Reshaping boundaries between teaching and research: an example of collaborative research in ‘Assessment for Learning’

Nicola Reimann, Catherine Montgomery

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper discusses research in Higher Education that deliberately blurs the boundaries between research and teaching, between researching and being researched. The study attempts to explore a different approach to developing knowledge of practice and for practice by recasting the roles of the educational researcher and the researched practitioner. Instead, two equal co-researchers engage in a longitudinal collaboration in which research data and responses to that data are mutually constructed by researcher and researched. The study is part of a wider research project relating to assessment for learning (AfL), an approach that requires staff and students to review their perceptions of assessment as meaningful learning and integrated understanding of ideas rather than end-point ‘testing’ (Carless et al, 2006). In the context of this English Language module under investigation, the emphasis is on peer review, feedback and building collaborative learning environments involving students and staff. Data analysis suggests that the reflective dialogue between the researchers contributed to the continual development and fine-tuning of the AfL model and this approach helped students to develop and apply their understanding of ideas and theory. Data includes classroom observations, interviews, student written work, tutor think aloud protocols as well as a series of recorded, reflective conversations between the two co-researchers, during which the module and the AfL activities are discussed as they unfold. By engaging in this dialogue and including it as data, the study emphasises the importance of talk for professional development and culture change in education (Frankham and Howes, 2006) and tries to model everyday conversations between lecturers as these have been shown to contribute to continuing professional development (King 2004). There are resonances with Allwright’s (2005) notion of ‘exploratory practice’ which adopts an ethical, non-technicist approach involving a ‘first person plural notion’: ‘“We research our practice” (to be compared with the academic researcher’s “I research your teaching,” and with the Action Researcher’s “I research my teaching”).’ (Allwright, 2005: 357). By adopting such an approach, the study highlights the similarities between researching and learning (Brew, 2003) and makes a contribution to the development of practitioner research methodologies (Furlong and Oancea, 2005).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
EventSociety for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) Conference - Brighton, Sussex
Duration: 1 Dec 2007 → …


ConferenceSociety for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) Conference
Period1/12/07 → …
Internet address


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