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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Supporting staff to research in a post-1992 teaching-intensive university: an institutional ethnography.

Roberts, Nicola and Connelly, Sarah (2024) Supporting staff to research in a post-1992 teaching-intensive university: an institutional ethnography. In: Sixth Annual Faculty of Education and Society Conference, Interdisciplinarity and Collaboration, 10 Jun 2024, University of Sunderland.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


This research paper is framed using an institutional ethnography approach, which stems from the work of the eminent Canadian sociologist, Dorothy Smith (2005). It is concerned with how institutional texts organise and rule people’s work in institutions. It explores what people know because of what they do to make sense of how things work the way they do to make things work better. Observations formed the entry-point in the design of this research, which noted the disjuncture between what key institutional texts say about research and what academic staff know about research and how they do research. Thus the ‘problematic’ is ‘how can a post-1992 teaching intensive university better support staff to research?’ The research draws on broad observations, institutional texts (formal and informal), surveys, and interviews, to inquire about the problematic.
This paper draws on preliminary analysis of observations, institutional texts, and surveys with 38 faculty academic staff to illustrate what they know about research and what they do about research to show how things work and how to make them work better. These faculty staff come from multiple and inter-disciplines. Preliminary analysis shows that most staff 'face-away' from research, despite the explication of research and scholarly activity in key institutional texts, such as the academic contract, work loading, and instead they 'face' teaching (related) activities. Many staff who completed the survey are new and/or inexperienced in their 'lecturing' posts and some staff are not contracted to research. This has implications for what the university can do for new, inexperienced, and ‘uncontracted’ faculty academic staff in supporting them to research in a post-1992 teaching-intensive university.
These standpoints of people in institutions are important for institutional ethnography and particularly for inquiring into the problematic for this research. Hence, the collaboration of the two authors on this research project who are at different stages of their academic careers.

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More Information

Depositing User: Nicola Roberts


Item ID: 17725

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Nicola Roberts: ORCID iD
ORCID for Sarah Connelly: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2024 10:37
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2024 10:37


Author: Nicola Roberts ORCID iD
Author: Sarah Connelly ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Criminology
Education > Higher Education

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