Research for practice

Exploring research within and around informal education, community learning and development, and social action

Methods and approaches

Action research: an introductory guide to the literature.

Building theory – the nature of theory and the process of analysis, integration and imagination.

Community profiling – we suggest some basic and quick steps you can take to gather information about about a particular neighbourhood in Britain or Northern Ireland.

Communities of practice – such communities provide a powerful set of reference points and processes for research and evaluation.

Evaluation – the theory and practice.

Focus groups – Focus groups have been part of market research for many years and are a useful tool in evaluation. In this short guide we look at the nature of focus groups, what they can be best used for, and the practical tasks involved in running them.

Keeping a journal: what does journal writing entail, what benefits can it bring, and how can we go about writing one?

Participant observation: the nature of participant observation, the roles researchers can take; and some classic problems – especially around questions of access and ethics.

Writing-up practitioner research in education: a guide.

Classic studies in informal education

Working with unattached youth (1967): reflections on Goetschius and Tash’s classic study plus profiles of George Goetschius and M. Joan Tash.

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Acknowledgement: Photo by Dan Dimmock on Unsplash