Practice-based research


Collaborative research and practice development are the hallmarks of our Education research

Practice-based research

Practice-based research (PBR) is a distinctive feature of the culture in the School of Education, combining advancement of academic knowledge and development of practice.

PBR engages with fundamental questions concerning:

  • the nature of practitioner research
  • the way research impacts on practice
  • how practitioners develop their expertise
  • how research supports practitioner development.

Our work relates strongly to the interests of practitioners and policy makers in all phases of education (early years, primary, special, secondary, further and higher education) and to professional learning in a range of public and private sector organisations.

Working together

Practice based research works in synergy with the School's professional development and partnership work with:

  • trainee and experienced teachers
  • school leaders
  • practitioners and policy-makers.

It is a connecting theme of our research degrees.

It relates to practice in a range of contexts, including schools, early years, higher education, local authorities and other settings that focus on children and young people.

The Education School has an active programme of research seminars, public lectures and conferences.

Partnerships and building capacity of partners

Developing and sustaining long-term relationships and building the research capacity of our partners is integral to our approach.

We have a growing track record of collaborative research activity carried out in partnership with a range of organisations in:

  • education
  • social care and health
  • the third sector
  • business.

Our approach to building capacity means that participants in partner organisations can be directly involved in the research and see themselves as co-enquirers rather than subjects of the research.

The projects in which they are engaged:

  • directly inform their development
  • generate maximum impact of research on practice
  • build capacity in the organisation.

Read Research in an Uncertain World for more information on our approach.


Funders of research include:

  • Government Agencies responsible for schools
  • agencies working with children and young people such as the probation service and agencies focusing on ethnic minority and traveller achievement, drugs and alcohol, teenage pregnancy, troubled families and fostering
  • local authorities
  • international funders, such as the Malaysia Ministry of Education, the European Union and UK-India Education and Research Initiative.
  • Research, Impact and Accreditation Group - an internal working group of the National Network of Science Learning Centres
  • national bodies for the social sciences, such as the British Academy
  • specialist Schools and Academies Trust (now the Schools Network)
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Primary Science Teaching Trust.

Centre for research in professional and work-related learning

The Centre for Research in Professional and Work-Related Learning provides a focus for the School's research activities.

Research is also structured through less formal networks of staff around themes that emerge from the School's work.

Areas of research

Our overarching areas of research are:

  • teacher education and subject pedagogy
  • educational leadership
  • science education
  • Higher Education including Transnational Education.

International links

The School has active research links and collaborations with researchers and practitioners in:

  • Europe, eg Netherlands, Greece, Slovakia, Austria, Lithuania, Finland, Latvia, Portugal and Romania
  • USA
  • Canada
  • Turkey.