Education Observatory

Research in Education at the University of Wolverhampton

First BESA research symposium held at University of Wolverhampton

The first BESA research symposium was held at the University of Wolverhampton on Wednesday 16thJanuary 2019. 


The first BESA research symposium was held at the University of Wolverhampton on Wednesday 16thJanuary 2019. The research symposium had 30 attendees from 7 universities. The guest speaker sessions were all well received and the discussions were interesting and thought provoking. The event included three guest speakers on the following topics.

Research to influence policy and practice

Sir Alan Tuckett, University of Wolverhampton. The session reviewed the role of research evidence in influencing policy change, and asked what else is needed to capture the attention of policy makers, and to have an impact on learners – illustrating from Alan Tuckett’s  experience across a working lifetime.

Translating research findings for wider audiences: The story of a research-informed comic

Dr Katy Vigurs, University of Derby. Katy explained her rationale for producing a research-informed comic book as an alternative, visual research output. She discussed the process of turning text-based research findings into a graphic, comic format and outlined the benefits of doing this (as well as the potential pitfalls) in relation to creating impact.

Research as impact and impact as research

Professor Michael Jopling, University of Wolverhampton. The session explored how we might reconceptualise our views of research impact to break down the boundaries between research and impact, drawing on and going beyond REF criteria.

Feedback on useful/beneficial aspects of the day included:

  • Sharing ideas and perspectives and critical discussion
  • Concrete examples of innovative practice
  • Opportunities to hear different perspectives
  • Getting time to sit and talk and think

Key messages from the day included:

  • The various ways of engaging with different audiences
  • The tension between impact and message
  • The need for critical reflection in this area
  • Hearing ‘real’ stories behind the research
  • Accessibility of the whole experience