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Internally funded projects

Dr Darren Moore

Project Description

The problem: There is a gap between educational research and practice. Research needs to be more relevant and accessible to school staff and researchers need to do more to reach out to practitioners to ensure this happens. While there are examples in the field of special educational needs and disability (SEND) of research involving teachers, this could still be increased and examples of research questions that seek to explore specific research problems evident in practice are often limited to student research projects.


The project: Educational staff across the South West will be invited to submit research questions or ideas that they think should be answered on the topic of SEND via a webtool that uses Google Forms. The webtool will provide examples and help submitters structure their research question.

This opportunity will be communicated to schools via the University of Exeter’s Partnership Office and through contacts held by members of the Centre for Special Educational Needs and Disability.

A group of around ten staff across the South West who work with children with SEND and represent a range of settings and roles will form an advisory group and vote on the research questions submitted. First they will vote electronically on submitted research questions using a range of criteria including importance of issue, practicality, potential for improvement. The ten highest scoring research ideas will be discussed and ranked by the advisory group at a face to face meeting in July. Short research proposal documents will be written to aid discussions, give details of relevant research already completed and provide parity between questions submitted.


The outcome:

The questions submitted and the voting results will be shared with the South West Research schools, Education Endowment Foundation, Institute for Effective Education and Health Research groups as relevant.

The Centre for Special Educational Needs and Disability at the University of Exeter may apply for research funding to conduct the research question ranked the highest, with the question submitter and advisory group involved if they want to be.

Information prepared about the ten research questions discussed at the meeting including ideas about how the research would be conducted, information regarding any existing relevant research and any areas of the proposed research that ought to be discussed further will be shared with practitioners and research funders.


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