This paper presents findings of the second phase of an impact study originating from the authorsʼ need to improve the ability of Professional Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) design and technology teacher trainees to research at postgraduate level. The work emanates from observations that many talented trainee teachers who are excellent classroom practitioners frequently struggle to disseminate research work based on traditional academic formats.
The methodological approach adopted throughout the study is grounded theory. This has been selected as it enables the simultaneous gathering of data which, following analysis, allows the findings to inform subsequent phases of research. In the second phase of this work, twelve
trainee teachers engaged with the study and the work conducted here set out to explore their perceptions, perspectives and experiences in relation to their adoption and implementation of the ʻscaffoldʼ as a tool to improve their ability to work successfully at post graduate levels of
study. Data gathered was designed to elicit further information in relation to their perceptions of the suitability of the scaffold and in the evaluation of its use. The focus for the semi-structured interviews focused on two primary lines of questioning:
Did the trainees find the alternative methodological approach ʻhelpfulʼ and if so how?
Could they (trainees) identify any areas for improvement?
Preliminary findings indicate that through engagement with the research scaffold attainment of trainees is raised. Findings strongly suggest that the scaffold is a useful tool in supporting trainees to structure their Level 7 (L7) work and of the trainee teachers utilising the scaffold in this phase of the study each achieved L7 in the production of their research work. Drawing on this, the paper also discusses issues about the validity and value of the ʻpractitioner basedʼ educational research which could well be of significance to the wider educational community.