BERA has identified close-to-practice research as an area of interest for the Association, and many BERA members are also committed to such work in the context of teacher education and professional development. ‘Close-to-practice research’ refers to educational research that is based on problems in practice, often involves researchers working in partnership with practitioners, may address issues defined by the latter as relevant or useful, and will support the application of critical thinking and the use of evidence in practice.
In response to the 2014 REF outcomes, BERA Council recognised that more could usefully be done to build a collective recognition of the characteristics of the highest quality close-to-practice educational research. This is a major project running into 2018 which aims to help the educational research community more broadly and the Association in particular to achieve the following aims.
To have more influence in framing the debate on the role of high quality research in enhancing and developing practice across the four nations.
To help the Association to offer more dedicated support to its members in this area.
To enable teaching professionals and educational researchers to work more productively together to maximize reflexivity and rigour in close-to-practice work.
As part of this project we commissioned some research designed to:
investigate the dimensions of high quality close-to-practice research in education, through a systematic review of relevant empirical and theoretical material that is already published
identify the drivers that promote high quality close-to-practice research through interviews with a series of ‘expert witnesses’
outline strategies that BERA might pursue to capacity build in this area in ways that will strengthen the relationship between research and practice.