Inside research, inside oursevles: teacher educators take stock of their research practice

Neil Houston, Hamish Ross, Jannet Robinson, Heather Malcolm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper tells the story of how a group of teacher educators in a university education department used action research to examine their research situation, and what conclusions they reached. Some recent historical background puts the study in context, identifying tensions between university expectations and time‐heavy teaching demands that operated as obstacles to research activity. This context is shared by many academics who provide training for practitioners in UK universities that seek substantial funding through their performance in national research quality assessments. The project was initially organised in Spring 2007 by new research staff who had investigated staff perceptions of and interests in research through semi‐formal interviews, observations and documentation. An invited group turned to action research as a possible way forward. They asked the question ‘What kind of research culture do we want, and how can we get it?’ Over a year, all participants gathered at semi‐formal meetings for collaborative reflection and discussion, engaged in a diversity of micro‐researches that experimented with ways of researching around the barriers, and wrote a collaborative paper about what they had learned. This gave rise to a series of national and international conference presentations that drew several of the group members into the wider research community. The group members grew to realise that the kind of research that they perceived the institution to value was not necessarily a kind that was readily built into their identities as teacher educators. But this realisation itself was empowering, exposing previously opaque assumptions that had left a felt irreconcilability that had been difficult to articulate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-569
JournalEducational Action Research
Issue number4
Early online date29 Nov 2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • teacher education
  • research
  • collaboration
  • barriers
  • strategies


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