Sources of research evidence
A starting point, of course, is one’s own classroom. For practical advice on classroom research, see ‘Enquiry’ - the supplementary chapter on this website. Other good sources of advice include:
- Nelson, J. and O’Beirne, C. (2014) Using Evidence in the Classroom: What Works and Why? Slough: NFER. Download at: http://www.nfer.ac.uk/publications/IMPA01/IMPA01_home.cfm?publicationID=1057&title=%20Using%20Evidence%20in%20the%20Classroom
- The Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) at: http://www.esri.mmu.ac.uk/carnnew/index.php
- Lesson Study at: http://lessonstudy.co.uk/
An excellent guide to action research from the British Educational Research Association is:
McAteer, M. (2013) Action Research in Education. London: SAGE.
For a US example on action research, see: http://teachersnetwork.org/tnli/Action_Research_Booklet.pdf
With the increased emphasis on evidence informed practice, new databases, reviewing resources and support web-sites are becoming available.
The Governments and General Teaching Councils of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have relatively clear provision to develop and implement education policy and to support teacher development and school improvement – including the use of research evidence. In particular, they offer parallel websites which are complemented by independent provision from teacher associations, public bodies, pressure groups, higher education and other stakeholders. For each country below, we list the main Government site, the Education Department, its website for teachers and the national General Teaching Council.
In England, the situation is more complex. We start clearly enough, with the website of the Department of Education at: www.education.gov.uk
A large number of web-based resources to support evidence-informed professional judgement were developed in England before May 2010, but were closed by the Coalition Government. At the time of writing, there is no comprehensive, consolidated source of advice and evidence tailored for English circumstances, though www.teachfind.com is a good place to search for teaching resources.
Fortunately, many of the previous resources have been harvested in archives of various sorts. They remain available at no cost because of publishing conditions, and some sites do add to the range of resources.
The most comprehensive specialist education archive is the Digital Education Resource Archive, managed by the Newsam Library at the Institute of Education, University of London, at: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/. This archive is home to material from BECTA (on information technology), the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency, Teacher Development Agency, and many other UK organisations. TLRP’s archive is also in the Newsam Library.
For grey literature from a wide range of organisations, see the Educational Evidence Portal at: www.eep.ac.uk
For academic papers see the British Education Index at: www.leeds.ac.uk/bei. This site includes a special TLRP collection but the main site of the Teaching and Learning Research Programme remains freely available at: http://www.researchcatalogue.esrc.ac.uk/grants/RES-139-34-1003/read/outputs. Its Research Briefings, Commentaries and Reflective Activities can be downloaded from there or, in most cases, from www.reflectiveteaching.co.uk
The website of the GTC England, including its very useful work on pedagogy, is available from: www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/. Its valuable research summary resources have been preserved through the Teaching and Learning Academy at: www.tla.ac.uk.
Other teacher support resources of the former English Government, such as TeacherNet, the Standards Site, and National Strategies are available through: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/.
The Teacher Training Resource Bank, which provided an enormous range of material for student teachers, is being prepared for relaunch by a project at the University of Canterbury.
Other material has been harvested by private companies providing websites such as: www.teachingexpertise.com.
The Centre for the Utilisation of Research and Evidence in Education (CUREE) has made exceptional contributions to producing materials for teachers and there are useful links from their site at: www.curee.org.uk. These include Research Tasters, Research Nuggets and Research Bites.
The website of England’s National Teacher Research Panel survives at: www.ntrp.org.uk.
Government agencies are reorganized from time to time and, from 2010, were more closely integrated into the Department of Education. Among the most important are: the National College for School Leadership (www.education.gov.uk/nationalcollege) and the Training Agency (www.education.gov.uk/get-into-teaching). Ofsted remains outside the DfE to symbolize its independence, though its leadership is directly appointed by the Secretary of State: Ofsted.gov.uk.
SSAT (The Schools Network) Ltd (www.ssatuk.co.uk) replaced the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and is committed to school improvement through ‘inquiry, innovation, inspiration and impact’. They support, for example, the analysis of performance and inspection data from schools. See: http://ssatuk.co.uk/ssat/programmes-support/data/
The Education Endowment Foundation (www.educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk) is a new charity with a £125m grant from the Department for Education to promote the use of evidence to raise attainment of disadvantaged pupils.
An innovative and independent consortium is that of the Expansive Education Network which seeks to support ‘real world learning’ and a wide range of learning capabilities (see http://expansiveeducation.net/).
In terms of sources of academic research and evidence on teaching, learning and education, almost all of the UK’s universities make a contribution and this will be evident from departmental and faculty websites. Some are configured to maximise the impact of their research, and may encourage participation in events and even collaboration in projects.
The most important UK resource for taking stock of what is known in the social sciences is the EPPI-Centre (Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre) at the Institute of Education, University of London. Since 1993, EPPI has pioneered methods for selecting and synthsising knowledge of various types in relation to key issues – many of which are educational. See the ‘evidence library’ at: http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/cms.
For ‘Evidence Informed Policy and Practice in Education in Europe’, see www.eippee.eu. This project is based at the Institute of Education in London and provides exceptional access to international research synthesis and reviews.