European Conference on Educational Research location:Cadiz date:18-21 September 2012
This paper reports on a study among 70 lecturers in professional fields in higher education, of six different programmes in Flanders. They participated in focus groups where they discussed what (doing) research entails and the importance of it for their students future profession. Analyses reveal that when lecturers talk about research, they talk about four distinguishable aspects of (doing) research: research steps, sequence in research steps, characteristics of the researcher, and links between research and practice. The data show that the most important aspect of (doing) research for students future profession, in lecturers’ opinions, is developing specific characteristics of the researcher, namely, developing a critical attitude. Research steps are seen as the second most important aspect of (doing) research. However which of those research steps students should master differs across programmes. While in one programme students should be able to perform (certain) research steps themselves, it is in another programme sufficient to understand the research steps. Also the meaning of a critical attitude differs from critical towards own actions to critical towards the interpretation of reported research results. This finding highlights the necessity to understand the meaning of the words used, in order to understand lecturers’ choices in teaching approach.