Teachers’ Awareness of and Attitude to Research, School Research Culture, and Student Achievement: A Pragmatic Examination.


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In England, there is a contentious drive pushing schools, and teachers within those schools, to provide research-informed practice. Proponents of research-informed education propose that educational research should be communicated to schools where it can be read by teachers and incorporated into their practice to improve teaching quality and subsequently student achievement.
Using a larger sample than seen in most comparable literature, this investigation contributes to available literature in the following ways. Teachers’ knowledge of a broad variety of well-established educational research findings are identified. The extent to which secondary schools have developed a research-informed culture is examined using Cain’s (2018) framework. Perhaps, most pertinently for researchers and policy-makers relationships between research engagement and student achievement are also explored. Though predominantly quantitative and survey-based, multimethods were utilised. Thirty-eight mainstream, state-funded secondary schools encompassing 426 teachers participated. Two surveys were distributed; the first was distributed to the person responsible for teachers’ CPD in each participating school to identify the extent to which that institution has, and is working towards, developing the dimensions of a research-informed culture detailed in Cain’s (2018) framework. The second survey was distributed to teachers across all participating schools to identify: a) their awareness of well-established educational research findings, b) their perceptions of the usefulness of educational research findings for guiding teaching practice, and c) steps taken at an individual level to maintain currency with educational research.
Analyses revealed that most schools place substantial importance on developing a research-informed culture but are more reserved in implementations to reach that goal. Generally, teachers’ ability to identify well-established educational research findings is similar to that expected by chance. No statistical relationship was identified between school research-informed culture, teachers’ awareness of well-established educational research findings, and student achievement. Theoretical and methodological implications are discussed, along with implications for educational policy-makers and stake-holders.
Date of Award22 Feb 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorVICTOR VAN DAAL (Supervisor) & DAVID ALLAN (Supervisor)


  • research-informed education
  • educational research
  • research-informed teaching practice
  • student achievement
  • research-based knowledge

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