The readership for this book is wide and varied. Primarily, the book is intended for the part-time postgraduate student, in employment, in education and training-related professions such as teaching in schools, tutoring in further education, technical training in the armed forces and the police service, and social work practice and health care staff development work. However, other users of this book will include those interested in carrying out small scale research projects in and around their work environments. For such readers especially, the text is an enabling tool. It will help in the process of research-skill acquisition. It will help to energise a process of lifelong learning. It will provide a means to channel an eagerness to enquire into and learn more about practitioners own organizational practices.
The book is ‘postgraduate’ in the sense that it offers rather more than the conventional undergraduate ‘nuts and bolts’ books on how to do small scale research projects. It ought to be particularly useful to registered postgraduate students in universities undertaking research projects as part of higher education courses. A central theme in the book is how teachers, tutors, lecturers and trainers might mobilize the concept of Practitioner-Based Enquiry (PBE) to systematically enquire into their own institutional practices, especially as these pertain to arrangements for teaching and learning. Such enquiries may well be used to produce assessable reports and artifacts which can be submitted for academic credits leading to the award of certificates and degrees from universities and other professional bodies.
Learning organizations such as schools and colleges, teaching hospitals, police staff colleges, training agencies and so forth often require their incumbents to contribute to the process of formulating curriculum policy, evaluation of the outcomes of planned learning experiences, unravelling ‘knotty’ teaching problems and so on. This involvement often carries with it some notion of ‘research’, ‘enquiry’ or ‘review’. To enquire into one’s own institutional practices may, on first encounter, appear simple. However, research is a complex activity involving question setting, theorizing, data gathering and report writing. This book is designed not to oversimplify, but to help in the facilitation of understanding these elements, with a view to producing valid and comprehensible research reports.