• Conceptions of ‘research’ and their gendered impact on research activity: A UK case study

      Healey, Ruth L.; Davies, Chantal; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2019-08-31)
      The last twenty years have seen an increased emphasis around the world on the quality and quantity of research in response to national research assessments, international league tables, and changes in government funding. The prevailing attitude in higher education embeds research as the ‘gold standard’ in the context of academic activity. However, a key feature of this trend is significant gender differences in research activity. We argue that research productivity is related to identification as a researcher, and that identifying as ‘research-active’ or not would appear to depend upon how an individual academic subjectively defines ‘research’. This article brings together two hitherto separate bodies of work 1) the impact of gender on academic research careers, and 2) academic conceptions of research. Through a combination of interviews, focus groups and questionnaires, we investigate the extent to which interpretations of ‘research’ and ‘research activity’ differ by gender within an institution in the UK and the potential impact of these interpretations. Although the research found that there are many similarities in the interpretations of ‘research activity’ between genders, we found one important difference between male and female participants’ conceptions of research and its relationship to teaching. Significantly, our findings suggest that there is a need to expand our existing conceptualisations of ‘research’ to include ‘research as scholarship’ in order to address the obstacles that current understanding of ‘research’ have placed on some academics. Self-definition as a researcher underlies research activity. A narrow conception of ‘research’ may prevent individuals from identifying as ‘research-active’ and therefore engaging with research.
    • Developing ethical geography students? The impact and effectiveness of a tutorial based approach

      Healey, Ruth L.; Ribchester, Chris; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2016-02-17)
      This paper explores the effectiveness of a tutorial based approach in supporting the development of geography undergraduates’ ethical thinking. It was found that overall the intervention had a statistically significant impact on students’ ethical thinking scores as assessed using Clarkeburn et al.’s (2003) Meta-Ethical Questionnaire (MEQ). The initiative led to a convergence of scores, having a bigger impact on those who had a relatively low score prior to the intervention. Interestingly the approach had the biggest impact on students who self-identified as physical geographers. Unlike some previous research there was little evidence of difference between male and female students.
    • Gendered experiences of academic staff in relation to research activity and the REF2014

      Davies, Chantal; Healey, Ruth L.; Cliffe, Anthony D.; University of Chester (2016-06)
      This report is based on research commissioned by the institutional Research and Knowledge Transfer Office between June 2015 and June 2016. This research has focused on generating qualitative and quantitative data as to the potential reasons why there appears to be a gender disparity in research productivity within the commissioning institution. In particular, the number of women self-selecting for representation in the REF2014 was comparatively low. This research was led by Dr Chantal Davies (as part of her broader remit in relation to the Forum for Research into Equality and Diversity) with Dr Ruth Healey as co-researcher and Anthony Cliffe as research assistant. A Steering Group made up of representatives from across the institution oversaw the process.