agricultural scientists are influenced by several factors when defining the approach to their research. the aim of this paper was to identify demographic, professional and institutional aspects and internal-external influences related to the sustainable, environmental or productivist approach of scientist in aguascalientes, mexico in 2008. the approaches underwent a correlation analysis with 44 influence factors. the sustainable approach had a positive correlation with the specialty, problem-solving with institutional interest, studies on farmers' fields and investigation on farming systems; and a negative correlation with basic research and biotechnology. the environmental approach had a positive correlation with the opinion of the interdisciplinary group in the definition of the problem under investigation. the productivist approach had a positive correlation with specialty, the opinions of users and colleagues in defining the problem, studies on farmers' fields and in the experimental stations, work by technological components and with the researcher's objectivity and a negative correlation with the environmental discipline. the logistic regression model for research with a sustainable approach can be explained by the origin of the researchers, research leaves, type of institution, and source of funding, research on demand of the user and institutional priority, interdisciplinary work, studies on farming systems and by technological components. the environmental model can be explained with research leaves, approval of projects by a technical committee, studies on farmers' fields, interdisciplinary work and studies on farming systems. the productivist model had explicatory variables of the types of institution and work on farming systems.