Presentation on theme: "Exploring the links between research and teaching in Economics Dr Linda Juleff, Edinburgh Napier University Economics Network Project 2008-09."— Presentation transcript:
Exploring the links between research and teaching in Economics Dr Linda Juleff, Edinburgh Napier University Economics Network Project 2008-09
Objectives To examine the perceptions of economists with respect to the links between (subject based) research and teaching To examine the ways in which research- teaching linkages are used to enhance students employability skills via engagement with the research process
Background (1) Funding council agenda re the value for money of research and knowledge transfer in terms of the transmission of research into teaching at (particularly) undergraduate level HEA interest in research teaching linkages and the development of employability skills Economics Network has 6 case studies relating to the links between research and teaching on its website
Background (2) QAA (Scotland) Research Teaching Linkages: Enhancing Graduate Attributes Enhancement Theme – 9 discipline based reports Question: Is Economics a Business and Management related discipline or an Arts and Social Sciences related discipline?
Background (3) Answer: Economics is mentioned just twice in the Business and Management report and not at all in the Arts and Social Sciences report In both cases it is argued that the hierarchical nature of the discipline inhibits research and teaching links especially at years 1 and 2.
Theoretical Framework - Types of Research-Teaching Linkage Research led (or research informed) – teaching subject content Research tutored – learning focussed on students writing discussion papers or essays Research based – students undertaking inquiry- based learning Research oriented – teaching processes of knowledge construction in the subject (Healey, 2005)
Evidence from the 2005 Economics Network Lecturer Survey (1) 82% of respondents believed that research played a positive role in their teaching. Examples: Empirical findings from the research complements theoretical understanding of the topics covered in teaching (research led/research informed) Provides issues for class discussion (research tutored)
Views from the 2005 Economics Network Lecturer Survey (2) 58% of respondents agreed that teaching and research are complements in some respects and substitutes in others. 30% thought that they are complements and not substitutes 4% stated that they are substitutes and not complements.
Views from the 2005 Economics Network Lecturer Survey (3) More effort should be made to integrate the two Departments need to exploit the synergy between research and teaching Advanced teaching is research informed Advancing research keeps teaching current I am not using my research in my teaching since I am teaching different stuff from my research
Focus Group Pilot Study Three focus groups undertaken at a single conference Random mix of academic staff – 5 to 6 per group - drawn primarily from across the UK but some from overseas Primarily lecturers/senior lecturers
Focus Group Results (1) Q1 How do stakeholders perceive the link between research and teaching in economics? A lot of staff see research and teaching as substitutes Research is very specific in economics and is difficult to include in teaching A lot of universities use PhD students to teach who arent good at teaching
Focus Group Results (2) Q1 How do stakeholders perceive the link between research and teaching in economics? Students are not equipped to deal with research (undergraduate) Employers want evidence based arguments and some research is not (though may be in the long term..) …more interested in what you can use economics for
Focus Group Results (3) Q2 What skills/graduate attributes do economists value most? Critical thinking skills – need to be able to apply theories To identify key aspects of a problem and what the first steps in problems solving would be Awareness of policy implications Economic intuition
Focus Group Results (4) Q3 How does economics research inform programme or module development? Incentive structure for lecturers to spend time on teaching doesnt encourage research-teaching linkages New topics according to research interests Update the reading list with new papers New approaches are guided by research
Focus Group Results (5) Q3 How does economics research inform programme or module development? Varies enormously – particularly as academic research is unlikely to inform a level 1 module Economics research generally should influence module development – maybe at 3 rd year…2 nd and 3 rd year should be more journal driven Good to start teaching the research approach at level 1 Difficult to do….class size matters
Focus Group Results (6) Q4 Is your departments teaching research led, research- tutored, research based or research oriented? Research led Research led….depends on level….graduate level more so
Conclusion On the basis of the (limited) evidence reported here: the tension between research and teaching that exists in some other disciplines appears to exist within economics there appears to be a link between the level of a module/programme and how/the extent to which research is used within that module research led approaches are most common but research tutored, research based and research oriented approaches are also used, although these particular terms may not be used in practice
Economics Network Resources http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/handbook/ugresearc h/ http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/handbook/ugresearc h/ Outlines some of the methods currently being used in the US (mainly for final year courses) http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/handbook/dissertatio ns http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/handbook/dissertatio ns Discusses issues relating to undergraduate final year dissertations http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/showcase/research 6 case studies of how research and teaching can be linked
References Healey, M. (2005) Linking research and teaching exploring disciplinary spaces and the role of inquiry-based learning, in Barnett, R. (ed.) Reshaping the university: new relationships between research, scholarship and teaching, pp.30–42. Maidenhead: McGraw- Hill/Open University Press. http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/projects/lec _survey2005.htm http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/projects/lec _survey2005.htm