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Research Intelligence

Spring 2023

Research Intelligence issue 154: Education: The State of the Discipline

Education: The State of the Discipline

Research Intelligence issue 154

In 2023 BERA is publishing several major outputs from its ongoing initiative, Education: The State of the Discipline. Conceptualised in 2019 the initiative aims to examine the state of education as an academic discipline, with the ultimate purpose of equipping those interested in the development of education and educational research with the most objective and powerful information on which to base their advocacy for education.

Guest-edited by Dominic Wyse, this issue of Research Intelligence features summaries of two of these major outputs: a study of staff equality data in education departments in UK universities (Belluigi et al., 2023) and findings from a survey examining the characteristics, experiences and attitudes of education researchers working in UK higher education (Morris et al., in press). Further articles offer a range of perspectives relevant to the issues raised in these reports and the State of the Discipline initiative more widely.

Contributions to this issue:

  • Dina Belluigi, Jason Arday and Joanne O’Keeffe highlight key findings from their study of staff equality data in education departments in UK universities. The full report from this study was published by BERA in January 2023.
  • Rebecca Morris, Tom Perry, Emma Smith and Jess Pilgrim-Brown summarise findings from a survey examining the characteristics, experiences and attitudes of education researchers working in UK higher education. More detail will be available in the full report, due for publication by BERA in April 2023.
  • David James highlights some of the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 and argues that they demonstrate that the overall profile of education research has strengthened. 
  • Heather Smith and Vini Lander from the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (and Newcastle University and Leeds Beckett University respectively) consider the state of the discipline from the perspective of initial teacher education/training (ITE/T), with a particular focus on anti-racism.
  • Cat Scutt from the Chartered College of Teaching explores teachers’ engagement with research in England, discussing progress over the past five years, but also the problems and risks that remain and the priorities that need to be addressed.
  • Drawing on data from research assessment exercises, Sally Power reflects on the significant decline in education research capacity in Welsh universities and the challenges facing education research in Wales.
  • Morag Redford compares the approaches and structures of education research across 12 institutions in Scotland that have a substantial and longstanding commitment to the discipline. 
  • Barbara Skinner and Claire Woods present a case study of staff equality issues at play in the discipline of education in Northern Ireland, sharing data gathered for Ulster University’s application for a Bronze Athena Swan award.

Elsewhere in this issue:

  • BERA’s Chief Executive, Nick Johnson, highlights the association’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and the steps being taken to reduce environmental impact.
  • Una O’Connor Bones, Jessica Bates, Clare McAuley and Stephen Roulston discuss their pioneering initiative, Future Schools: Northern Ireland, for which they were awarded the BERA Public Engagement and Impact Award 2022.
  • Gerry Czerniawksi shares updates from BERA’s Engagement Committee, including the launch of the Small Grants Fund 2023/2024 and the brand new BERA School Research Award.
  • Hayo Reinders shares an activity for equipping early career researchers to understand the underlying principles and importance of research ethics.

Guest editor

Profile picture of Dominic Wyse
Dominic Wyse, Professor

Professor of Early Childhood & Primary Education at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society

Dominic has made a leading contribution to research on curriculum and pedagogy, including national curricula, for more than 25 years. He has led multiple research projects and has published many books and research papers. Dominic’s main...