This paper reports selected findings from the first stage of a study on the research role within academic work in Australian universities. These findings come from the interview component of the study and discuss the perceptions that senior academic administrators hold on 'research' and 'scholarship'. The analysis of the interviews indicates that 'research' covers a wide and varied range of activities across the disciplines found in a university and therefore needs to be defined broadly. However, 'research' has three major attributes: new knowledge, enquiry and publication of results and views. 'Scholarship' was perceived to be part of the research process, providing the context for good research by adding the element of breadth to the depth of 'research'. In addition, 'scholarship' describes the manner of pursuing a serious, sustained line of enquiry as well as the dissemination process.