Research informed Teaching (RiT) department/division: Department of Psychology

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НазваниеResearch informed Teaching (RiT) department/division: Department of Psychology
Дата конвертации01.11.2012
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Research informed Teaching (RiT)

Department of Psychology

Planned timescale*

Start Date


End Date


Achieved timescale

Start Date


End Date


*as included in your original RIT plan



Please report on all the activities undertaken during this project. Please include your original action plan here and refer specifically to each items of the plan.

  1. Audit of research methods used in all Psychology Units.

The range of research methods used as part of teaching in the Units has been audited. This information can be used to ensure that the teaching of research methods in the various units can either be integrated with those taught in the specific research methods units or provide consolidation of what is taught (Appendix 1).

  1. Extent staff research informs research methods teaching

An audit of research methods used by staff in their own research and explicitly taught has taken place (Appendices 1 and 2).

  1. Extent of current staff research and its place in the curriculum

An audit of the range of research that staff are engaged in and that is explicitly discussed in classes has taken place (Appendix 2).

  1. Assess staff experience of RiT hitherto

    In general, the inclusion of students in research projects (whether RiT or not) is a great motivator. Most students take part in the projects for the experience and not for the money. There has been a large increase in the numbers of students who have had posters and presentations accepted at conferences, both national and international, over the past year. Some of this is due to the students’ involvement in staff research and some through their own dissertations.

  2. Extent and nature of current staff research

This information is included with the bid to establish a Research Institute within Psychology (Appendix 3).

  1. Develop Breo research site and update Departmental website

The Department’s website is being updated. There will be more information after Easter when current student research is included (currently there is an embargo until after presentation at the BPS conference). We have now set up a Breo site to be used to present technical reports, research drafts, conference presentations and posters, staff research CVs, student research, dissertation posters, etc.

  1. Impact of research activity on graduate employment

A questionnaire was sent out to graduates to enquire about aspects of research and research methods that had an impact on them when they were at university.

  1. Impact of ‘real world’ research on students’ learning and achievement

Focus groups and questionnaires were used to establish how students viewed the potential impact of research and research skills on employment .

  1. Effectiveness for students of CPCD input to curriculum

This aspect reflects the employability aspect of the research skills students acquire. A survey was carried out using both focus groups and questionnaires.

  1. Staff perceptions of CPCD input to curriculum

This area was assessed in parallel with the Department’s research into employability in the curriculum (Appendix 4)

  1. Dissemination of good practice and CPD related to RIT

PLAT2010 + potentially article in HEA journal, RiT projects discussed in Hong Kong and Canada.

  1. Range of statistics knowledge in Division

Four members of staff are being trained in advanced statistical methods (mainly AMOS on SPSS and Structural Equation Modelling). Staff are also being invited to train on AtlasTi for qualitative research methods.

  1. Identify good practice and disseminate

RiT meeting of HoDs Feb 2010. Training in making Research Count, Training for researchers in Graduate School and ODTU

Marketing of research methods expertise via Department’s Web site. (recruitment not currently an issue)

  1. Implement findings from evaluation

Assessment of how aspects of RiT can be maintained. Areas that can be improved and developed.


Please list all your project outputs and dissemination activities here. Please append copies of these outputs and relevant dissemination documents to this report.

Audit of research methods (Appendix 1)

Audit of Staff Research in the curriculum (Appendix 2)

Extent and Nature of Psychology Research (Appendix 3)

Staff Perceptions of CPCD and Employability Skills (Appendix 4)

Abstract for PLAT Conference (Appendix 5)


Please describe in detail (1000-3000 words) how this project has impacted on students’ learning experiences within your Department/Division. Please append any evidence you may have of such impacts.

Given the nature of the psychology curriculum as a research-based discipline and the fact that it comes under the heading of a science subject, the Psychology Department’s RiT project consisted mainly of an evaluation of what is already going on in terms of research informed teaching. Research in psychology is inextricably embedded in the teaching in some form or another. The Action Plan therefore listed a range of areas where more information was needed to determine the exact extent to which research currently informs teaching and its impact on staff and students. For example, all psychology staff are research active and all students learn about the research process from week 1 in their first year onwards.

Healey (2005) lists four main strategy areas where teaching and research are linked (the “teaching-research nexus”). In Psychology, teaching and research are covered in all four areas. What emerges from the evaluations undertaken is that some aspects need to be emphasised more clearly.


Please reflect on how this project has affected the academic practice (including both teaching and research) of your team and how you envisage sustaining the Department/Division’s work in this area.

Over the time of the project there has been a boost to the degree to which students are included in research. This may not be entirely due to the Department’s Action Plan but more to do with the range of activities going on and a shift in culture towards more research activity and engagement of students in that activity. As a result there has been an increase in the dissemination of students’ own research in conferences and increased collaboration with students.

There were a number of projects that involved working with students either in specific RiT projects, in other projects such as peer coaching or working with students on dissertations that led to conference presentations. While these projects were not specifically built into the Department’s Action Plan they nevertheless fed into a growing culture of engaging students more in the research process than in previous years. Furthermore, it is difficult to extricate the individual cases from the general points that arise from evaluating the impact of research on students’ learning and the student experience.

At the same time as the current RiT evaluation was underway the Department has been working towards developing its own Research institute which has already had some impact on the research activity of staff. There have also been an increasing number of former UoB students returning to do PhDs in the Department so that we now have a greater number than at any time in the past.

There have also been a number of individual projects, both specific RiT ones as well as others that involved the students. The project on peer coaching that took place in the third level Coaching Psychology unit has had an impact on how we might enhance student wellbeing and there is a strong demand from current students for a PostGraduate Certificate in Coaching Psychology.

One RiT project led to an informal research group of students and staff with a shared interest in a particular area so that the students themselves engaged in looking for potential funders. This in turn has led to links being made with local organisations.

An unexpected effect of another project was the increased enthusiasm shown by students in teaching sessions. Seminars therefore became more lively and interesting. A further benefit of working with students was that the staff got to know the students better, and vice versa.

Finally, the department ius currently running staff development sessions in Research Methods in three areas: the ODTU, “Making Research Count” (with the local authority), and the Faculty of Education and Sport in Bedford. Further developments are likely with the Goldberg Institute.

In short, the various projects where students have been engaged in the research in some way or other have been have had hugely positive outcomes in terms of both staff and student satisfaction with the projects.


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