Examining the Nature of Published Research About Mentoring in Higher Education
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The various forms of mentoring relationships in higher education have all proven to be valuable, offering numerous benefits to mentors and protégés. Research into mentoring provides critical insight into aspects of these relationships, which can be used to advance theoretical and practical understandings of the topic. However, little is known about the methodological characteristics of the mentoring research itself. Using descriptive quantitative content analysis, I examined five years of articles published in five scholarly journals to determine the prevalence of research about mentoring in higher education. Not surprisingly, the prevalence of these articles differed significantly among journals in higher education (1.07% to 3.13%) compared to the considerably higher prevalence rate of 53.15% for the mentoring journal, Mentoring & Tutoring [χ2 (4, N = 82) = 143.98, p < .01]. I also report findings related to the prevalence of different empirical research traditions, research designs, and data sources, as well as various populations, such as faculty members or graduate students who serve as mentors or protégés. Given the limited number of mentoring articles published in higher education journals, I was unable to compare methodological characteristics across journals. Implications for theory, research, and practice in the area of mentoring in higher education are also suggested. Understanding the methodological characteristics of the current literature allows researchers to tailor their current studies by either continuing with existing trends in methodological approaches or seeking opportunities to incorporate under-utilized research traditions, designs, or data sources, with the aim of continuing to improve mentoring knowledge and outcomes.