Linking Research, Teaching and Learning within the Discipline: Evaluating Student Learning through "Real Life" Research in Sports Development
Allin, Linda, Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sports and Tourism Education
The ways in which links between research and teaching are embedded within the curriculum and related to student learning are influenced by the discipline context (Griffiths, 2004; Healey, 2005a; Jenkins, 2000). The current paper evaluates how involving students as researchers impacted on their learning within a community sports development module. The paper shows how experience of "real life" evaluation can develop student research skills, develop their industry contacts, and prepare them to problem-solve as graduates in a complex and uncertain society (Barnett, 2000; Scott, 2002). Difficulties and obstacles to learning are also presented.
Keywords: research-teaching links; sports development; learning
Introduction and background
Excellence in research and in teaching are critical for higher education in a modern society, where graduates need to be able to generate new knowledge, and also to operate within a changing world with its inherent risks and uncertainties (Scott, 2002). However, the nature of the relationship between research and teaching in universities remains an area of considerable controversy. Intuitively, academics may feel that being actively involved in both research and teaching should be mutually beneficial, but the evidence to support this has been far harder to demonstrate. As Brew and Boud (1995, p. 261) identified, "it is not that the results are conflicting, but they are inconclusive". A meta-analysis by Hattie and Marsh (1996) provided arguments in support of a positive, negative and ultimately zero relationship between research and teaching. Results were confounded by problems in defining research and teaching, the way they are often conceptualised as separate entities, and the presence of mediating variables. In particular, statistical approaches correlating measures of research output with student evaluations of teaching effectiveness produced an overall zero relationship. Correlations, of course, are problematic, and Robertson and Blackler (2006) criticised such studies for failing to recognise the complexities of the activities of research and of teaching, as well as taking a reductionist approach to any relationship between them.
In order to progress arguments about research and teaching links, authors such as Boyer (1990), Brew (2003) and Healey (2005a), sought to re-focus the debate towards ways in which research and teaching may be integrated and, most importantly, the ways such links can benefit student learning. Healey's (2005b) framework model for the research-teaching nexus provided one way of analysing how research-teaching links can be made within the curriculum. Within this framework, Healey (2005b) suggested the curriculum may be designed according to whether students are participants or an audience for research, and the extent to which the emphasis is on research content, or research process. Different forms of integration may be evident across a university curriculum, and quadrants are not mutually exclusive. The quadrant from Healey's model most relevant for this paper is that entitled "research based learning", which emphasises student involvement as researchers. As Brew (1999) argued, it may be when academics or researchers see their activities as parallel to the experiences of students as inquiry based learners, and facilitate student involvement in research-like processes, that the impact of research on effective learning can be facilitated. Jenkins (2000) further suggested that in order to facilitate learning, "as teachers we need to move radically away from the traditional lecture and forms of assessments to methods that mirror the research processes (in our discipline)" (p. 333). This paper explores one way of developing learning through taking a student-centred approach and engaging students in active participation in evaluation research processes within the context of sports development.
Linking research, teaching and …
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Publication information: Article title: Linking Research, Teaching and Learning within the Discipline: Evaluating Student Learning through "Real Life" Research in Sports Development. Contributors: Allin, Linda - Author. Journal title: Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sports and Tourism Education. Volume: 9. Issue: 1 Publication date: April 2010. Page number: 92+. © OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY Apr 2010. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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