Developing students’ research and inquiry skills from year one: a research informed teaching project from the University of Sunderland

Christine Stevenson, Joan O’Keefe


Foundation degrees developed and validated by Higher Education, (HE) institutions but delivered in Further Education College (FEC) partnerships often recruit mature students with a broad range of entry qualifications, equivalency and work experience. This article presents a research project from 2009-10, involving students and staff in three FECs on one foundation degree and considers how (HE) students' expectations can be addressed, their potential developed and gaps in their scholarship and research skills closed during early transition from further education (FE) to HE. Research methods included video and audio recording of students’ voices, pre and post questionnaires at either side of skills workshops and focus group interviews at the end of the project. The findings indicate a mis-match of students' expectations with the reality of HE study, misunderstandings of the language of academia and lack of awareness, skills and confidence in the use of journal articles and other academic resources to support their inquiries.

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