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The Heart of Research: Exploring the Aims, Nature and Values of Education Research Centres

"The Heart of Research: Exploring the Aims, Nature and Values of Education Research Centres"

In September 2023, Dr Emily F. Henderson and Dr James Burford launched a new Substantive University Research Centre called the Doctoral Education and Academia Research Centre (DEAR) (https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/ces/research/dear/). 'The Heart of Research' project has been designed to enrich the development of the DEAR Centre, and produce valuable empirical findings and an impactful output that will be of wider benefit to the higher education sector.

Project aim

The aim of the project is to conduct an empirical exploration of education-focused academic research centres in UK universities, with a focus on how centres understand and approach inclusivity, EDI and social justice in their work. The project seeks to explore the aims, nature and values of centres, with the dual objective of:

(i) developing the mechanisms and mission of the DEAR Centre using a research-informed approach

(ii) promoting a research-informed, inclusivity-oriented approach for the development and leadership of other centres, including beyond the field of education and beyond the UK context.

What does the project involve?

The project includes the following elements:

  • A literature review of relevant scholarly literature on research centres.
  • A webpage review of the webpages of education-related research centres in UK universities, with a particular focus on centres which explicitly express social justice aims. The review aims to map the aims, values and activities of centres.
  • Narrative interviews with centre founders of centres selected from the webpage review, about how and why they established centres, how the centres progressed over time, and how they had established the mission/values of the centre.

The empirical phase of the project will lead into a set of outputs:

  • A detailed, research-informed aims/nature/values statement for DEAR (including input from the DEAR Steering Committee) based on findings from the webpage review and interviews.
  • A brief open-access findings report on the project.
  • An open-access project briefing for centre leaders or those interested in founding centres with considerations for inclusive values to be embedded into research centres.
  • An online findings event will be hosted by DEAR to present the findings of the project.
  • An academic journal article will be produced for a leading peer-review journal in the field.

This project is funded by the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick

The project runs from March to September 2024

Who works on the project?

Principal Investigator:

Dr Emily F. Henderson,Link opens in a new window Department of Education Studies, University of Warwick

Co-Investigator:

Dr James Burford,Link opens in a new window Department of Education Studies, University of Warwick

Co-Investigator: Anna Numa Hopkins, Department of Sociology