3.2 Involving colleagues

Practitioner research provides excellent opportunities to work with colleagues across the Open University. However, you need to consider the extent to which you consider the people you are working with you as informants, collectors of data or co-researchers in your research. 

Working with other Associate Lecturers

Practitioner research has traditionally given teachers to opportunity to compare their own teaching, and their students' learning, with that of their colleagues. The Open University procedures in place to protect students from being over-sampled may make it harder to collaborate with colleagues on a research project.

However, it would still be possible for individual Associate Lecturers to conduct separate but similar projects and then compare the findings. Sharing and discussing the findings with other Associate Lecturer colleagues, perhaps through a tutor forum, is also a valuable activity

Working with a Module Team

Practitioner research conducted within a module team setting can be a very effective means of developmental testing of new modules as well as providing a good focus for research.

Given the ability of a Module Team to directly influence curriculum development it goes without saying that practitioner research conducted by or on behalf of a Module Team has a much better chance of being implemented than research which is conducted independently.

Employing Associate Lecturers as consultants

Within the Open University many Associate Lecturers are employed as consultants to undertake some or all of the data collection with the lead researcher responsible for analysing and presenting the data collected.

If an Associate lecturer has been employed to analyze as well as collect data this suggests that they are effectively co-researchers. Consideration needs to be given, therefore, to the role of the Associate Lecturer in any research and whether credit should be given to the Associate Lecturer in any subsequent publications.

Associate Lecturers as research participants

There has been a huge increase in recent years in Open University research involving Associate Lecturers as informants. This has led to calls that ALs should have the right, as students do, to opt out of participation in institutional research. As such, it may be the case in future that restrictions will be placed on Associate Lecturer participation in research.

In the meantime, as with student participants, it is good practice not just to assume, because they are Associate Lecturers, that they will take part, and to make clear what their involvement will be. For funded projects, it has been traditional to pay Associate Lecturers for their time, but this may not always be possible in smaller-scale projects.

Last modified: Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014, 16:18