Talking about research-led teaching: A discourse analysis

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

Much has been written about university efforts to forge stronger links between research and teaching. In fact we wonder whether there is anything new to say about this topic. In light of this conference’s theme of Reshaping Higher Education and in response to the call for a more nuanced analysis of the issues, we critically identify and examine the effects of senior academics’ discourses on how these two core academic activities are shaped and reshaped. Our approach in this paper moves the analysis of the links between teaching and research beyond institutional issues, debates and challenges to explore the discourses that attempt to simplify academic work and issues related to bringing research and teaching together. This, we argue, has the effect of idealising research at the same time as problematising teaching. Our analysis surfaces complexities that underpin apparently instrumental and normative policy prescriptions, thereby contributing to a deeper understanding of the political and practical effects of senior managers’ views about research-led teaching.

Keywords: research-led teaching, discourse analysis, senior academic managers