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Practitioner Research and Evidence Portal


Welcome to the Practitioner Research and Evidence Portal

The aim of this site is to encourage evidence-informed practice in the Further Education and Training (FE) sector by exhibiting the research carried out through the Education & Training Foundation’s (ETF) programmes, such as:

… and encouraging practitioners to become involved in research whether that be academic research or practitioner-led action research. This includes suggesting where to start on the journey to becoming a research informed practitioner.

What you will find in the Research Portal

  • Links to research carried out by practitioners and managers in the Further Education and Training (FE) sector
  • An introduction to different forms of research
  • How to get involved in research
  • Some starter ‘taste of research examples’ link to academic research and practitioner-led action research. (Where available, a Twitter handle has been added so that you can follow them on Twitter, which you may find useful if you wish to network or join the many research communities available).

The Professional Standards

For many of us working in the sector, our first encounter with educational research was during our initial teacher training, and this may have informed our practice ever since. The Professional Standards were developed in 2014 by the ETF in consultation with practitioners and providers, and their aim is to encourage us to continue to reflect on our educational assumptions, values and practice. It's an excellent tool to use to self-assess ourselves in the Further Education and Training (FE) sector.  The ETF have created a range of guides and resources to support members of the sector to utilise the Professional Standards. 

This site aims to support you to develop and maintain the professional knowledge and understanding to do this whatever your role.  Indeed, an understanding of research supports all the 20 Professional Standards.Professional Standard 08:'Maintain and update your knowledge of educational research to develop evidence-informed practice', and 09:'Apply theoretical understanding of effective practice in teaching, learning and assessment drawing on research and other evidence' are clearly directly relevant, but all 20 of the Professional Standards could be the focus of your reflection and research.

Watch these videos to see two examples of how the Professional Standards have been used to frame practitioner-led research.

Lincoln College - Individual & Group research


Guernsey College of FE - Individual research

The Professional Standards Research Tool maps the Professional Standards, and can be a useful guide to your reading and your investigations. It is designed to give quick and straightforward access to a good selection of relevant knowledge from research. It offers a range of types of resource from short, bite-sized summaries to blogs, case studies, reports, and more extended distillations of research reports. In essence they can be used as a guide to your reading, reflection and action. The Professional Standards aim to support you to achieve your professional potential or to support you to support your colleagues to do so.  They are not a set of competencies, they are a set of professional aspirations.

Example 1:

A practitioner may be interested in further aspiring and motivating his/her learners or supporting a colleague to do so. Where to start? Looking at Professional Standard 03: 'Inspire, motivate and raise aspirations of learners through your enthusiasm and knowledge' would be a good place to start.  The Professional Standards Framework acknowledges that the starting point will be different depending on whether you are a Developing Teacher/Trainer, a Professional Teacher/Trainer or an Advanced teacher/trainer.  This may vary for an individual depending on which standard is being investigated. The Research Tool for Professional Standard 03:

  • asks questions and offers tools to encourage deep thinking via reference to research evidence
  • offers reports and professional guides such as the Motivational Dialogue materials
  • gives links to case studies and articles written by both academics and practitioners

Example 2:

Teachers in FE wish to pass on their skills and make a difference to learners.  This might be the focus of your research, i.e. what impact is your practice having on your learners?  Professional Standard 10 Evaluate your practice with others and assess its impact on learning could give you framework to start your investigations. The Research Tool for Professional Standard 10 contains:

  • a DIY evaluation guide produced by Durham University and the Education Endowment Foundation. This guide introduces the key principles of educational evaluation and guidance on how to conduct small-scale evaluations
  • papers, abstracts, videos and reports
  • summaries of practitioner research – bite sized outlines to whet your appetite, and links to the longer versions of the papers you wish to read in more detail

The sources of the materials in the Professional Standards Research Tool are wide ranging and come in many formats.