Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • Publication
    Mapping Existing Research Output Focused on Higher Education Teaching and Learning in Ireland 1990-2015
    The purpose of this six-month 'snapshot' project was to map the extent and characteristics of research on teaching and learning in the Irish higher education field. This is the first such study focused on Ireland, and the first systematic study of teaching and learning research at a national level. The project set out to capture the nature and key characteristics of such research in Ireland between 1990 and early 2015, including the main fields of interest the types of publication and historical development. The two main benefits of such a study are that it provides; i) an evidence base for the enhancement and development of teaching and learning at a time of major change in Irish higher education; ii) direction for further research, and coordination of research. The first phase of the study involved a systematic review of published research, comprising a wide range of sources, and involving electronic and hand searches. This was followed by a review of conference papers (Phase 2) and of research by identified experts (Phase 3), resulting in the identification of a total of 2275 records. The first stage of analysis in the study consisted of a review of abstracts for key themes. The thematic approach followed that of Malcolm Tight's (2012) analysis of higher education research in the English language outside US and Canada. In the second stage, full papers will be sourced for full text analysis. 
  • Publication
    A systematic review mapping twenty five years of Irish SoTL research (1990-2015)
    This six-month 'snapshot' project, commissioned by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (, outlines the extent and characteristics of research on teaching and learning in the Irish higher education field. The project is the first systematic study of research focused on teaching and learning at a national level and brings together a considerable corpus of Irish SoTL research. It takes a wide lens, or 'big tent' approach (Huber and Hutchings 2005), including research made public via publication in peer-reviewed and other journals, working papers and presentations at conferences and other fora. The systematic review protocol and the findings will be presented.  Systematic reviews are becoming common in higher education research (Bearman et al 2012). However outside of the medical and nursing fields (e.g. Cant and Cooper 2010), to date they have not been used to map other SoTL domains. A critical assessment of using this method to map SoTL research will be presented.A wide range of electronic academic databases, proprietary journal packages, institutional repositories and one search engine (Google Scholar) were searched. Hand searches were also used to locate studies not included in electronic databases and/or where the keywords used by the authors did not match the ones used in the search. In total 6, 851  records  were screened by two of the project steering group for inclusion/ exclusion. Two additional methods were used to complement the systematic review: 1. A search of the programmes of seventy national and international educational and disciplinary conferences, meetings and symposia where Irish academics present teaching and learning research (2013-2014). 2. A search of one hundred Irish higher education teaching and learning experts' publications and presentations. All material located in these searches was also screened. The analysis draws on Tight's (2012) framework for higher education research. For each study located, themes or issues, methods or methodologies, engagement with theory and level of analysis were identified. This systematic review establishes in a scholarly way the current state of research in the Irish higher education teaching and learning field, tracing aspects of its development, investigating its strengths and limitations, and offering suggestions as to future directions required. We conclude by arguing that any national level vision of future pedagogies and learning paradigms in Irish higher education should be evidence based. In a time of major change in Irish higher education, the findings will provide an important resource for teachers, policy makers, the National Forum and others seeking to enhance and develop teaching and learning Irish higher education.
  • Publication
    The First-Year Experience: Assessing Expectations and Enhancing Reality
    This project aimed to assess student expectations of university on arrival and their experiences during the first year with a view to identifying key issues relating to student engagement and recommending possible enhancements at University College Dublin.
  • Publication
    The first semester of university life ; ‘will I be able to manage it at all?’
    This paper reports on an Irish study examining first year students’ recollections of their concerns, motivations, level of preparedness and perceived skills on entry to university. The study aims to investigate and understand the implications of the attitudes of first year students as they make the transition to university. It also explores students’ behaviour during their initial weeks at university. It is important to understand the anxieties of new students, their views on their abilities and their confidence in managing their new role as these factors will have consequences for their experience as first year university students. These findings are explored with a view to enhancing the quality of support for students during this key transition.
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