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We’re very excited at this opportunity to share with you a joint audio newsletter between the Research Methodology in Education and Practitioner Research Special Interest Groups here at BERA.

We are trialling offering newsletters in alternative formats and would welcome your feedback on this initiative.

This joint newsletter is the result of a growing collaboration between our SIGs in the area of overlap between exploring and supporting research design and carrying out meaningful research in and for practitioner contexts. One key area of collaboration has been the creation of a set of events over the summer which now sit as a set of videos (recorded presentations) on the BERA website. In the plenary event in this series participants shared with us a number of suggestions of how we could take our joint work as special interest groups forward on behalf of BERA members and other educational researchers. This newsletter therefore covers our suggestions for how we might support these ideas.

Firstly, there was a request for more podcasts to be created which supported research methodology and methods for practitioner research.

We thought this was a good opportunity for us to collectively gather and share our recommendations of already existing podcasts, and extend this to blogs and vlogs. Please read the attached article (also available in an audio format) which sets up this task and includes a short survey which invites you to think about which criteria you use to assess the quality of these new media as sources of information for practice.

Secondly, there was a call for more support in dealing with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for educational research. We can point you to the BERA blog series of posts in which researchers have reflected on the impact of COVID-19 on various aspects of educational research including issues such as teacher identity, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment related implications and the effects on research itself. Whilst these series of blog posts are still being authored and published a BERA blog BITE is being edited which brings 10 to 12 of these posts together into curated PDF document which can be used for teaching purposes. This will be edited by practitioners and aimed at practitioner audiences. BERA has also commissioned and funded a series of special projects related to addressing COVID-19 affected areas of educational research and these will lead to publications further down the line. We will keep you informed of these developments.

Thirdly, it became clear across the series of events this summer that one key audience it is important to engage is that of headteachers. Presentations by headteachers of research-engaged schools and their support for research can be highly inspirational as evidenced by the keynote given by Abide Zenenga this summer. We are therefore proposing that we put together an event featuring headteacher presentations for headteachers and other practitioners which we aim to offer virtually in spring 2021. If you have ideas of headteachers we could approach either to present or to invite, please contact us.

Fourthly, we were asked to consider creating some case studies of effective practitioner research which could inspire and support others. To this end we are starting to invite a series of practitioners to summarise as a case study their current or recent research project and share this with you. We decided to start by asking practitioner researchers to reflect on a study which had been able to take place despite or even perhaps even because of the COVID-19 situation. we invited we will invite these researchers to produce either podcast a blog or a recorded presentation. The first of these is presented by Faye Wills and a fascinating study about the contributions of history as opposed to science and understanding the ways forward in this COVID-19 situation. Again, if you have ideas of case studies that you think would be worth sharing more widely and practitioners you know about might be prepared to share please contact us.

Finally, we are excited to be working together and to be exploring not only the ideas presented here but also other possibilities of facilitating the connections we can make with one another and with wider networks to support research in practice contexts. Please do keep your ideas coming in. 😊

Claire, Carmel and Alison