Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Teaching in Higher Education

For a Special Issue on

Advancing the methodological frontiers of research into teaching in higher education

Abstract deadline
15 May 2023

Manuscript deadline
16 October 2023

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Neil Harrison, University of Exeter
[email protected]

Karen Smith, University of Hertfordshire
[email protected]

Mark Brooke, National University of Singapore
[email protected]

Melanie Nind, University of Southampton
[email protected]

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Advancing the methodological frontiers of research into teaching in higher education

With the burgeoning interest in higher education teaching as a site for critical investigation, it is vital that we continue to innovate and reflect on the traditional and emerging methodological tools at our disposal.  It is important that we deepen our insights into the connections between theory, research, practice and learning, including finding new ways of hearing and respecting diverse learner voices within inclusive educational systems.

In recent special issues, Teaching in Higher Education has engaged with some of the epistemic shifts within higher education research, questioning, for example, the place of knowledge in the curriculum (27:8, 2022), the datafication of higher education (25:4, 2020), the possibilities of decolonising (26:7-8, 2021), the rise of post-truth populism (23:5, 2018) and the nature of expertise (24:3, 2019).  We now feel it is time to focus on the methodological implications of these (and other) contemporary issues in higher education.

This special issue therefore aims to bring together papers that advance frontiers in methodology, conceived in the broadest way, that support research into teaching.  We are seeking abstracts that explore the development of research methodologies/methods or that apply more established methodologies/methods in innovative ways or contexts.  We are also interested in papers that offer new critiques of commonly-used methodologies/methods.  Topics might therefore include:

  • Emerging research methods, including arts-based, creative, visual and embodied methods; mobile and diary methods; and methods utilising technology.
  • New developments in (or critiques of) established methodological approaches, including action research; participatory approaches; ethnographic, autoethnographic and biographical methods; multimodal and mixed approaches; phenomenology; and experimental methods, including randomised controlled trials.
  • Data-driven methodological developments, including those offered by access to large-scale datasets; learning analytics systems; bibliographical and online research methods, including those using social media data.
  • Critical methodologies, including critical discourse analysis; critical race theory; feminist theory; critical realism; indigenous, decolonizing, post-humanist, and queer methodologies.
  • Critical approaches to research ethics, including challenges around co-construction; teacher and practitioner research; insider research; power imbalances; data security/identifiability and an ethics of care.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive and we would be happy to consider any abstract that fits within the broad scope and ethos of the special issue as described herein.  Proposed papers should have a clear focus on cutting-edge thinking, asking critical questions about how we make meaning from research data that is often diverse, incomplete or contradictory.

Importantly, we are not looking for primarily empirical papers that simply employ a novel methodological approach which is only described in passing prior to the presentation of findings.  Rather, we would expect the methodological elements to be clearly foregrounded, including, where relevant, the philosophical and epistemic foundations, a critique of the perceived advantages and limitations, an acknowledgment of practical challenges and recommendations for future researchers.  This is not to say that empirical studies cannot be used as an exemplar or case study for the exposition of a methodological critique – indeed, this is likely to be a powerful way of asserting or questioning their utility.

Our aspiration is that this special issue will lay out the current state-of-the-art thinking about research methodology to inform, inspire and enthuse researchers in their inquiries into the complexities and challenges of teaching in higher education.

Submission Instructions

Potential authors are asked to submit their extended abstracts of up to 700 words by 5pm (GMT+1) on Monday 1st May 2023.

Abstracts should provide an outline of the proposed paper, including its empirical, theoretical and/or philosophical basis, originality, and its importance within teaching in higher education specifically. We actively welcome abstracts which target the themes of the call from across the globe and from the full range of disciplines. Authors from a range of contexts, including those who are early career researchers, based in the Global South, on precarious contracts or with no institutional affiliation are warmly encouraged to submit abstracts.

Abstracts should be submitted online here.

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