Best Practice

Teacher-led research in schools: Seven levels of engagement

Many teachers now undertake action research in their classrooms as part of CPD and improvement practice. Dr Andrew K Shenton and Gareth J Ellis offer a seven-step process to help schools plan, disseminate and celebrate the research work of staff


The prospect of carrying out research in one’s own school offers many attractions.

Most fundamentally, such investigation can shed light on issues that staff and senior leaders may benefit from addressing and facilitate the development and testing of potential solutions to workplace problems.

Research may exploit expertise that already resides in staff and enable both teachers and support personnel to enhance their skills.

If, however, the school is to receive credit from scrutineers such as Ofsted inspectors and local authority advisors for the research it carries out, if it is to elicit wows of admiration from parents, and if it is to establish a business case for attracting funding for future projects, systematically documenting what the school has achieved in a research sense is a key task, albeit one that is far from easy.

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