8.1 Sharing with and influencing others

Although your practitioner research may primarily be for your own benefit, it is still important to share your findings with others. You may also, in some cases, be able to influence curriculcum development or how students are supported.

Here is some guidance on how to do this, and the various methods you can use.

Sharing your research with others

If you are already in a scholarship or research community, then sharing the process and findings of that research will be much easier as there are likely to be existing outlets for dissemination. If not, then you will have to be a little more creative if you would like other people to know about your research.

If you are an Associate Lecturer then tutor forums are the obvious place to discuss your research, and to post any findings. If your research focussed on a particular module then you should also, as a matter of courtesy, send a copy of findings to the Module Team. However, as will be mentioned below, this does not guarantee that any recommendations will be acted on.

More generally, researchers are increasingly using blogs, Twitter and Facebook as a way of keeping people up to date with on-going research, as well as the findings of that research.

Examples of a quite fun and informal way to share research are the project blog and website of the Hugging the Coast project, mentioned earlier. Their website is:http://huggingthecoast.net/

Influencing others

However good your research and interesting and valuable your findings there is no guarantee that you will be able to influence other people. It may simply be that the development of a particular module has moved on since the research began or that now is simply not the right time to affect change.

There are, however, some ways to improve your chances of getting your research noticed and possibly even taken up. They are:

Do good research
Although there is no guarantee that good research will be able to influence colleagues, there is an absolute guarantee that bad research won't. As such, at whatever level you are doing practitioner research, you need to ensure that the research process you have followed is as thorough as possible.

Work or liaise with a Module Team
The close association of research with curriculum development possible within a Module Team also means that suggested changes resulting from that research are more likely to be considered for implementation than projects which have little to do with the development and management of the module.

Work within a scholarship or practitioner research network
Being part of a larger network or community is a good way to discuss your research and generally be more aware of what is happening across the institution.

A number of networks have been established at the Open University which actively support scholarship and practitioner research. They tend to be faculty based and so it is worth keeping an eye open for posters or enquiring of colleagues. One of the bigger networks is eSTEeM, which operates across Science and Mathematics, Computing and Technology. Although generally only academics within these two faculties are eligible to become Project Leaders, many of the events organized by eSTEeM are open to anyone across the University.

As indicated previously, research groups, clusters or centres can also be good locus for practitioner research. Again, these vary according to the particular faculty but there are a number which operate within CREET (Centre for Research in Education and Education Technology) which are of general relevance. These are:

  • Applied Language and Literacies Research Unit (ALLRU)
  • Computers and Learning Research Group (CALRG)
  • Educational Dialogue Research Unit (EDRU)
  • Higher Education Policy and Practice Research Group (HEPPRG)
  • Policy, Professionalism, Leadership and Lifelong Learning (PPLL)
  • Technology and Learning Research Group (TLRG)
Last modified: Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014, 16:44