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  • Author(s): Dr Holly Smith
  • Title: Relationships between Teaching and Research
  • Subject: HE - Education
  • Keywords: UKOER, UKPSF, OMAC, CPD4HE, research-teaching relationship, research-led, research-based, research-informed, research-oriented teaching, scholarship of teaching, higher education
  • Language(s): English
  • Material type(s): Text
  • File format(s): ZIP, HTML, PDF, DOC
  • File size: Various
  • Publish Date: 31 October 2011
  • Licence: CC-BY-NC-SA

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Relationships between Teaching and Research

There is a simplistic view that research involves knowledge production and teaching involves knowledge transmission, and that these are discrete activities. In this view the relationship between teaching and research is limited to the outcomes of research forming the content of teaching. However, I believe that this does not reflect the complex reality of academic work in any discipline, and runs the risk of creating two antagonistic activities. As most academics are involved in both teaching and research, finding ways to integrate them more effectively is essential as we come under more and more pressure to increase ‘productivity’ in both teaching and research.

The unit consists of: an introduction, which outlines some of the different ways in which writers have viewed and described research-teaching relationships; a series of activities; and an annotated bibliography.

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  • Introduction - PDF (59KB) | DOC (75KB)
  • Activities - PDF (249KB) | DOC (113KB)
  • Annotated Bibliography - PDF (79KB) | DOC (84KB)

Licence

Creative Commons Licence
Relationships between Teaching and Research by Dr Holly Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at www.ucl.ac.uk.


Details

  • Author(s): Dr Holly Smith
  • Title: Relationships between Teaching and Research
  • Subject: HE - Education
  • Keywords: UKOER, UKPSF, OMAC, CPD4HE, research-teaching relationship, research-led, research-based, research-informed, research-oriented teaching, scholarship of teaching, higher education
  • Language(s): English
  • Material type(s): Text
  • File format(s): ZIP, HTML, PDF, DOC
  • File size: Various
  • Publish Date: 31 October 2011
  • Licence: CC-BY-NC-SA

Downloads

Details

  • Author(s): Dr Holly Smith
  • Title: Relationships between Teaching and Research
  • Subject: HE - Education
  • Keywords: UKOER, UKPSF, OMAC, CPD4HE, research-teaching relationship, research-led, research-based, research-informed, research-oriented teaching, scholarship of teaching, higher education
  • Language(s): English
  • Material type(s): Text
  • File format(s): ZIP, HTML, PDF, DOC
  • File size: Various
  • Publish Date: 31 October 2011
  • Licence: CC-BY-NC-SA

Downloads

Licence

Creative Commons Licence
Relationships between Teaching and Research by Dr Holly Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at www.ucl.ac.uk.

Introduction

There is a simplistic view that research involves knowledge production and teaching involves knowledge transmission, and that these are discrete activities. In this view the relationship between teaching and research is limited to the outcomes of research forming the content of teaching. Hattie & Marsh (1996) published an oft-cited meta-analysis which found a very small positive relationship between quantifiable performance in teaching and research. This could lead to the conclusion that there is not really much relationship between research and teaching at all. However, I believe that this does not reflect the complex reality of academic work in any discipline, and runs the risk of creating two antagonistic activities. As most academics are involved in both teaching and research, finding ways to integrate them more effectively is essential as we come under more and more pressure to increase ‘productivity’ in both teaching and research.Many authors have set out much richer ways to conceptualise the ‘research teaching nexus’ as it is sometimes called, including Ernst Boyer, Angela Brew, Stephen Rowland, Mick Healey and Alan Jenkins, a selection of whose work you will find in the annotated bibliography in this resource. It is worth noting that different authors take very different approaches, and you will find some more relevant to your own context than others.

Boyer (1990, 1994) set out a new conceptual framework for thinking about academic work as scholarship. Boyer suggested that scholarship shouldn’t be limited to what he called the ‘scholarship of discovery’. Boyer set out a typology of scholarship:

  • Scholarship of Discovery
  • Scholarship of Integration
  • Scholarship of Application
  • Scholarship of Teaching

Boyer’s work has created a whole movement around the ‘scholarship of teaching’; which he describes as advancing and applying knowledge about teaching and learning. This conceptualisation dismantles the distinction between teaching and research as, for example, an activity like writing a textbook involves the scholarship of integration; synthesising existing knowledge. Writing a textbook would be hard to classify as teaching (as it might not directly involve any students) or research (as it might not involve saying anything entirely new) but it absolutely is scholarly, academic work. For the author of the textbook, the process of writing it could inform both their teaching and their research.

Griffiths (2004) defined a number of different models of the research-teaching nexus as follows:

  • Teaching can be research-led in the sense that the curriculum is structured around subject content, and the content selected is directly based on the specialist research interests of teaching staff; teaching is based on a traditional ‘information transmission' model; the emphasis is on understanding research findings rather than research processes; little attempt is made to capture the two-way benefits of the research teaching relationship.
  • Teaching can be research-oriented in the sense that the curriculum places emphasis as much on understanding the processes by which knowledge is produced in the field as on learning the codified knowledge that has been achieved; careful attention is given to the teaching of inquiry skills and on acquiring a ‘research ethos’; the research experiences of the teaching staff are brought to bear in a more diffuse way.
  • Teaching can be research-based in the sense that the curriculum is largely designed around inquiry–based activities, rather than on the acquisition of subject content; the experiences of staff in processes of inquiry are highly integrated into the student learning activities; the division of roles between teacher and student is minimized; the scope for two-way interactions between research and teaching is deliberately exploited.
  • Teaching can be research-informed in the sense that it draws consciously on systematic inquiry into the teaching and learning process itself.

Griffiths (2004) p722

I would like to argue for what Griffiths (2004) call the 'research-based' model. If you see yourself primarily as a disciplinary researcher, it is fruitful to explore what unites your own learning through your research with your students’ learning through your teaching. Griffiths’ ‘research-based’ teaching attempts to make student learning more research-like, through enquiry. Rowland (2006) has described how enquiry reintegrates teaching and research through a love of one’s subject. A consequence of an approach based on enquiry is that academics have greater solidarity with students who are engaged with the same project, but are simply less experienced. Teaching based on enquiry requires a reorientation towards one’s students, who become co-constructors of disciplinary knowledge. This is challenging to the existing power structures of the academy, and the social structures of departments can support or undermine this shift. There may also be disciplinary differences; disciplines where knowledge is organised hierarchically may be less willing to acknowledge the potential original contribution of undergraduates, while simultaneously having a strong tradition of experimental or project work which exemplifies an enquiry-based approach. Disciplines where knowledge is constructed in a more iterative way may be theoretically open to the possibility of a new interpretation offered by undergraduate students, but in practice can use very traditional assessments, such as essays in unseen exams, which only require the regurgitation of existing knowledge.

This conceptualisation is what Simons & Elen (2007) call the ‘idealistic approach’ drawing on Humboldt to argue that a distinction between teaching and learning only makes sense where a teacher can transmit a fixed and accepted body of true knowledge. Academics are involved in research, where all knowledge is provisional. Thus in this conception the research process becomes the curriculum.

In these activities I ask you to engage with the question of how research and teaching relate in your own discipline. By engaging with different ways of thinking about the relationship between teaching and research, I hope it will help you to think through how they relate in your current practice, and how you want them to relate in your future practice. This invites further questions on what your purposes are in teaching; are you trying to develop the next Nobel Prize winner in your discipline, or prepare the next generation of skilful practitioners in your profession? You may have multiple purposes, but considering if your curriculum is fit for purpose requires clarity about your purposes and a shared sense of purpose with colleagues in your department.

Licence

Creative Commons Licence
Relationships between Teaching and Research by Dr Holly Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at www.ucl.ac.uk.


Activities

1. Discipline as an identity

Can you remember when you first felt like you were a ‘real’ or ‘proper’ [insert your own discipline here; geographer, physicist, etc.] rather than just someone studying [insert your own discipline here; geography, physics, etc.]. Thinking about this feeling write a note reflecting on this time.

  • What made you feel like that?
  • What stage of your studies were you at?
  • Do you still feel that way today?
  • Would other people notice that you are a [insert your own discipline here; geographer, physicist, etc.]?
  • How could they tell?

2. Researching how students use their degrees

Most universities collect data on what their students do after graduation through graduate destination surveys. Some departments collect their own information in addition to this. For this activity, see if you can find out what the students who graduated most recently from your department went on to do. You may already be familiar with this data, but if not, were there any surprises? What percentage of your department’s graduates do you estimate are using what you taught them? Do you think they are using the facts or information they learned, or the methods, approaches, processes, and critical thinking the learned?

See if you can organise a survey of students who have graduated from your department, maybe through the alumni office or department. Try asking them:

  • If there are any similarities between what they are doing now and what they did for their studies of your subject?
  • Of all the things they learned, what do they use most often in their current role?
  • Is there anything they couldn’t see the point of at the time, but now find useful?
  • Is there anything in their studies they really think they will never think about again?
  • Could they have got their current position/carry out their current role with a degree in a different subject?

You could do this very informally if you are still in touch with some of your students, maybe just an email or phone call. Make a note of their responses to share with colleagues in your department. Maybe it could be an item for the departmental teaching committee. What do your colleagues think of your findings?

3. The research teaching relationship in your discipline (Rosalind Duhs & Holly Smith)

You need to find a colleague in your own discipline or department to talk to for this activity. Look at the figure below from Jenkins, Healey, & Zetter (2007) which sets out their conceptualisation of the research teaching relationship.

Fig 1 from Jenkins, A., Healey, M. And Zetter, R. (2007) Linking teaching and research in disciplines and departments. Higher Education Academy. http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/LinkingTeachingAndResearch_April07.pdf

Jenkins, Healey, Zetter (2007) research-teaching nexus image

Choosing one topic or sub-discipline of your subject, which of the four approaches described in these quadrants (1. Research-tutored, 2. Research-based, 3. Research-led, 4. Research-oriented) best characterises the approach taken to teaching this topic in your department? Choose another approach you are interested in. How would you change

  • the curriculum
  • the teaching methods
  • the activities for students
  • the assessment

if you wanted to make it more like the approach you have chosen? Which approach do you think is most appropriate for this topic? Can you introduce elements from the other approaches?

4. Set yourself an essay question.

Try this exercise as a piece of ‘free writing’. Set yourself a short time, no more than 10 minutes, and start writing. The rules for ‘free writing’ are no interruptions, and no stopping, even if you think you are writing nonsense just keep going until your time is up!

Suggested Essay Questions

  • How does your teaching inform your research?
  • What do you learn about your subject from your teaching?
  • Can you be a good researcher without being a good teacher, and vice versa?
  • Are students part of the community of scholars in your discipline?
  • Are your teaching methods informed by research about learning, teaching and assessment?

Try making up your own question.

5. Imaginary Research (Gedankenexperiment)

This activity may be more relevant to you if you are from a natural or social science discipline where laboratory work and experimental design are important. There are many barriers to getting students engaged in ‘real’ research; equipment is expensive or requires special training, there are ethical questions, it can be too dangerous, or it takes longer than the duration of the unit of study. One solution to all these problems is to get students to design or plan a piece of research, without all the trouble, expense and time of actually carrying it out.

Planning research can be a really useful way for students to practice solving problems in the discipline, and group discussion with can allow a tutor to share experience of the common pitfalls and practical difficulties in actually carrying it out. The biggest advantage is that designing an experiment is so much quicker than actually doing one, you can get students to design 10 experiments in the time it would take them to collect a trivial amount of data for one experiment in a lab class. You can assess their research plans too, criteria might include: would the research generate data that could be analysed to answer the original question? Does the research plan enable alternative explanations to be ruled out? Could the research be carried out safely in line with ethical guidelines?

Design a formative or summative assessment for students in your discipline which requires them to design an experiment or plan a piece of research to address an important question in your subject. 

Licence

Creative Commons Licence
Relationships between Teaching and Research by Dr Holly Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at www.ucl.ac.uk.


Annotated Bibliography

Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. Princeton, NJ: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

The famous Carnegie Foundation Report which sets out Boyer's paradigm of scholarship: the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application and the scholarship of teaching. A lively field or movement has grown up using the term "scholarship of teaching" which is very relevant to consideration of the relationship between research and teaching.

Boyer, E. (1994). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities for a New Century. In Universities in the twenty-first century: A lecture series. London: National Commission on Education, pp 110-132.

This is the verbatim text of a lecture by Boyer which puts his 'scholarships' approach from the Carnegie Foundation Report in the context of the history of higher education in the USA. A record of the comments of other professors are also included, with Boyer's responses, which captures the flavour of the discussion at the time.

Brew, A. (2003). Teaching and Research: New relationships and their implications for inquiry-based teaching and learning in higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 22 (1), 3-18.

This paper starts from the position that teaching and research should be in close alignment, and sets out two alternative models for the relationship between teaching and research. She contrasts the 'old model' of academics doing research as knowledge generation and teaching as knowledge transmission with her idealistic 'new model'. The 'new model' draws on ideas of situated practice from Lave & Wenger (1993), and on scholarship from Boyer (1990) and approaches to teaching from Prosser & Trigwell (1999) as well as her own previously published conceptualisations of research. The 'new model' is student focused and concentrates on conceptual change, knowledge is constructed and students are legitimate peripheral participants in academic communities of practice. Brew argues that a re-conceptualisation of higher education is required to implement her 'new model'.

Colbeck, C. L. (1998). Merging in a seamless blend: How faculty integrate teaching and research. The Journal of Higher Education, 69 (6), 647-671.

This interesting paper reports a small scale empirical study which throws light on how teaching and research are related in different ways in different disciplines. It is useful in thinking about how you can make more of your work efficient in terms of research and teaching at the same time.

Griffiths R. (2004). Knowledge production and the research-teaching nexus: the case of the built environment disciplines. Studies in Higher Education, 29 (6), 709-726.

This paper criticises the generic nature of some debate about the research teaching nexus. Reporting the results of the HEFCE funded LINK project to discover and disseminate productive links between teaching and research the paper considers knowledge production in different disciplines. Griffiths' conception of the different possible research teaching relationships provided the conceptual model of which Healey (2005) subsequently developed into the quadrant model. Knowledge production and research-teaching relationships are explored in depth in the applied, vocational discipline of the built environment.

Hattie, J. & Marsh, H. W. (1996). The relationship between research and teaching: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 66 (4), 507-542.

This is the famous meta-analysis of 58 studies from 1949-1992 that examined the relationship between quantifiable performance in teaching and research. The authors first set out various lines of argument for why relationship between teaching and research should be positive/negative/no relationship and then use the meta-analysis to examine them.

A negative relationship is expected due to:

  1. Scarcity as time, energy and commitment are limited individuals must choose which to invest in.
  2. Differential personality, as teaching and research require different characteristics.
  3. Divergent rewards, as there are different expectations and obligations because of the different reward systems.

A positive relationship is expected due to:

  1. Conventional Wisdom
  2. 'G' model, that abilities underlying both are the same

A zero relationship is expected due to:

  1. Different enterprise
  2. Unrelated personality
  3. Bureaucratic funding, independent funding of each will lead to increased quality.

The meta-analysis found a very small positive correlation, the weighted average was r=0.06, with an average effect size of 0.11. Also found negative correlations with year of publications so that more recent studies reported the lowest relationships.

Jenkins, A. & Healey, M. (2005). Institutional Strategies to Link Teaching and Research. York: The Higher Education Academy.

www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/ourwork/research/Institutional_strategies.pdf

Mick Healey and Alan Jenkins have written many scholarly articles about the research teaching relationship, but the HEA has also produced monographs which set out their ideas, and which are freely and publicly available. This one is focused on the institutional level; on how universities can support research-based inquiry-based learning. There are many practical examples from universities around the world.

Jenkins, A., Healey, M. & Zetter, R. (2007). Linking teaching and research in disciplines and departments. York: The Higher Education Academy

www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/LinkingTeachingAndResearch_April07.pdf

Mick Healey and Alan Jenkins have written many scholarly articles about the research teaching relationship, but the HEA has also produced monographs which set out their ideas, and which are freely and publicly available. This concisely summarises research evidence and conceptual models on the research teaching relationship. It takes the disciplinary researcher as the focus and, acknowledging that the relationship between teaching and research is different in different disciplines, and it sets out international case studies in a range of different disciplines.

Healey, M. & Jenkins, A. (2009). Developing undergraduate research and inquiry. York: The Higher Education Academy.

www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents/resources/publications/DevelopingUndergraduate_Final.pdf

Mick Healey and Alan Jenkins have written many scholarly articles about the research teaching relationship, but the HEA has also produced monographs which set out their ideas, and which are freely and publicly available. This argues that all undergraduates should experience learning through, and about, research and inquiry by being assessed in ways that come as close as possible to the experience of academic staff carrying out disciplinary research. It also compares approaches in different countries and contains many case studies from a range of disciplines.

Karagiannis, S. N. (2009). The Conflicts Between Science Research and Teaching in Higher Education: An Academic’s Perspective. International journal on teaching and learning in higher education, 21 (1), 75-83.

The author draws on her experience of research and teaching as a Senior Research Fellow to suggest six steps to link these two often separate parts of the work of the academic. She also provides a useful summary of the literature on teaching/research and outlines recent developments.

Meyer, J & Land, R. (2003). Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines. ETL Occasional Report.

www.ed.ac.uk/etl/publications.html

Threshold concepts have proved their value by being widely taken up by academics as a concept many feel to be intuitively true. The idea is that there are ‘threshold concepts’ which are so central that it isn’t possible for a student to make progress in a discipline without mastering them, but that they can be difficult and counter intuitive. Much work on the threshold concepts in various disciplines has followed and the ideas have been further developed by the authors in later publications.

Robertson, J. (2007). Beyond the ‘research/teaching nexus’: Exploring the complexity of academic experience. Studies in Higher Education, 32 (5), 541-556.

This paper is good for a recent perspective that cites most relevant previous work on the relationship between teaching and research. It reports an empirical study designed in response to Hattie & Marsh (1996) and involved interviewing 24 academics in different disciplines at the University of Canterbury NZ. Robertson concludes that the relationship between teaching and research is strongly influenced by the way that knowledge is structured in the discipline. A taxonomy of academics' experience of the research teaching relationship is presented.

Rowland, S. (2006). The Enquiring University: Compliance and contestation in higher education. London: SRHE & Open University Press.

Having identified a number of fractures in academic life, including that between research and teaching, in chapter 8 "Enquiry and the reintegration of teaching and research" Rowland sets out his vision of how an

sets out how an intellectual love of one's subject can bring together teaching and research back together.

Simons, M. & Elen, J. (2007). The ‘research–teaching nexus’ and ‘education through research’: an exploration of ambivalences. Studies in Higher Education, 32 (5), 617-631.

This paper identifies two approaches and highlights the tensions between them. The 'Functional Approach' which regards research as a tool to develop competencies that are functional in the knowledge society and the 'Idealistic Approach' which regards research as a process of edification and conceives of higher education as participation in research. The paper includes a comprehensive literature review on research-teaching with a useful list of references. It concludes with the authors' manifesto for educational reflection and research that takes into account the specific educational potential of academic inquiry.

www.enhancementthemes.ac.uk

The Scottish QAA Enhancement Themes Project undertook a project on enhancing graduate attributes through research-teaching linkages in 2006-2008. This generated a number of resources including 9 disciplinary specific projects, all of which are available on the website. In addition to valuable resources about developing effective links between discipline-based research and the curriculum there is a substantial index of online resources from the HEA, CETL's and internationally.

Licence

Creative Commons Licence
Relationships between Teaching and Research by Dr Holly Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Based on a work at www.ucl.ac.uk.



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