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Course Design Blueprint

Research led curriculum


A research informed curriculum is one which enables students to engage with and be exposed to research content and activities in a number of ways. there are a number of benefits to creating these opportunities for students:

  • it enhances awareness of real-world issues
  • it develops critical thinking
  • enhances employability and enterprise skills
  • improves confidence
  • provides deep learning experiences. 

Research informed pedagogy


Our work to increase access to higher education, and to increase continuation, achievement and progression as part of our Access and Participation Plan is driven by research and evaluation. Each year, CELT sponsors projects which enables research to be conducted to help us better understand particular aspects of how we design, deliver and assess learning and teaching. The findings from these projects are presented at our annual Learning and Teaching conference, and these can be viewed in our Staff CPD Hub

There are also a number of Task and Finish Groups each year which explore and enhance specific elements of our practice.

We encourage colleagues from across the University to submit proposals for research projects and to join our Task and Finish groups. Through these activities we can reflect on our practice and work to apply our findings to our practice within the context of each discipline. 

Positioning research in the curriculum


There are a number of models or approaches to the positioning of research within the curriculum. These include the ones in the image below, adapted from Healey (2005, p. 70) 

Diagram presenting approaches to research in the curriculum

Connecting students, research and researchers


Reproduced from Fung D. (2017) A Connected Curriculum for Higher Education UCL Press: London (pp. 42-43)
Students connect with research and researchers by: How, where and when? To what effect?
1. Finding out about research Exploring what research is, within and/or across disciplines Investigating different research methodologies and associated methods Reading, seeing or hearing about current research studies, both the approaches being undertaken and the emergent findings Observing research being undertaken in real time (face-to-face or online) Before starting their programme of study, online or during a visit day As part of an induction activity at the start of the programme As individual preparation for classes During classes, as part of critical analysis in/of the subject By attending department-wide research seminars Through interdisciplinary projects As part of a ‘capstone’, synoptic module at the end of the programme Improving understanding of the university’s mission Characterising the nature of the discipline(s) and/or professions Developing students’ overall awareness of how knowledge is created and extended Enabling students to see through different disciplinary ‘knowledge lenses’
2. Talking about research Meeting individual researchers and engaging in dialogue with them Discussing others’ research informally through discussion (face-to-face or online) Undertaking specific peer review activities Participating in events such as seminars and conferences. Collaborating with others in a peer study group to study the work of a researcher Undertaking peer review activities in class or online Preparing for formative and summative assessments Undertaking field trips, visits, explorations of place Contributing to departmental seminar programmes, student research conferences, etc. Developing students’ sense of belonging to an active learning and research community Increasing motivation and engagement Developing confidence in using the language of research Enabling students to contribute questions, insights and critiques from their different personal, cultural and national perspectives
3. Doing research Engaging in collaborative enquiry as part of a peer group Undertaking individual enquiry Undertaking a research project (as part of a team, and individually) Evaluating one’s own research, including ethical considerations Formulating research questions Developing research skills Writing a research ‘bid’ Carrying out research, including study of relevant literature, analysis of evidence and development of argument Analysing the achievements and limitations of own research, and its place in the field Building up students’ skills and levels of understanding Enabling students to experience the joys and challenges of undertaking a whole project Developing students’ skills of evidence-gathering, analysis and evaluation Developing awareness of ethics and values
4. Producing research 'outputs' Developing awareness of ways in which research is already communicated to others Communicating the findings of own research effectively to different audiences Engaging with different kinds of audience (including alumni), face-to-face or online, to develop ideas in partnership Considering different audiences for the findings from research Analysing different modes of research communication, including informal modes such as blogs and videos, and formal peer reviewed publications Writing or creating one or more outputs from own research (individually or collaboratively) Analysing and learning from the effectiveness and impact of the outputs Following up with responses from audiences and future opportunities for engagement Enabling students to develop (transferable) skills needed for ‘digital citizenship’, including managing own digital identity and ability to work in different media Developing effective oral, written and visual communication skills, including use of different language registers Creation of a body of produced work available to external agencies, such as employers, which gives students a distinctive profile and voice beyond the programme