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Module Enhancement
Understandings & Perceptions of Research-Teaching Linkages amongst Faculty
research into teaching books
Project: The primary aim of this study is to examine understandings and perceptions of research-teaching linkages by UCD Faculty
Project Team: Dr Lorraine Brennan, Dr Tara Cusack, Dr Suzanne Donnelly, Dr Eamonn Delahunt
Collaborator(s): There are no collaborators at present


UCD Teaching and Learning and Deputy Registrar Teaching and Learning


September 2014 - December 2015
research into teaching books

The view-point that research and teaching are inextricably linked has received much attention in the published literature (Brown & McCartney, 1998). The development of research-teaching linkages has been a priority area as part of the quality enhancement framework for Scottish universities and is highlighted as one of the priority enhancement themes for the Higher Education Academy. It is also a strategic priority of the Educational Innovation cluster of the Universitas 21 group of which UCD is a member. 

Academic disciplines by convention have their own traditions, resulting in varying research approaches, methodologies and cultures, which ultimately determine the ways in which research-teaching linkages are shaped. 

Fundamental to the integration of research-teaching linkages and implicit in these issues are the perceptions of academic staff of such linkages. Furthermore, there is a need to identify and explore disciplinary differences regarding academic staff perceptions of such research-teaching linkages.

research into teaching books
  • To explore what faculty understand by research-teaching linkages.
  • To examine whether/how academic staff use research to enhance their teaching.
  • To identify examples of good practice in terms of teaching-research linkages.
research into teaching books

This project will use a two phased approach, firstly we will seek nominations of staff with both a research and teaching role from each School. These staff will be surveyed by means of survey-monkey to establish their demographic details, their level of research activity and teaching commitment.  Following this, a random sample of academic staff will be invited to participate in semi-structured interviews to determine their understandings and perceptions of research-teaching linkages.  The second phase of this study will involve a systematic review of the international literature to examine institution wide interventions which have demonstrated significant improvements in research-teaching linkages.

research into teaching books

Just over 100 staff, representing 7 colleges and 24 schools across UCD, participated in a survey which explored what faculty understood by research-teaching linkages.   Twenty four respondents were professors or associate professors while the remainder were senior lecturers or college lecturers.  Only 52% of respondents felt they understood the concept of research-teaching linkages well or very well however 77% believed the concept was very or extremely important in UCD.  A representative sample of twenty eight individuals, were subsequently interviewed. 

Two themes have emerged.  Firstly there is a clear UCD Framework for Research-Teaching Linkages and secondly staff perceive that teaching informs research.  In terms of the UCD Framework staff use their own research and that of others to enrich their teaching, they guide students in learning research processes and enable students to have an opportunity to engage in research.  Staff perceive that aligning research and teaching has an important impact on research. The ability to discuss, engage with and present research to students leads to useful insights and opens new avenues of inquiry.

Executive Summary from the report on the Exploring the Understandings and Perceptions of Research-Teaching Linkages amongst UCD Faculty project