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Research informed teaching

Research informed teaching

Research informed teaching

What is research informed teaching?

Research informed teaching can take a range of forms. The most common is making reference to relevant academic research in the course of subject teaching; this is what Griffiths (2004) terms "research led teaching". Research informed teaching also focuses on the processes through which knowledge is produced, places emphasis on developing skills of research and enquiry, and on developing a research culture in which students are encouraged to think about how knowledge is developed and how they can be engaged in that process.

Why do we need to do it?

Linking research and teaching has a number of advantages in enhancing student learning. Students’ knowledge about a subject can benefit from exposure to the cutting edge of a discipline. However, immersing students in the relevant disciplinary and School research culture and the process of doing research and enquiry can be of benefit too. 
Designing research strategies and projects, collecting and analysing data and discussing and presenting research findings in the classroom provide vital transferable skills, which are useful for subsequent careers both inside and outside the academic environment. There is also evidence to suggest that students who are actively involved in the process of research are often more engaged (Baldwin, 2005).

How might you encourage it in the classroom and as part of your academic practice

1. Share your own thrill and enthusiasm for doing research through talking about your own experiences and drawing on interesting demonstrations and examples from your own research experience.

2. Emphasise the process of knowledge production in your field, by explaining different methodological approaches within the discipline and how these have evolved.

3. Include current research findings and issues regularly in your teaching, for example, by regularly updating the syllabus to include cutting edge research and identifying the key questions being explored by current research in the field. Encourage the students to bring new research about your subject to the classroom or post it on a discussion board as part of your online learning activities 

4. Provide opportunities for students to acquire research methods and skills, for example, by building small-scale research activities into group work or analysing data from existing ‘real world’ projects.

5. Involve your students in research activities, for example, by offering research placements to students, starting a journal club at lunchtimes or encouraging students to attend research seminars by visiting researchers or alumni.

6. Promote undergraduate research through publishing student work in School newsletters or student focussed journals, putting student work on websites and exhibiting your students’ work at conferences or university events.


These ideas are based on a booklet named Eight principles for linking research and teaching developed by the Department of Curriculum and Quality Enhancement @ the University of Portsmouth and the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Nagoya University.

During the annual DEAP 18 conference Prof. Susan Smith ran a workshop looking at the practice of Leeds Beckett staff in each of these areas. The file below presents the outputs from this session.

Research informed teaching workshop outcomes



Baldwin, G. (2005). The teaching–research nexus: how research informs and enhances learning and teaching in the University of Melbourne. Melbourne: University of Melbourne.

Griffiths, R. (2004). Knowledge production and the research–teaching nexus: the case of the built environment disciplines. Studies in Higher Education, 29(6), 709–726.

Higher Education Academy. (2016). What does research-informed teaching look like?. York. Higher Education Academy & University Alliance.  

Jenkins, A., & Healey, M. (2005). Institutional strategies to link teaching and research. York: The Higher Education Academy.

Jenkins, A., Healey, M., & Zetter, R. (2007). Linking teaching and research in disciplines and departments. York: Higher Education Academy.

Further Research references

Page last updated: 09/07/2020

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