Effective use of Research in Learning and Teaching

What are the benefits of linking teaching and research?

Some of the key contributions to the discussion of the ‘proper’ relationship between teaching and research are summarised on the discussion page of this resource. An important principle connects them all, in that teaching and learning benefit in a number of ways when they draw directly on the research process and its outputs:

  • Curriculum which draws on current research stays fresh and dynamic, and students can see how learning about a subject in the abstract is connected to real time development of the subject, and of the aspects of the world that it is concerned with.
  • Curriculum which draws on the teacher’s own research gives the teacher an added incentive to engage with the students, and gives the students a sense of connection with the research process and with the dynamic nature of their discipline.
  • Curriculum which allows students to engage in research processes engages them more actively in their learning and in the subject. It supports important notions such as active learning, students as partners and students as co-creators of the curriculum.  It plays an important role in developing a range of important graduate attributes, both professional and personal, helping to build student confidence, ability to communicate effectively, and sense of an academic and specialist self.

How can I strengthen the links between my teaching and research? 

There are many steps you can take, from simple to complex, which can reinforce research-teaching linkages:

  • Make sure reading lists are current (although that doesn’t mean ignoring important, seminal resources just because they are a few years old!), and that you use them in your teaching and assessment design;
  • Bring new research outputs to your students’ attention; if an interesting new paper is published, get the students to review it themselves, for instance;
  • Explain your own research to them.  As an exercise get them to critique your research design, or to review draft papers
  • Use research-like activities in your teaching and assessment design, such as problem-based or enquiry-based learning

Discussion »