The basis of a Schooling Research Network

Year: 2005

Author: Cuttance, Peter

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Research on schooling in Australia is typically characterised by a large number of small-scale studies that provides a fragmented research base for addressing the core problems that need to be solved. The proposed research Network would seek to build capacity through: research skill development; facilitation of collaboration; development of virtual research teams; engagement of teachers and school leaders in high-quality research projects; and the development of research awareness among educational practitioners and policy makers.

Student learning is at the heart of the enterprise and the strength of the proposed Research Network is in its combination of research and practitioner expertise. Key features of such an enterprise meet the complementarity of interests among the stakeholders which include policy-makers, school systems, professional associations, disciplinary experts and researchers. The author argues that quality research will be promoted through an approach that embodies the following:

• a decentralised research network with a number of problem-focussed virtual nodes;
• establishment of key performance indicators to measure critical processes and outcomes of the Network;
• infrastructure to support the development of new research tools and methodologies;
• the creation of problem-based research communities to facilitate both virtual and face-to-face interaction across constituent groups;
• engagement of significant members of disciplines beyond education faculties;
• use of communication technologies to establish a virtual environment to facilitate both research and the utilisation of research outputs;
• dissemination of findings in a form that meets the needs of end-users of research knowledge;
• the integration of end-users into the processes of planning research and active participation in the Network; and
• development and coordination of physical resources for the collection, storage and secondary analysis of research data.