Embed a research rich culture

Are you looking to embed research and development in your school and alliance?   If so, these pages offer a range of resources, ideas and practical suggestions for becoming a research rich school. 

Schools in our survey of teaching schools told us they were looking for support with embedding R&D across the 'big 6', as well as embedding in every school in the alliance:

  • "Links with alliances who have fully embedded R&D across the Big 6" and "Models of where it have been successfully integrated across all 6 areas"

  • "Schools are very variable in engagement with R&D across the Alliance and more structure in supporting weaker schools would be helpful"

Meanwhile, some respondents told us they were looking for support and advice with demystifying research, overcoming resistance and winning hearts and minds:

  • “We would like a way to make schools believe that R&D is not on top of the day job but an integral part of it! Also an easy way to share other people's findings”

  • “An understanding that it doesn't have to be cumbersome and that in fact most staff do this on a day-to-day basis anyway”


Identify strategic priorities

  • Use our self-diagnosis tool to diagnose how far R&D is currently embedded in the life and culture of the school, in schools systems and processes, and across the continuum of professional learning and development, and identify strategic priorities for the next phase of development.

  • Get ideas on key roles and responsibilities within research rich schools, and how to review and refresh systems and processes.

  • See our case studies for examples of different approaches to embedding R&D, informed by an overarching ethos and commitment to values of reflective practice and research informed practice. 

  • Our top tips page gives further advice, hints and suggestions for schools and alliances who are looking to embed a research-rich culture of collaborative enquiry.


Suggestions for further reading

[1] Using Evidence in the Classroom: What Works and Why? (Nelson and O’Brien 2014) provides a useful overview of what is currently known about effective approaches to school and teacher engagement with evidence, as well as highlighting some of the systemic issues and challenges and suggesting actions and solutions to address them.  It is based on findings from a rapid evidence review conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research.

[2] In Evidence for the Frontline, Jonathan Sharples (2013) presents the components of what he terms a ‘knowledge mobilisation (KMb) ecosystem’.  Put simply, KMb is the process by which evidence is produced by research organisations, transformed into accessible and usable outputs through a process of collaboration and/or mediation, and implemented by teachers in order to better their teaching practice and enhance learner outcomes.

[3] Philippa Cordingley (2013) provides a useful summary of 'the contribution of research to teachers' professional learning and development' in this paper for the BERA-RSA Inquiry, drawing together findings from a series of systematic reviews of research on the components of effective CPD.  Cordingley (2009) further discusses the 'issues involved in using research and evidence as a lever for change at classroom level' in this paper presented to the American Educational Research Association in 2009.

[4] BERA’s ethical guidelines for educational research contain important information to consider in undertaking research,  such as informed consent, permission to withdraw and the responsibilities of researchers to respect all persons involved in research. For a selective bibliography on ethics in educational and social research, and an overview of the philosophical literature on ethics, see this paper by Professor Martyn Hammersley (The Open University) and Dr Anna Traianou (Goldsmiths).  The 'ethical issues in teacher-led research' are discussed by Nick Rose (2015) @turnfordblog and in Gary Jones' (2015) blog, 'We need to talk about researchEDthics'.