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FP7

RESEARCH NETWORKS Report Summary

Project reference: 298865
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE

Final Report Summary - RESEARCH NETWORKS (Research Networks for Educational Reform A ‘School-University Research Network’ Perspective on Linking Teacher Education, Knowledge and School Development)

Summary of the Research Project

Purpose and Strategy
This study was internationally exploring the nature and (knowledge) processes of school-university research networks for school reform in the context of teacher education. At the beginning of the outgoing phase the Fellow further developed the project’s research strategy and timelines in collaboration with researchers at the outgoing and incoming hosts’ university departments and their research partnership schools. A secondary analysis of an existing dataset was conducted and the outcomes guided the development of a research strategy that comprised looking at the (knowledge) processes under investigation from three different network levels, the: (1) individual level of in-service master’s students; (2) dyad level of pairs of master’s students that do research and their school colleagues; (3) whole school level that represents the social structure of all educators in schools where master’s students that do research reside. It was decided to focus on studying features of the individual and dyad network levels in the United States (U.S.) context of the outgoing host and features of the whole school network level in the United Kingdom (U.K.) context of the incoming host during the return phase.

Data Collection and Analysis
In the outgoing phase in the U.S. over a period of 18 months three rounds of surveys were conducted in a progressive Charter Management Organization (CMO), collecting data about different aspects of social networks in schools. The outcomes of the analyses have been reported back to participants in school reports and meetings with schools’ representatives. To gain a deeper understanding of what happened in these school networks the Fellow also collected qualitative data from in-service master’s students and their colleagues working at these schools; individual interviews were conducted with master’s students and their colleagues and coursework data were collected from one cohort of master’s students working at the schools of the CMO.
In the return phase in the U.K. quantitative data were collected about four types of research networks and different aspects of research school cultures that exist in master’s students’ schools. Over a period of 12 months the Fellow conducted two rounds of network surveys in schools of a school-university research partnership in the U.K. To gain a broader and in depth understanding of the (knowledge) processes under investigating in relation to the social network structures and temporal relational patterns in school contexts where in service master’s students reside, a longitudinal, multi-method case study was conducted in one research partnership school.

Main Results and Conclusions
On the individual network level findings show ways that in-service master's programs for teachers can support individual teachers in developing collegial (research) networks with school colleagues for improving their school practice. Analysis on the dyad network level revealed a typology of collegial interactions and their impact during the exchange of research-based knowledge exchange between teachers that graduated from the master’s program and their school colleagues. On the whole school network level outcomes highlight the importance of the school-university research network in which the master's students' school was embedded and the school leadership in school for supporting their school staff to share and use research findings. A leadership approach was distinguished in which school leaders successfully combined formal structures and informal networking to support research engagement among colleagues in school.

Potential Impact and Use
The findings give insight in the way that master's students' research-based knowledge is shared and used for improving their school practice and in what way institutions of teacher education and schools can support these knowledge processes for encouraging school reform. Findings can inform the policy, practice and design of programs in Teacher education to become more collaborative in research and supportive of sharing and using research-based knowledge for school improvement.

Relevant Target Groups
Institutions of Teacher Education
Schools and School (partnership) networks
Policy Makers in Education

Project Website
www.surfin-education.com

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no [298865].

Related information

Documents and Publications

Contact

Schaeffer, Renata (European Policy Manager)
Tel.: +44 1223 333543
Fax: +44 1223 332988
E-mail
Record Number: 186978 / Last updated on: 2016-07-18