Principles of integrating research knowledge into teaching: a knowledge transfer perspective
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Principles of integrating research knowledge into teaching: a knowledge transfer perspective Dilanthi Amaratunga & Sepani Senaratne Research Institute for the Built and Human Environment The University of Salford 13 th September 2006 BEECON 2006. Background.

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Principles of integrating research knowledge into teaching: a knowledge transfer perspectiveDilanthi Amaratunga & Sepani Senaratne Research Institute for the Built and Human Environment The University of Salford13th September 2006BEECON 2006

Background a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Why do we need to explore strategies to transfer research into teaching?

    • Changes in higher education system

    • Evidence that research is inadequately fed into teaching

    • Absence of an automatic link

    • Need to enhance student learning and research skills

Background to research on r t link
Background to research on R&T Link a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Quantitative approaches Vs. Qualitative approaches

    • Quantitative approaches have proved there is very little or no correlation (e.g. Hattie & Marsh, 1996)

    • Qualitative approaches - depict a strong belief in the existence of a symbolic relationship (e.g. Robertson and Bond, 2001), but fails to diagnose an explicit relationship between R&T

Presentation outline
Presentation Outline a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Research objectives

  • Research Methodology

  • Literature and Case Study Findings

  • Generic Principles

Research objectives 1
Research Objectives-1 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Phase I:

    • Review existing state of the art literature on transferring mechanisms of research knowledge into teaching

    • Identify gaps between the current practice and future requirements

    • Develop a framework including guidelines to transfer research knowledge into teaching for Built Environment (BE) discipline

Research objectives 2
Research Objectives-2 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Phase II:

    • Testing and validation of the framework (BE perspective)

    • An in-depth literature review beyond BE

    • Application of the framework in other disciplines

    • Identification and development of generic principles to enable effective transfer of research knowledge into teaching practices across a wider community

Phase i work plan
Phase I - Work Plan a knowledge transfer perspective

Phase ii work plan
Phase II - Work Plan a knowledge transfer perspective

Policy issues 1
Policy Issues - 1 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Separation of quality assessments mechanisms for research and teaching

    • RAE, TQA

  • Inequitable Funding Mechanisms

    • Research being more rewarding?

    • More focus on research, as it leads to career advancements

Policy issues 2
Policy Issues - 2 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Changes in Higher Education

    • Focus on Learning - Dearing report (1997)

    • HEA (formally ILTHE) – improve teacher's standards

    • LTSN Network - to disseminate best teaching practice

R t relationship 1

Research-only a knowledge transfer perspective


Impending divorce





Marital relationship





Research as a

Teaching as a






generator of

way to address



Holy alliance










Research as a

Teaching as a



Scholarly relationship


Teaching interact

interact with

A really useful link

with research


R&T Relationship-1

  • Different types (Badley, 2002)

R into t as a knowledge transfer process 1
R into T as a knowledge transfer process - 1 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • R&T link as a knowledge transfer process - Initiating the R&T link in a department and feeding research knowledge into teaching is insufficient; the transfer needs to ensure that such knowledge is absorbed and used by students after a transmission

  • KT factors - Absorptive capacity, Strength of tie, Causal ambiguity, Reliability of source, Motivation, Organisational context

  • For an effective transfer and learning, providing students with learning opportunities is insufficient; it is equally important to evaluate student learning

Knowledge transfer learning 2
Knowledge Transfer & Learning-2 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • In the knowledge society research and teaching are no more separable activities

  • The impact of the knowledge society has been to make research and teaching even more transgressive (Scott, 2004).

  • Research and teaching are seen as activities where individuals and groups negotiate meanings and build knowledge within a social context (Brew, 2003)

Phase ii work plan1
Phase II - Work Plan a knowledge transfer perspective

Key issues 1
Key Issues-1 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Formal processes vs. informal processes

    • “the ideal situation is to transfer research indirectly to teaching. I believe that people who do research are better at teaching. Academics need to be practitioners as well as teachers.”

    • However,“it is practically difficult for lecturers to be on the cutting edge of research on every subject that they lecture due to the diversification of subjects.”

Key issues 2
Key Issues-2 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • What aspect of research that needs to be transferred

    • “it is not necessarily about gaining research knowledge but more importantly gaining skills like critical thinking… If you give research knowledge it just give them a list of answers. But, research skills will facilitate students’ thinking process.”

    • “what is more important is to teach students the research process i.e. how to do research. Research results could be used as a vehicle.”

Key issues 3
Key Issues-3 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Matching teaching modules with staff research

    • “it is often difficult to have an exact match between the actual real world research and the teaching module objectives.”

    • “research what we are doing is not directly relevant to teaching programmes. Most of staff here is researching on social science aspects. The teaching programmes are aimed at technological subjects …”

Key issues 4
Key Issues-4 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Transfer at different levels and students groups

    • “broadly, research expertise should increase with the level of studies.”

    • “part-time students expect practical knowledge more than research knowledge.”

    • “some students are struggling to find a strong link between their objective of getting a marketable degree and the introduction of cutting-edge research to the curriculum.”

Key issues 5
Key Issues-5 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Influence from quality assessment mechanisms

    • “TQA considers research-informed teaching.”

    • “organising teaching around research is easier. RAE does not hinder this activity.”

    • However, “RAE has made academics to mainly focus on research output, i.e publications. What is needed is staff to undertake good research and disseminate their knowledge to society in a broader sense.”

Key barriers 1
Key Barriers-1 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • In teaching-biased departments

    • Absence of a research culture

    • Less funding and support

  • In research-biased departments

    • High workload, time restrictions and resource limitations

    • Less motivation and financial incentives to do teaching

Key barriers 2
Key Barriers-2 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Less interaction and the division between research-active staff and teaching-only staff

    • “research staff do not have opportunities to work with others and discuss and disseminate their research.”

  • Student motivation and participation

    • “student motivation is a barrier to a degree. It is difficult to get good participation of students for certain subject modules.”

Key enablers 1
Key Enablers-1 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Mission statement

    • “our school strategy is geared to enhance research-informed teaching. It is central in our mission and a core part of what we do.”

  • Research strength and staff motivation

  • External links with professional bodies

  • Opportunity to use students in labour-intensive research

  • Interdisciplinary working

Key suggestions 1
Key Suggestions-1 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Creating a cultural change

    • “I do not think that RtoT transfer should always take place by researchers going into students’classroom to teach. Students should be provided with access and awareness of current research through effective dissemination.”

    • “research-active staff members and research-inactive staff members team together to deliver undergraduate and postgraduate modules.”

Key suggestions 2
Key Suggestions-2 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • University level drivers

  • Using research staff effectively in teaching activities

  • Create a balance between teaching and research

  • Departmental support, in terms of resources allocation, changing policies, valuing teaching and changing recruitment policies

Principles of rtot transfer 1
Principles of RtoT Transfer-1 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Principle one

    Academics need to be effectively research-active so their teaching will be naturally research-informed.

  • Principle two

    Academics need to consider effective teaching methods such as student-focused teaching; and, stimulate students’ critical thinking by providing them with research training and knowledge.

  • Principle three

    Academic departments need to appropriately balance an academic’s research and teaching workloads so that experienced research-active staff are engaged in teaching across all levels.

Principles of rtot transfer 2
Principles of RtoT Transfer-2 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Principle four

    Academic departments should consider formal processes to transfer research into teaching to stimulate research-informed teaching.Guidelines are developed to aid such a formal process (see Generic guidelines, 2005).

  • Principle five

    Following such a formal transfer process, academic departments should maintain and evaluate its success; especially student-learning followed by such a transfer.

Principles of rtot transfer 3
Principles of RtoT Transfer-3 a knowledge transfer perspective

  • Principle six

    Research into teaching should not be a separate process; it should take place everywhere across a department so that it is built into the culture of that department with an appropriate balance between formal and informal processes.

  • Principle seven

    At a broader level, the university should create an academic community of practice where academic departments, disciplines and, a university as a whole or networks of professionals interact through face-to-face settings to disseminate research knowledge to a wider community.


Principles of integrating research knowledge into teaching: a knowledge transfer perspectiveDilanthi Amaratunga & Sepani Senaratne Research Institute for the Built and Human Environment The University of Salford13th September 2006BEECON 2006