Teachers’ Engagement with Research Texts: Beyond Instrumental, Conceptual or Strategic Use

Jul. 01, 2015

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Volume 41, Issue 5, 2015, Pages 478-492

This article analyses data from two studies in English comprehensive schools, in which teachers were given research reports about teaching gifted and talented students, and supported over a 12-month period, to incorporate findings into practitioner research projects of their own devising. Data were collected through participant observation data, interviews and teachers’ written reports. Data were analysed in three phases.

The findings revealed that the teachers used research in instrumental and strategic ways, but only very occasionally. More frequently, their use of research was conceptual. Within this category, research influenced what teachers thought about, and how they thought. The process is theorised as a ‘long, focused discussion’, to which research contributed a ‘third voice’, in dialogue with individual teachers (the ‘first voice’) and their colleagues (the ‘second voice’). It is argued that this theory, whilst tentative, provides an appropriately nuanced framework for further investigations of teachers’ use of research evidence.

Updated: Aug. 30, 2017