marriage and family therapy; research and researchers; career paths; content analysis.


The mental health field of marriage and family therapy (MFT) needs more MFT researchers and more research to validate and verify the effectiveness and efficacy of MFT for the treatment of various mental health and relational problems. Knowing more about how successful researchers have developed their careers would be useful in both inspiring and guiding young MFT researchers toward success. Three eminent researchers whose careers have focused on MFT (James Alexander, John Gottman, and Howard Liddle) and their publications served as the research sample. Research questions addressing types of research, research samples, research questions, therapy model development, funding, and paths of the research careers were answered using content analysis. Results support guidelines that include having a focused research interest area, adhering to the scientist-practitioner model, obtaining funding, maximizing the utility of research samples, and generating publications.

Original Publication Citation

Droubay, S. R., Nelson, T. S., Johnson, L. N., & Ketring, S. A. (2004). Developing a program of research: A content analysis. Contemporary Family Therapy, 26, 503-520.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date





Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor