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Research opportunity

Tender: Updating the BERA Observatory

As part of our ambitious project examining the state of education: as an academic discipline in universities, as a field of practice, and as a significant and central element of social and political policy, we are releasing three new tender opportunities: 

  • A survey of education researchers’ perceptions of their work and identities in relation to education research in universities in the United Kingdom.
  • An analysis of equality and diversity issues within the discipline.
  • An ‘observatory’ that draws together the best and most current empirical data on the state of the education discipline.

The aim of this particular opportunity is to create a dashboard that enables people to monitor the health and general state of education research in the UK, provide a snapshot of baseline data and information about educational research within and beyond the HE sector. To that end, BERA is seeking a robust set of indicators to understand changes in the discipline of education that impact on the scale and size of its research activity, and which could be used more easily to track any such changes over time.

The original Observatory report (Oancea and Mills, 2015) provided important ways of thinking about evaluating the progress of education. It was agreed, as part of multiple discussions in BERA Council, that BERA could build on the Observatory to develop an even more robust, and more sustainable approach to the selection and use of empirical data about the state of the discipline. Some of this original data was turned into an infographic alongside some of the outcome date from the last REF (attached).

The data sources that inform the more recent BA RS report Harnessing Education Research (BA RS, 2018) provide a baseline for the quality of currently available sources.

We wish the observatory to be able to include data from across all four nations of the UK and where possible to identify differences between career stages (e.g. early, mid and late-stage); differences between the four nations of the UK; and ethnicity, sex, gender identity, dis/ability.

It is desirable that the observatory is designed in such a way that it can be replicated at regular intervals to monitor trends within the discipline so that it can contribute to a longitudinal study of the state of the discipline. BERA would wish to publish this ‘observatory’ on a regular basis with the first one in 2022.

We are calling for proposals to undertake this work. Our preference is for an individual or small team of researchers who will work alongside BERA’s leadership committee in identifying the correct measures and data sources for those in a collaborative way.

Budget and Outline costing

 Those wishing to tender for the work should include a budget indicating how the research will be conducted to meet the timeline for the interim and final reports; undertake the activities as indicated above; and successfully address the research questions. The amount allocated to this review is in the region of between £5,000-£10,000, inclusive of VAT.

Full details of the tender and how to bid can be found in the document below.