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STEM Teacher Training Network of the Netherlands

Quality and impact of practice-oriented educational research

Suzanne Groothuijsen

Thesis “Quality and impact of practice-oriented educational research”.

Universiteit Utrecht – Freudenthal Institute – Scientific Library, nr. 107. Groothuijsen (2021)

Practice-oriented educational research is scientific research emanating from and being conducted in educational practice with collaborative involvement of relevant stakeholders, and building on and aiming to contribute to both educational research and practice. Quality and impact are two central issues in discussions on practice-oriented educational research. By studying quality and impact as bifaceted and in relation to each other, this dissertation aims to increase conceptual understanding and identify how quality and impact can be actualised. Four qualitative studies are conducted. Three studies are conducted in the context of the Postdoc-VO project, in which science teachers in secondary education with a doctoral degree conduct practice-oriented educational research in their schools. In interviews, individual reflections and group discussions, ten postdoctoral teacher-researchers are questioned about quality and impact. The results reveal how teacher-researchers’ quality concerns for practice-oriented educational research differ from research perspectives in the literature. Furthermore, the results empirically substantiate a literature-informed conceptualisation of the impact of practice-oriented education research in the dimensions scope, nature and progress. Subsequently, this conceptualisation is applied to analyse how impact, as reported by key stakeholders, relates to the characteristics of the studies, identifying how researchers can design their studies for impact. In the fourth study, six experts from the Dutch community of practice-oriented educational researchers are interviewed about the interrelatedness between quality and impact. This interrelatedness appears intertwined with conceptualisations of and judgements about (the configuration of) quality and impact. In actualising quality and impact of practice-oriented educational research, it seems indispensable to explicate underlying perspectives.