CZAAWE Resource Article

Factors facilitating research: a survey of zoo and aquarium professionals
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract The purpose of this survey was to assess the background, training, and perceptions of professionals conducting and coordinating research at North American zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and to identify the factors they considered critical to successful scientific programs. We analyzed responses to a 57-item questionnaire from 231 professionals at AZA zoos and aquariums. The majority of those surveyed conducted behavioral research, conducted research only in a captive setting, held curatorial positions, had their salaries supported by their institutions' operating budget, and considered themselves part of a successful scientific program. About 30% of those we surveyed possessed a doctoral research degree in comparison to 55% possessing lesser level degrees—19% with master's, 34% with bachelor's, and 2% with other degrees. Support from the chief executive officer and personnel dedicated to conducting scientific programs were judged as the two most important factors contributing to the successful scientific programs. The information provided in this report may be used to develop and improve both established and newly initiated scientific programs in zoos and aquariums. Zoo Biol 29:663–675, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.