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Research opportunity

Tender: A literature review to understand the structures and processes that influence research activities in the UK

One strand of BERA’s work historically has been a role in charting the state of educational research in the UK. For example, the BERA Observatory (Oancea and Mills, 2015) which was an initiative to monitor the general state of education research in the UK. This report provided a snapshot of baseline data and information about educational research, within and beyond the HE sector. Cognisant of recent developments within academia more broadly, BERA would now like to examine the current state of the field of educational research, to inform its work moving forwards.

Results from the UK’s 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise stated that “considerable improvement in research quality in education has taken place in UK HEIs compared with 2008, and that a significant proportion of the submitted education is world-leading” (REF, 2015, p103). For REF 2021, one significant change is the requirement for all staff with research as part of their contract to be included in all university REF submissions. This change may have resulted in significant changes to the nature of the work of academic staff in education departments. For example, there was evidence from the BERA Close-to-Practice research project that REF requirements were having an effect on perceptions of, and opportunities for, research in education departments (Wyse, et al. 2019).

BERA wishes to build on its previous work around the state of the field by establishing over time a sustainable model for monitoring the state of education research in the UK. The model will include a focus on education researchers and how their work and professional identities are shaped within the field of educational research. To understand this, we will need to understand the structures and processes within and beyond universities that influence research activity.

The first part of this work is a review of literature which will subsequently inform a survey of education researchers in the UK. The full tender for this work can be downloaded from this page. The deadline for applications is 12pm on Monday 9th March 2020.