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Issue Eight - (2023)

The theme for this issue of the Hillary Place Papers was Rising to Contemporary Challenges in Education Research.  With our understanding of the long-term impacts of the Covid pandemic developing, this issue was interested in addressing how the pandemic has affected approaches to research, how researchers are coping with and improving their post-pandemic research processes and the challenges faced by researchers when identifying, recruiting, and working with participants.  Papers included in this issue explored various aspects of the authors’ interactions with participants, such as positionality and collaboration as well as challenges faced when managing the research process and teachers’ experiences of professional qualifications.

The first paper is Power, Participants and Pandemics – steering a reciprocal path through research methods by Michael Taylor, a part-time PhD student at the School of Education, University of Glasgow. Michael explores the need to consider reciprocity and power dynamics when working with human participants. He uses his own PhD research, involving interviews with school professionals and national policy influencers, which offers an example of how reciprocity and power dynamics may be employed to help overcome potential obstacles such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper highlights questions about how researchers might consider the power dynamic within interview research and offers suggestions of how this might be considered when planning to conduct interviews honestly, ethically and in a mutually beneficial way.

Our second paper is An account of presenting a poster at the 16th Research Students’ Education Conference (RSEC) at the University of Leeds by Clare Copley, a PGR at the School of Education at the University of Leeds, who focuses on her personal experience of her research topic, and considers whether her positionality is a help or a hindrance. She reflects upon her personal connection with her exploration of sex and gender differences in growing up with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) with specific consideration of mental health issues experienced by females with DCD and the impact of this as they transition into higher education. Clare reports that presenting her poster resulted in unexpected but welcome reactions of conference delegates, acknowledging that personal experience can be accompanied by passion, drive, and determination to overcome barriers. Clare’s poster is included to complement her paper.

The third paper is about Hungarian EFL Teachers’ Experiences of CELTA. Gergely Kajos, a Masters student at the School of Education at the University of Leeds, examines the experiences and motivations of non-native speakers of English who have undertaken the Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA), including their reasons for enrolment, such as seeking a challenge and new inspiration. This qualitative study involved reflective narratives and semi-structured interviews with three teachers, which were analysed using thematic analysis. The resulting analysis highlights implications for CELTA trainers and training providers by identifying key challenges and experiences of non-native teachers.

In our fourth paper, Entangled Engagement: Getting Started with Lines, Knots and Participatory Theatre, Hannah Wainwright, a PGR at the School of Education at the University of Leeds, presents a think-piece reflecting on the challenges that she has faced in the early part of her PhD, during which she spent around 250 hours as a volunteer in the Theatre of Sanctuary programme run by a local theatre. She frames what happens at the theatre as an ongoing work of becoming, in which participants, spaces and methods are characterised as flowing and ongoing lines, which come together to create a fully-realised world. Hannah explores how, by becoming knotted within this ongoing flow of places, practices, and people, she has begun to accept the challenge of mess in her research.

Our last paper is The challenge of managing the research process: from initial ideas to co-created new knowledge by Marianne Talbot, a PGR at the School of Education, University of Leeds. This article reflects on Marianne’s experiences as a PGR leading a Research England funded project focused on how best to support teachers to engage with professional development (PD), that commenced in summer 2022 and remains ongoing. The focus of this article is not the research itself but the process of bidding for funds, planning for and undertaking the initial research, and building on that research, leading to newly co-created meaning and avenues of investigation. For example, Marianne led a discussion about the project at the AEA-Europe Annual Conference in November 2022, and is now developing 10 case studies of successful teacher engagement with PD.

An exciting addition to this issue was the inclusion of papers and posters from PGR students attending the 16th Research Students’ Education Conference (RESC) hosted by the School of Education The conference theme, Messy Research, encouraged presenters to share the innovative and non-traditional research methods they used to engage participants in creative and dynamic ways. Anna Harwood, a PGR at the School of Education at the University of Leeds, summarises the conference, which provided an opportunity for Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) and Masters students to showcase their research as well as engage with peers and senior academics from the School of Education in a supportive and inclusive forum.

The editorial team would sincerely like to thank the contributing authors, the staff reviewers, and those who helped by reviewing papers, advertising the call for papers, and contributing in numerous ways to ensure the successful publication of this issue of the Hillary Place Papers.  Thank you.

Individual Articles

Hillary Place Papers - Issue 8 - November 2023 - Editorial

Hillary Place Papers - Issue 8 - November 2023 - Taylor

Hillary Place Papers - Issue 8 - November 2023 - Copley

Hillary Place Papers - Issue 8 - November 2023 - Kajos

Hillary Place Papers - Issue 8 - November 2023 - Wainwright

Hillary Place Papers - Issue 8 - November 2023 - Talbot

Hillary Place Papers - Issue 8 - November 2023 - Copley et al

Full Issue

Hillary Place Papers - Issue 8 - November 2023