“I'm doing something that every teacher should be doing”: Understanding Teachers’ Orientations to Educational Research and Data

Year: 2019

Author: Mockler, Nicole, Stacey, Meghan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Over the past 15 years, research has highlighted systemic and professional barriers to teachers using and conducting educational research in their classrooms. This finding has been noted across international contexts including Canada (Lysenko, Abrami, Bernard, Dagenais, & Janosz, 2014) the UK (Evans, 2017), Turkey (Beycioglu, Ozer, & Ugurlu, 2010) and Greece (Papasotiriou & Hannan, 2006). Barriers are identified as variously relating to contextual factors (e.g. school and system expectations and support) and individual factors (e.g. personal orientations toward research and professional confidence in one’s capacity to interpret and conduct research).

Over the same period, school teachers in Australia and elsewhere have been subjected to increasing expectations, on the part of policy makers and system leaders, to engage with educational research and data so as to advance ‘evidence-based’ and ‘evidence-informed’ practice (Furlong, Menter, Munn, Whitty, Hallgarten & Johnson, 2014).

This paper reports on a mixed-methods study designed to shed light on Australian teachers’ engagement with educational research and data. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 20 primary and secondary teachers located in five states and territories and used iteratively to inform a questionnaire comprising both quantitative and qualitative dimensions, distributed via social media to primary and secondary teachers and responded to by 524 participants. Here we present an analysis of quantitative data, using factor analysis and regression techniques to develop a model that explains teachers’ orientations to research and data. We sit this quantitative analysis alongside qualitative interview and survey data to highlight enabling and constraining conditions for teacher engagement, as well as associated professional learning and development pathways to support critical, informed engagement into the future.


Beycioglu, K., Ozer, N., & Ugurlu, C. (2010). Teachers' views on educational research. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(4), 1088-1093.

Evans, C. (2017). Early career teachers’ research literacy: what does it look like and what elements support its development in practice? Research Papers in Education, 32(4), 540-551.

Furlong, J., Menter, I., Munn, P., Whitty, G., Hallgarten, J., & Johnson, N. (2014). Research and the Teaching Profession: Building the capacity for a self-improving education system. London: BERA.

Lysenko, L. V., Abrami, P. C., Bernard, R. M., Dagenais, C., & Janosz, M. (2014). Educational research in educational practice: Predictors of use. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue canadienne de l’éducation, 37(2), 1-26.

Papasotiriou, C., & Hannan, A. (2006). The impact of education research on teaching: the perceptions of Greek primary school teachers. Teacher Development, 10(3), 361-377.