Research Action Partnerships unite teachers' professional knowledge with academic research to improve teaching and learning.

Research Action Partnerships

Tackling current educational issues through a Research Action Partnership

The Graduate School of Education at the University of Exeter offers Research Action Partnerships aimed at developing teaching and learning through utilising teachers’ professional knowledge in tandem with our research expertise.

Each partnership involves staff from a school or college working collaboratively with staff at the University to focus on current educational issues through undertaking situated action research.

Why engage in a Research Action Partnership?

  • Improve teaching and learning in your institution through situated research tailored to your key issues and context
  • Tackle current educational challenges and opportunities through individuals who are embedded in the institution and who can utilise their professional expertise to guide the research and share the outcomes with their colleagues
  • An excellent CPD opportunity for staff seeking personal development and wanting to make an additional contribution to the institution. There is an option to convert the outcomes of the research to credits that can be used towards our Masters programme 
  • If you are a Teaching School or part of a Teaching School Alliance, we can support your provision of school-based research.

Why work with the University of Exeter?

  • Our flexible, tailored approach ensures we enter into a dialogue with you to develop a collaboration to suit your needs, rather than apply a one-size-fits-all model
  • Our problem-based approach ensures we remain focused on issues identified as important to your institution
  • Ranked 5th in the UK for world leading and internationally excellent research in Education, we have research expertise across a wide range of educational topics
  • We have a proven track record of excellence in teacher education and are recognised by the TDA and Ofsted as an outstanding provider of Early Years, Primary and Secondary ITE
  • We have a long-established track record of working in partnerships with schools and colleges and an in-depth understanding of the sector
  • We offer the opportunity to further develop the work initiated through the partnership to gain a 30 credit Masters module

What’s involved in a Research Action Partnership?

The focus of research enquiry and the timeframe in which it would be conducted is determined by you; we will work with you to scope the project and agree feasible frameworks to ensure that the partnership suits your needs.

We will provide you with an initial preparation day/twilight session followed by  five 'lead days/sessions' throughout the defined period to assure the quality of the process. In addition Skype calls and email support is provided for individual staff throughout the research period. The preparation and lead days are charged at £800 each which includes unlimited individual support; any consumable costs such as photocopying or, for partnerships outside of Devon, travel and accommodation, will be charged as additional costs. We would suggest the involvement of 7-10 members of staff to make the RAPs of value. You may wish to involve a group of teachers from your own partnerships/ alliance; cross-phase primary/secondary projects are also viable.

Principal Subject Tutor's Research Action Group

New for 2014/2015 is a Research Action Group for our PSTs in partner schools. This will be a termly meeting held at St Luke's after school where the process of educational research is presented and explored. This may lead to PSTs conducting or leading research in their own schools, and supporting the research conducted by their trainees. For more information and to express an interest in getting involved please contact Nigel Skinner.

What can you expect of the lead days?

The lead days/sessions would be adapted to suit the specific context and issues of a particular Research Action Partnership, but a basic framework is outlined below. The number of days may be scaled up for larger research projects as appropriate.

Day 1: Initiation Identification of the focus of enquiry; collaborative design of a research action process and timeline; shared reading and introduction to relevant research methods; establishing pilot enquiry activities.
Day 2: Development Taught input on the focus of enquiry; sharing of outcomes of the pilot enquiry activities; revision of research action processes, if required; shared reading and further development of relevant research methods.
Day 3: Implementation Collaborative discussion on progress and reflections on the focus of enquiry; shared reading; input on appropriate data analysis methods; initial collaborative data analysis.
Day 4: Data analysis Collaborative analysis of data in teams; shared reading; input on critical interpretation of data; discussion of preliminary findings.
Day 5: Presentation and dissemination Presentation of findings; collaborative discussion of implications for institution policy and practice; establishment of a dissemination plan at the institution, regional and national level, if appropriate.

Interested in finding out more?

If you have any questions or would like to discuss embarking on a Research Action Partnership with us, please email or for secondary school inquiries or for primary school inquiries.