Topic Modeling the Research-Practice Gap in Public Administration

Richard M. Walker*, Yanto Chandra, Jiasheng Zhang, Arjen van Witteloostuijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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The possible existence of a research-practice gap is the topic of a long-standing debate in the field of public administration. In this Viewpoint essay, the authors examine the agendas of scholars and practitioners using the topic modeling technique of computational social science. Topic modeling a content analysis of 35 topics identified in Public Administration Review and PA Times (3,796 articles) showed that just over 50 percent of topics were common to both groups, indicating shared interests. There were, however, topics that the two groups distinctly focused on. Moreover, scholars and practitioners attached significant differences to the weights allocated to the prominent topics in their writing. Taken together, these findings indicate that topic modeling can shed new light on the research-practice gap in public administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-937
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number6
Early online date28 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


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