R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Psicologia

Unidade de I&D

Psicologia Cognitiva do Desenvolvimento e da Educação [PSY-LVT-Lisboa-332] visitada em 04/01/2008

Classificação: Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This unit is very heterogeneous in terms of quality, which ranges from excellent to poor. Previously rated very highly. Obviously, many things have changed in the meantime.
There is a large number of people, with many graduate students. Also, it is clear that these students have the facilities needed to do research (access to journals and equipment, for instance), and they appear motivated.
There are some rather weak groups (2299, 2307, and 2345) with few publications and all of them in national journals. One of these (2307) does not provide any real publication at all, only reports and abstracts. We know that the unit has reorganized itself since the last evaluation. Maybe it would be a good thing to examine the status (and number) of these three groups in order to reinforce them and align them with the stronger ones.
Indeed, these three groups are quite different from the groups making up the rest of the unit. These latter groups (577, 578, 1476, and 2438) have in most cases achieved impressive outcomes in terms of publications and contacts with researchers abroad. Also, the research projects are much sounder in terms of innovation and feasibility. If we had a suggestion for these groups, it would be to combine groups 577 and 2438 into one. Their respective interests are rather similar, while each has specificities that could enrich the whole group.
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Affective components in learning in pre-adolescents, adolescents and college students [RG-PSY-LVT-Lisboa-332-2299]
Three doctoral level researchers in the team, but between them very limited international dissemination of research (a couple of publications in somewhat marginal journals; one has a lot of conference presentations but very little else), and little experience of research supervision at doctoral level (one of the team appears to have supervised one PhD). Their previous research output in the area of the application identifies one English language publication (a chapter in an edited collection). It is hard to get excited about the research proposal -- applying constructivist approaches and self theories to the educational domain to illuminate motivational processes in this context. They could achieve something modest.
Cognition and Context [RG-PSY-LVT-Lisboa-332-577]
Programmatic research. Excellent team. Great number of publications, including international ones in very good journals.
Developmental Psychology [RG-PSY-LVT-Lisboa-332-578]
Small active group: very good previous productivity: 6 articles in Journals with IF, 1 int. publ; 5 E. publ. in books; mainly from Antonio Santos and Maria Veríssimo (the 2 main researchers in the ongoing project). Received much funding for former project.
International research collaboration mainly through invitation of excellent researchers in the field for lecturing. Title might be too broad (Developmental Psychology!). Formulation of former achievements and objectives in future research are more specified: longitudinal attachment survey in children. Former training could be better on PhD level but 13 Master theses completed. The expectations for realisation of the new project objectives are realistic mainly under the direction of the two mentioned excellent researchers; International contacts must be amplified
Life context, self and identity in adolescence [RG-PSY-LVT-Lisboa-332-2438]
Of the three doctoral level researchers, one is a PI on another project while the other two have a couple of international journal publications. The research had two only vaguely related themes, both involved studies of adolescents. One was about the relation between self concept and achievement, the other about perceptions of authority. The research has produced three English language publications (journal articles) though one of them reports research that may predate this period of funding (2003-2007). The outputs look more like independent efforts than the products of a joint, coordinated team effort. Five Masters theses were completed. Overall, the result is disappointing and does not look to have taken the field forward significantly.
Literacy Practices and Written Language Acquisition [RG-PSY-LVT-Lisboa-332-1476]
Programmatic research. Good publications (including international ones). Project is clear and feasible.
Mathematics, Science and Psychology: Learning issues and applications [RG-PSY-LVT-Lisboa-332-2307]
No real research or productivity.
Psychosocial Mechanisms in the Development and Learning Processes [RG-X-PSY-LVT-Lisboa-332-537]
School Quality and Inclusive Education [RG-PSY-LVT-Lisboa-332-2345]
No real research or productivity.
The Construction of Logical-Mathematical Concepts during Early Phases of Learning [RG-X-PSY-LVT-Lisboa-332-927]
The Genesis and Construction of Today's Education System in Portugal [RG-X-PSY-LVT-Lisboa-332-576]

Comentários da unidade

Since its foundation, Unit Number 332/94 has been evaluated by several evaluation panels as very good and excellent. It is the first time that an evaluation panel rates it as good. This evaluation will be officially contested, using Article 9, number 2 of the Regulamento do Programa de Financiamento Plurianual de Unidades de I&D.

According to the evaluation panel, “This unit is very heterogeneous in terms of quality, which ranges from excellent to poor...Obviously many things have changed in the meantime”.

In fact, changes that can be identified reflect the growth of the unit itself, namely: (1) the entrance of new members to reinforce one of the research groups, which, by the way, the evaluation panel considers to be excellent; (2) a larger number of PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, and other students doing research activities; (3) the reorganization of two research lines.

Surely, what changed in the meantime was the way in which the evaluation panel has applied the evaluation criteria. Previously, the unit was analysed in terms of its general productivity, degree of internationalisation, ability to supervise post-graduate students and if such criteria should be maintained the unit could never be classified as only “good”, as the number of publications per researcher has increased since our last evaluation, and the degree of internationalisation and our ability to attract and train post-graduate students are higher.

Now, the evaluation panel appears to value mostly one of the criteria (i.e., number of publications in journals with impact factor) at the group level and not at the whole unit level. On the other hand, the results of 3 groups (constituted by less than a third of our researchers) evaluated has having weak results (certainly only explained by a misunderstanding of our report) seems to have had a greater impact than the excellent or very good results of the remaining 4 groups representing the great majority of our researchers. It is extraordinary how this engineering process may change an excellent unit into a good one!