The response of education interns to a compulsory research project

Year: 2006

Author: Shaw, Kylie, Holbrook, Allyson, Scevak, Jill

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper draws on 159 survey responses of fourth year Education students in one institution as they embark on a research project based in their internship school and explores predisposition to research and the level of preparedness to undertake a research project. The questionnaire consists of items grouped into the areas research efficacy, learning motivation research orientation, and research environment. The students who met most frequently with their supervisor and showed higher research self-efficacy were also most likely to want to undertake postgraduate study and reacted positively to good personal support and a feeling of belonging to a research ‘community’. Many felt they were essentially going it alone and were ‘unconnected’ to a learning community, and specifically to their supervisor. They were generally positive about their ability to do the necessary preliminary tasks, such as finding and writing up literature, even though they were overwhelmed by the tasks themselves and concerned about managing the commitment. Despite this they were optimistic about completion. That being said only 5% were sure they would undertake postgraduate study in the future, and 65% were sure they would not do so. In an environment where there is commitment to promoting research skills consistent with the needs of a knowledge society and drawing on evidence to inform practice, the findings not only raise the question of how to best support and give meaning to the early research endeavours of pre-service teachers, but also highlights the challenge of achieving this against a high level of disinterest in further tertiary study.