Teaching-research nexus


Rowland describes the 'enquiring' university as one founded on a culture of open and critical enquiry, underpinning both teaching and research. It is therefore in the spirit of such intellectual enquiry that information and resources are shared on these pages, to start conversations and stimulate ideas. There is no unitary, uncontested view of what the teaching-research nexus looks like (see for example Hughes in Barnett, 2005). Links between teaching and research are likely to be multiple, diverse, dynamic and discipline-specific. Evidence of strong links can be found in a variety of contexts; at Institutional, disciplinary and individual teacher-researcher levels. 

Teaching-research nexus and the teaching and learning framework

Critical enquiry is an explicit feature of the teaching-research nexus, through an emphasis on enquiry based learning experiences that develop research skills and critical dispositions. More broadly though, critical enquiry is a concept linking the different aspects of the University's teaching and learning framework. It can be found in each of the the core elements of the framework.

  1. It is expressed in the Graduate Qualities, through the development of critical and creative thinking, problem solving skills, reflective dispositions, the ability to question knowledge, values and assumptions and to understand and apply disciplinary and professional research methods.
  2. It is at the core of active student engagement, through which students reflexively and actively contribute to their own learning.
  3. It underpins the design of flexible learning environments that enable and stimulate experiential learning.
  4. Discipline and profession-specific methods and principles of critical enquiry are developed in distinctive disciplinary contexts.
  5. Research in professional practice is encouraged through practice-based learning.
  6. Service learning can be understood to contain an implicit assumption that applying knowledge for the 'public good' requires a level of critical judgement informed by enquiry.

Indicators of the teaching-research nexus

Students learn through authentic enquiry

  • students undertake learning activities which reflect the processes of research (e.g. student presentation of paper, student run conference, peer review each others' essays)
  • assessment activities mirror research processes (e.g. students are assessed on their peer review)
  • students undertake enquiry-based activities
  • students undertake enquiry-based extended projects as part of the curriculum

Students learn about research

  • students learn about the role of research in their discipline/professional practice
  • students learn about disciplinary constructions of knowledge
  • students understand the contested nature of knowledge
  • curriculum incorporates cutting-edge research and knowledge/evidence-based practice
  • teachers discuss their own research within the classroom environment
  • students critique the role of research in society/in their discipline/their future professional practice
  • students learn about the drivers of new knowledge in their professional field

Students learn to do research

  • students learn about research methods as part of the curriculum
  • students practise/engage in research methods and generate new knowledge (e.g. conduct interviews, undertake an experiment)
  • students learn through research processes (e.g. undertake literature critique)

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