Good researchers are not always good teachers

Professor and researcher on class

Study reveals that undergraduate students do not evaluate teachers who do research with high scores. Unlike master's degree students who do qualify them well.


Research and teaching are closely linked, but both require very different skills –at least it is the deduction that a recent investigation states.

To establish the relationship between the quality of research and the quality of teaching, academics from the University of Maastricht and the University of Tilburg, from The Netherlands, compared the outcomes of thousands of students in the same course but with different teachers.

Researchers considered the number of records of publications made by teachers, as well as results in student grades and evaluations of teaching practices.

Key findings

Students do not give higher scores to teachers with a higher number of publications. Undergraduate students even give lower ratings to teachers who generate research and publications.

Master’s degree students evaluate teachers with research and publications better. The study's analysts claim that excellent research performance contributes to higher teacher quality in master´s degree programs as long as the quality of teaching is good.

It is necessary to consider teaching skills when conducting evaluations. The evaluation scores should reflect the personality and experience of the professor. Otherwise, a demanding teacher may receive negative assessments compared to a teacher with fun strategies.

This type of studies serves to improve the distribution of human resources. For example, a professor with high-volume research may be more effective teaching a master's degree subject rather than an introductory course; his instruction can be more specific, thus causing greater interest and interaction in the students.

In any case, the more prepared a professor is, the more powerful his lesson will be. Teacher endeavor requires research work. However, it also needs training in instructional skills to convey the educational content in compelling ways.