The Nexus of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Nonprofit Studies: An Empirical Mapping of Research Topics and Knowledge Integration with Megan LePere Schloop, Ph.D. and Becky Nesbitt
The interdisciplinary fields of public administration (PA), public policy studies (PP), and nonprofit studies (nonprofit) all contribute to our understanding of public affairs, but the nature and extent of their knowledge integration are empirically unclear. This study, recently published in Public Administration Review, adapts Rafols and Meyer's framework for understanding interdisciplinary research integration and applies bibliometric and qualitative methods to analyze citation trends among PA, PP, and nonprofit journal articles published between 2009 and 2020. Our findings reveal that articles in PA and PP journals cite nonprofit journals at a low (but consistent) rate, while those in nonprofit journals cite their PA and PP counterparts more frequently. Using qualitative coding, we developed a taxonomy of 15 broad research categories at the nexus of the fields: three of these (collaboration, networks, and partnerships; public service provision; and financial management) were shown to integrate knowledge from PA/PP and nonprofits, while several others indicated the potential to do so.
Megan LePere-Schloop, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of public and nonprofit management in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University. Her research draws on organizational theory and science of science to contribute to the field of public affairs. Her work often leverages computational methods (text mining, machine learning, etc.) to analyze large qualitative datasets to address important questions about macro structures and processes including knowledge production in public affairs scholarship and the composition and change of nonprofit organizational fields. Her research is published in top public affairs journals including Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, the Journal for Public Administration Research and Theory, and Public Administration Review. She was honored to receive the 2021 Felice Perlmutter award from the ARNOVA Theory, Issues and Boundaries Section with Dr. Nesbit for this paper.
Rebecca Nesbit, Ph.D. is an associate professor of nonprofit management in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia. Dr. Nesbit received her Ph.D. in public affairs from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. She also has a Master of Public Administration degree from Brigham Young University. Dr. Nesbit’s research explores issues of philanthropy and volunteerism, public policy and management in the nonprofit and public sectors. In particular, Dr. Nesbit conducts research on volunteer programs, volunteers’ characteristics and motivations, and volunteer management in public and nonprofit organizations. Her work has appeared in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, Public Administration Review, the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, and Administration & Society.
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