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Research in Schools
Methods of Research
Who can do research?
Anyone can do research – senior leaders, teaching staff, non-teaching staff, learners, parents/carers or governors. You can do research by yourself or work collaboratively with others. Working as part of a small team can make the research more manageable and offers a support network.
Involving others in your research
You could involve learners in your research project as team members or you could encourage them to undertake their own research, perhaps on a topic of their choice. Involving learners in research can provide an excellent opportunity for them to develop a range of skills, such as communication, organisation, team working, critical thinking and analytical skills. It also offers a way to engage them in their own learning or a specific or unique part of school-life. Indeed, other learners may be more willing or open to answer questions from their peers rather than a teacher. For further information about how to support children and young people do research, please see NFER’s developing young researchers resources.
Whether you undertake a research project alone or collaboratively you may need to involve others to some extent (not just as participants). Depending on your experience and the purpose of your research, you may need:
your headteacher’s/principal’s support and endorsement for the research (it is good practice to seek this from the outset)
technical support or specific training
emotional support from friends and family - research can be challenging and time consuming at times
formal or expert support from an academic supervisor, mentor or colleague who can give constructive feedback on what you plan to do, how you have analysed the data , and how you have written up your findings.
Next: Planning your research.