Developing research capabilities in FE lecturers through practitioner led action research

Grant type: Development (2000-08)
Round: October 2004
Amount awarded £4,000.00
Completed: January 2007
Leader(s): Ian Minty
Organisation: Lews Castle College, UHI Millennium Institute
Contact Email:
Contact phone: 01851-770415
Address: Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS2 0XR
Ann McKay
Inverness College, UHI
Dr Elisabet Weedon
University of Edinburgh
Dr Kate Morss
Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Nanette Pearson
Perth College, UHI
Start Date: 1 October 2004
End Date: 30 November 2006
Interim report received: 20 January 2009
Final report received: 22 May 2008

The main aim of this project is to develop research skills in Further Education lecturers who are involved in both FE and HE delivery. Recent developments in FE have recognised the needs to develop research capacity within FE institutions and a number of networks have responded[1] (UHI Millennium Institute (UHI) is a partnership of 15 colleges and research institutions in the Highlands and Islands of Northern Scotland. See also the FE Regional Research Network (FERRN) for Fife and the Lothians. The importance of research is well embedded in both networks), while some recent research has focussed on the role of FE in furthering the government’s continuous improvement agenda.

Many staff within the colleges that form UHI Millennium Institute (UHI) are in a position of having to teach at both FE and HE level and are increasingly expected to engage with research. Traditionally, however, FE lecturers have not engaged in research and have therefore not developed the required skills[2].

This project aims to develop basic research skills through the planning and execution of a small-scale project linked to a relevant literature search that relates to one aspect of the individual’s teaching practice. It aims to encourage the development of a community of researching practitioners by establishing a mainly online discussion group to support practitioners[3]. The project thus aims to develop research and collaborative skills whilst also developing a greater understanding of teaching and learning and should therefore encourage reflection on teaching and learning and potentially impact on future delivery.

  1. Cunningham J. and Doncaster K. Developing a Research Culture in the FE Sector: a case-study of work-based approach to staff development. Journal of Further and Higher Education., Vol. 26, No 1, 2002
  2. Hillier, Y. and Jameson J. Empowering Researchers in FE. Trentham. 2003
  3. Wenger, E. Communities of Practice: learning, meaning and identity. CUP. 1998