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Research partnership inside & outside the curriculum: Opportunities, benefits, & challenges

West, Harry; Jenkins, Rhiannon; Hill, Jennifer


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Dr Harry West
Senior Lecturer in Geography & Environmental Management

Rhiannon Jenkins

Jenny Hill
Associate Professor in Teaching and Learning


Drawing on the experiences of two undergraduate students and an academic staff member based in the discipline of geography, this paper will explore the opportunities for student-student and student-staff partnership in research before progressing to examine the benefits and challenges of such engagement. Using the model of Griffiths (2004) opportunities for student engagement and partnership in research will be mapped across the undergraduate learning journey. This model envisages scaffolded development from passive research-led to more participatory research-informed teaching and learning. The student and staff presenters will highlight examples from their own institutions and invite you to consider your learning experiences through research. Examples of research engagement and partnership will include opportunities embedded within and falling outside of formal curricula. The personal experiences of the team will be combined with a literature synthesis to draw out the benefits of progressive student engagement in the research process and research partnership. These benefits include development of graduate attributes (Barrie, 2004) and self authorship (Baxter-Magolda, 2004) and they highlight an important role for extra-curricular activity in enabling the creative development of graduate competencies free from the constraints of formal assessment. Key challenges are also identified relating to coping with personal vulnerability, de-stabilizing traditional power relations and altering conceptualizations of role and identity, sustaining initiatives, and considering ethics of co-research and co-publication. We conclude that undergraduate research is the pedagogy of the twenty-first century (CUR, 2005) and that, well managed in the undergraduate learning journey, engagement with the full research cycle can prepare students for employment and citizenship in a rapidly changing world. Fulfilling the promise of research partnership, however, does require co-ordinated evolution of institutional policies that enable productive disruptions through partnership, and appropriate recognition and reward for staff and students.


West, H., Jenkins, R., & Hill, J. (2015, April). Research partnership inside & outside the curriculum: Opportunities, benefits, & challenges. Paper presented at British Conference of Undergraduate Research, Winchester, England

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name British Conference of Undergraduate Research
Conference Location Winchester, England
Start Date Apr 1, 2015
End Date Apr 1, 2015
Acceptance Date Apr 20, 2015
Publication Date Apr 20, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords research, partnership, inside, outside, curriculum, opportunities, benefits, challenges
Public URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : British Conference of Undergraduate Research