Early Career Researchers

What is research capacity? Research capacity and TEL SPNECRE Tens of things

This web site is concerned with the development of research capacity within the field of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL), and reflects explorations of how best to understand research capacity and provide support for early career researchers in TEL: both in the ESRC-EPSRC TEL programme and more broadly.  The term ‘early career researcher’ itself is not that helpful – it disguises the fact that, as in other areas of educational research, many researchers have considerable experience as practitioners (teachers, lecturers, curriculum developers), and that in TEL, this situation is complicated further by the complex career trajectories which may have led across the social sciences, computer and information sciences, pure and applied sciences, arts, and humanities – as well as involving periods spent in industry or policy roles.

TEL Early Career Researcher Workshop, Spring 2009

TEL Early Career Researcher Workshop

The site draws on the work of an ESRC funded project: ‘A Social and Professional Network for Early Career Researchers in Education’ which explored the circumstances of early career researchers in TEL as well as other areas of educational research.  The work initiated by SPNECRE has continued as a ‘strand’ within the TEL programme.

The practices reported, resources identified and proposals put forward here are not based on an ideal model of disciplinary practice or research competences. Nor are we proposing simple binaries of digital natives and immigrants, quantitative and qualitative researchers, practitioners and theorists. All of the content of the site comes from the observed and reported practice of researchers in TEL and other projects, who gave generously of their time in order to explain, contextualise and critically evaluate their work. And we invite further contributions to this ‘researching of research’ – via the comments functions on the pages of this site, via email, or at future TEL events which we will publicise both here and in the main TEL programme website.


To download a printer-friendly PDF about the Research Capacity strand please click here.  To refer to this document, please use the following citation:  Technology Enhanced Learning Research Programme (2010) Research Capacity Flyer: Engaging and Supporting Early Career Researchers in TEL (TLRP: London).

Exploring Further

The site includes an short overview of some current work on research capacity building and a discussion of some of the particular challenges to capacity building in TEL.  There is some further information about the work of the SPNECRE project as well, and news of events organised by SPNECRE and TEL.

If you are more interested in the findings and recommendations that have emerged, then we have arranged the website into sections.  These were originally (at the behest of the TEL researchers themselves) to be ‘top ten’ lists, but several of these have subsequently expanded somewhat.  Do not think either that you should be reading/doing/using all of these!  Or that implementing them will immediately make great research occur.  These are seeds of ideas for you to consider, discuss with those whom you work, and perhaps try out in ways that align with your beliefs, commitments and existing practice.  Many of these are not specific to TEL – but in some cases we have identified particular issues, challenges or opportunities presented in the context of TEL research.

So – see what was suggested:

Ten Practices: ways of working, collaborating and learning from others
Ten Themes: key themes around which discussions and controversy often centre
Ten Readings: guides, reviews and case studies to illuminate the field
Ten Organisations: where to go for information and support
Ten Online Networks: draw on the collective intelligence online
Ten No-Cost or Low-Cost Tools: more capacity for less – tools to support the impecunious researcher

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