Academic & Student Affairs

Strategies for linking research and teaching

Below are some suggestions of how research and teaching can be linked for students (Jenkins and Zetter 2003).

1.      Research-led teaching: the curriculum is structured around teaching subject content (students learning about others’ research) – as well as current research within the subject this can include how the discipline has developed through research, including core concepts and paradigms.

2.       Research-oriented teaching: the curriculum emphasises how knowledge is constructed in the subject or discipline (students learning to do research) – this includes:

a)      Research skills training, including students putting these skills into practice on topics that are either given to them or are of their choosing (with support).
b)      Using staff research with students where the students look at the research design, methods and data sets.  They then use these to rework the data analysis.
c)       Ask students to look at a research article and indicate what research design they would use.

3.       Research-based teaching: students undertake research and inquiry (students learning in research mode). As well as dissertations, projects and group projects which are grounded in research training, this could include:

a)      linking these to staff research projects.
b)      providing opportunities for suitable students to work on staff research projects during the vacation.
c)       This could also include assessing students in ways that mirror the discipline research processes – for example, require students to write up their assignments as for a peer-reviewed journal.  As part of this the students could peer-review each other’s submissions before the final submission, these could be presented at a student conference and selected submissions could be published in a student research journal.  

4.      Research-tutored teaching: the curriculum emphasises learning focussed on students reading, writing and discussing papers or essays (students engaging in research discussion). 

a)      Ask students to deconstruct a published article to critique the research methods, analysis and discussion of results – this teaches them to begin to question what has been done.  Students are not simply looking for the subject content, but how the research has been put together.
b)      Invite students to research seminars.
c)      3c above could also come under this category.  

For more discipline-based and specific examples see Healey and Jenkins (2009a).  Whilst these relate to specific disciplines many are transferrable to other subjects.