Research methods teaching in vocational environments: developing critical engagement with knowledge?
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Knowledge of research methods is regarded as crucial for the UK economy and workforce. However, research methods teaching is viewed as a challenging area for lecturers and students. The pedagogy of research methods teaching within universities has been noted as underdeveloped, with undergraduate students regularly expressing negative dispositions to the subject. These are challenges documented in university-based higher education (HE), yet little is known of the practices and pedagogies of research methods teaching in the college-based HE setting, where the delivery of HE has grown in prominence in recent years. Because college-based HE is widely regarded as primarily vocational, incorporating research methods into curricula may be seen as an additional level of complexity for staff to negotiate. In this article, we report on the data collected within a study to examine research methods teaching in social science disciplines on HE programmes taught in college-based settings in England. Drawing on data obtained from college-based HE lecturers and students, we discuss features of research methods teaching and how these may be applied with a diverse student body, within vocationally focused institutions. Issues of institutional culture, resourcing and staff development are also considered as these are identified as integral to the successful embedding of research methods teaching.
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