Developing research capabilities in FE lecturers through practitioner led action research


This paper is based on a report to ESCalate, the Education Subject centre for the Higher Education Academy. It examines ways to help develop research skills in Further Education lecturers who are involved in both Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) delivery. The paper recognises the importance of research capacity building. Cunningham and Doncaster (2002) examined the possibility of linking staff development with research capacity building and suggested this as a way for a college to develop its research strategy in line with the government’s agenda. Other research exploring the development of research capacity in an FE setting identifies and constructs a new theoretical framework for a specialist FE research culture. Hillier & Jameson (2003) also highlight the important effect of research practices on individual lecturer’s teaching and learning. Traditionally college staff have not engaged in research and have therefore not necessarily developed the required skills. Our aim was to support the development of basic research skills for such staff through the planning and execution of a small-scale project that related to one aspect of the individual’s teaching practice. Action research was chosen as a methodology since it is by definition small scale and rooted in practice.
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