Research & School Improvement services
Improving performance, engagement and achievement with teaching and learning
NFER offers products & services to support you:
Research in Schools
Methods of Research
Where should I research?
Where you choose to do your research will depend on your research question and the approach you are using.
Doing research in your own school
There are advantages to doing research in your own school: access will be easier, as will sharing findings and applying any learning. There are certain methods that lend themselves to being used within your own school, such as action research.
You will encounter different challenges depending on where you research. When doing research in your own school, it can be hard to remain objective at all times and to avoid making assumptions. You will need to be careful not to miss the significance of something because it is normal to you. Some respondents may be more open with you because they know you; others may be more open with someone from outside the school.
As with any research, ensure you abide by your confidentiality and anonymity promises to participants – do not tell colleagues either formally or informally what an individual participant has said to you as part of your research (unless you are concerned about their safety or that of others).
Doing research in another school(s)
You may want to carry out research with other schools. These could, for example, be:
from your cluster
your feeder schools
similar to your school, in order to provide a comparison.
Bear in mind that engaging another school in your research may take additional time. You will need to negotiate access to undertake research, think about how to collect the data and how you will (or can) share the learning.
Wherever you research be realistic about how many participants you can include in your research (your ‘sample’). If you are researching across a number of schools, you will need to involve more people.
Next: How should I research?