Pedagogic Research at MMU

MMU is supporting pedagogic research across the university, extending our reach across the UK sector as significant contributor to the HE learning & teaching discourse, and making a 2020 Research Excellence Framework (REF) return in due course.

We are establishing a focus for pedagogic research in HE (PedR) which is more definable and tangible than a loose network of research-related activities. An important part of that focus is on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), which is now developing as an established, world-wide, scholarly discourse around: the theory and practice of learning and teaching; what we mean by excellence in those practices; and how we develop and share that good practice with colleagues.

We are:

Administrating a number of MMU SoTL research projects

Encouraging access to publications and outputs by UTA staff and faculty partners and collaborators, to be available as a resource for colleagues (see e-space: MMU's digital repository).

Developing a strategy for engaging with pedagogic research active staff across MMU, to support them in their research and to bring them into contact with others working in related areas

Publishing our in-house journal for Learning & Teaching in Action (LTiA), as a medium for disseminating SoTL and PedR.

Supporting a developmental research community, including:

  • a network with writing groups, research centres, special interest groups and others across MMU, and beyond it (including appropriate links with strategic partners).
  • Promotion of and support for collaborative, inter-disciplinary research.
  • Identifying funding for projects and capacity building
  • Building online resources
  • Building a mentoring network.
  • Writing workshops and courses to engage and support those new to research.
  • Establishing a body of work around HE theory and methodologies

Research Options

Pedagogic research can include a range of perspectives and approaches to researching Higher education.  It can include: Discipline research (the study of learning and teaching and other educational issues in the context of a particular discipline); the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL); institutional research (into the development and governance of higher education institutions and systems); and policy research (into the development, impact, or history of policy which influences higher education).

Pedagogic research outputs are encouraged from all staff with a relevant interest, whether experienced researchers or new to the research arena.  If you would like to discuss your research ideas with colleagues from UTA please contact any member of UTA staff.

Personal and professional development

Doctoral study on pedagogic research is also possible, whether by progression from the MA in Higher Education as a starting point, one of MMU’s PhD routes or the EdD in the Faculty of Education .

More about accredited professional development through pedagogic research»

Discipline research

Much pedagogic research focuses on the teaching of particular disciplines: how the discipline is most effectively sustained as knowledge and practice for the next generation of specialists by means of the higher education process.  As a result there is a vast pedagogic literature based in the disciplines: medicine is probably the most extensive, but there is also a growing literature in many other disciplines too; largely in sciences and engineering, but in the arts and humanities as well.

A collection of resources about discipline based pedagogy »

Increasingly, pedagogic research that addresses interdisciplinary issues is of interest.

SoTL research

The scholarship of teaching and learning is not rigidly defined – not least because the term ‘scholarship’ seems to be understood differently by different interest groups within higher education. This loose definition can be helpful, however, because it allows a broad church of interest in the enhancement of teaching and learning to develop.  In its by-laws the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) declares that it “serves faculty members, staff, and students who care about teaching and learning as serious intellectual work. Through building intellectual and collaborative infrastructure, the Society supports the associational life that fosters scholarly work about teaching and learning” (ISSOTL by-laws - accessed 5th August 2014).  That focus on supporting scholarly learning communities rather than on specified types of research work or subject matter, reflects our intention within MMU to foster a broad, scholarly and collegiate approach to pedagogic research.

It follows that a great variety of research may claim to be “scholarship of learning and teaching”: evaluations of teaching practice, learning environments, student engagement, assessment, teacher development, teaching structures and more.  Some of this research and scholarship is published in international, peer-reviewed journals, and some of it closer to home, such as MMU’s own journal of Learning and Teaching in Action (LTiA). We have access to much of this work through MMU’s  electronic library subscriptions. Other publications are available through the internet – a live list of journals is available here. Please let us know if you have others to recommend 

UTA runs the MMU SOTL research grant scheme. More about SOTL research grants and current projects »

Research and Knowledge Exchange (RKE)

MMU’s Research and Knowledge Exchange strategy “aims to drive actions across all faculties, department, support services and the wider University, to instigate a step change in research and knowledge exchange culture … The University is committed to increasing the range, quality and value of its research and knowledge exchange activity. To achieve this it will encourage and support staff to realise their research and knowledge exchange ambitions.” (Download the RKE strategy)

Enhancing our pedagogic research activities fits well in this ambition.  Find out more about RKE on their website and blog.

The RKE pages also host the relevant ethics regulations and forms that you will need to consult and complete when doing any MMU research, and these can be found here.