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Education: The State of the Discipline – a BERA statement

Drawing on the conclusions of five research projects commissioned as part of a wider initiative, BERA has published a statement on the position of education as an academic discipline. Celebrating its outstanding impact and outputs and that the “quality of much education research is world leading”, BERA also acknowledges the challenges it faces, from “significant structural inequalities to a deterioration in working conditions for the majority of education researchers over time”.

Solutions to these challenges require collaboration and collective effort from governments, funders, university leadership, educational researchers, and organisations such as BERA. This statement and evidence upon which it is based are designed to stimulate that collaboration.

BERA launched the Education: The State of the Discipline initiative in 2019 to offer a comprehensive account of the state of education as an academic discipline, as a field of practice, and as a pivotal element of social and political policy across the four nations of the UK. By providing stakeholders with research evidence, the initiative aimed to empower them in their advocacy for education research and education researchers.

Read the statement here

The five research projects

  • A systematic scoping review of the literature – Read here
  • An exploration of existing statistical data relating to staff equality in UK higher education – Read here
  • A survey of education researchers’ work, experiences and identities – Read here
  • The progress of Education: An analysis of data from the Research Excellence Framework – Read here
  • An analysis of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) impact case studies – Read here

More Resources

In June 2023 we held a high-level invitation-only event that brought together the outcomes of our commissioned research and analysis and allowed senior leaders from across the discipline to discuss the findings, the wider issues raised and debate how educational research should respond. 

We also discussed the outcomes of a quantitative assessment of the progress of education as an academic discipline in UK universities through the analysis of REF data, comparing the 2021 outcomes to both the 2014 REF and other disciplines.

You can watch the event videos here.