks, professional development practices. At institutional level, they consist of establishment history, geographical location, and organisation. Additionally, the study identified that institutional contexts affected the academics’ research motivation and research engagement at this level. Finally, this study suggested some recommendations for both academic leaders and academics from the three HEIs and Vietnamese HE policy makers to consider so that they may find ways to enhance the research capacities of the Vietnamese HEIs and their academics’ research engagement.