An Introduction to Practitioner-led Research


The OTLA team in the North East and Cumbria have developed a one-day introductory course for practitioners in Education and Training settings who may be new to practitioner-led research.

The course aims to introduce them to a range of practical strategies for investigating, evaluating and improving their teaching and emphasises the necessity of working with other staff in order to understand and change teaching practices in differing contexts.

Such focused collaboration ensures that intended changes are actually implemented, whilst also providing immediate validation of these small-scale, locally-responsive practitioner research activities.

Two courses were held at Ramside Hall in Durham and one at the Marriott Hotel in Sunderland.  They were attended by a total of 60 practitioners from across the region representing the 13 projects that are being funded by the Education and Training Foundation. 

The courses were led by Andy Convery and Claire Collins with assistance from David Powell and David Prinn who are all members of the OTLA (North East & Cumbria) core programme team.  They used collaborative group work, focused around grounded case-studies, to illustrate how collaboration between colleagues is needed to challenge and change established restricted practices.

The course aims to contribute to the development of a research active culture in the region which will be evident in OTLA participants’ confidence to take a “pick and mix” approach to the research approaches, collaborative activities and learner consultation styles which are presented, and to adopt a research stance which draws on their creativity to adapt methods and approaches to meet the needs of their particular contexts.

The courses were well received with delegates commenting:

  • “This was a fab session and I feel I’ve learnt an awful lot today which I can start to put into action with our learners straight away.” 
  • “It was a pleasure attending yesterday’s session. There was a real buzz of excitement in the room and R**** and I talked non-stop about our project on the way home. Thanks for sharing such valuable insight with us in such a lovely, light-hearted and fun way.” 
  • “It was a really positive CPD day and I feel I have gained a lot of information that is valuable.” 
  • “An excellent event which gives permission for teachers to research and to make sustained improvements to learning.” 
  • “Keep on with these sessions.  They invigorate you as a teacher to make things fresh.” 
  • “A well-structured, explanatory, interactive session where discussion and analysis were welcomed and participants’ ideas celebrated.” 
  • “A great day.  I gained a lot of useful advice and enjoyed meeting new people.  Event organisers were friendly, approachable and down to earth which made the session more enjoyable.”

ETF Education and Training Consortium Claire Collins Consultancy  Skills for Life Network


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