Research informed practice or practice informed research? Reflections on master’s dissertation student journeys

Prince, Heather ORCID logo ORCID: , Ager, Jennifer, Weller, Andy and Bannister, Roo (2019) Research informed practice or practice informed research? Reflections on master’s dissertation student journeys. In: Learning & Teaching Fest 2019, 3 July 2019, University of Cumbria, Carlisle, UK. (Unpublished)

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This session is for those interested in the evidence for, and discussion around, a range of formats for dissertation modules (specifically although not exclusively at Level 7) and how these might be matched to students’ interests, motivations and aspirations, particularly with respect to employability and practice. It is intended to identify the impact that small-scale research projects can have at the personal and professional level and using the dissertation as a process to scaffold research outputs. This session will suggest that excellence in teaching, learning and assessment (LTA) is a lived experience (van Manen, 1997). It will present tutor and student perspectives in respect of a MA dissertation and the interpretation of its broad and content-driven aims to develop students as inquiring, expert and confident practitioners who make a difference in their workplace and beyond. For a programme where most, if not all, students are practitioners, the research starts with practice and generates data to evidence change (Ostinelli, 2016). This creates necessarily authentic assessment that has meaning for the student and stakeholders. We need to frame this LTA opportunity to develop student confidence and capacity as researchers. We will reflect on student journeys through the MA dissertation in which successful submissions are one part, albeit the focus and stimulus for the research. We revisit the highs and lows of the journeys, including the benefits of a community of practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991) and the implications of different approaches in the workplace and for the students themselves. We examine the outcomes for practice and for national relevance, reach and impact (Ager, 2019) and how we can support our students on this journey.

Ager, J. (2019). ‘Can I do it outside? How to introduce a CIDIO approach in a primary school’, Horizons, 84, pp. 33-35.
Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Peripheral participation. Cambridge: CUP.
Ostinelli, G. (2016). ‘The many forms of research-informed practice: A framework for mapping diversity’, European Journal of Teacher Education, 39(5), pp. 534–549.
van Manen, M. (1997). Researching lived experience: Human Science for an action sensitive pedagogy. 2nd edn. New York: State University of New York Press.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments: Academic Departments > Science, Natural Resources & Outdoor Studies (SNROS) > Outdoor Studies
Additional Information: Presented in the 'Excellence in Learning & Teaching' theme at this conference.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2019 12:04
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 09:30


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