Research Activities


International Centres for Applied Research in Education

The Education and Social Research Institute is a founding member of ICARE, an international research collaboration between staff at MMU and The University of East Anglia in the UK, The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA, and Deakin University, Australia. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the member institutions.Memorandum of Understanding signed at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, April 2004


Memorandum of Understanding signed at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Diego, April 2004

Left to right: Jennifer Greene (Illinois), Ian Stronach (MMU), Noel Gough (Deakin), Harry Torrance (MMU)

The ICARE collaborative is committed to four core missions:

  1. Research and evaluation about education: Within the shared framework, participating members will pursue better understandings of common educational “problems” and how best to address them. In general, we see ‘technologies,’ ‘pedagogies’, and ‘identities’ as key notions around which to build our collaborative work. Specifically, collaborating members will:

    • Use the framework to reshape their own educational scholarship toward more globalised directions and dimensions.

    • Develop international research and evaluation collaborative investigations, appropriately funded, in the belief that an increasingly globalised educational world and its constituent knowledge economies demand an innovative research response that is genuinely transnational in nature, comparative in its perspectives, and capable of developing comprehensive and critical engagement with policies and practices worldwide.

    • Expand further collaborative work in relation to research publications, building on forthcoming publications such as Somekh & Lewin (eds.), Sage 2004; Piper & Stronach (eds.), Ashgate 2004 – with a view to producing publications of international repute in critical, policy- and practice-oriented educational research and evaluation; and to also present collective symposia at major national and international research conferences.

  2. Teaching about education and educational inquiry: The shared international framework for conceptualizing and addressing important educational problems of today will also support and engage participating members’ instructional responsibilities and challenges. Specifically, collaborating members will:

    • Use the framework to reshape and redirect their own teaching of educational matters, to incorporate global, transnational directions and dimensions.

    • Promote exchanges of research knowledge and practice germane to teacher education and professional development, curriculum development, educational reform and innovation, and assessment and accountability. Consider the possibility of shared virtual courses in selected domains of education, beginning with methodological training at the doctoral level.

    • Take advantage of the collective faculty resources within the collaborative to jointly advise doctoral students at the various centres.

  3. Self-reflection about our own research and teaching practices within the professoriate:
    Within ongoing opportunities for interaction and engagement, members of the collaborative will accord space and time to reflect on the character and quality of our own practices – as researchers and as educators – and to share such reflections with one another.

    This self-reflective aspect of our work together will focus in particular on the nature of the professoriate in the 21st century within the changing role of higher education in societies, western and otherwise. Our role as substantive and technical experts, along with the political and moral challenges inherent in our work and our selves, will all be engaged in this self-reflective process.

  4. Considerations of the ‘public value’ of our work as educational inquirers: Finally, a key component of the shared framework for engaging with contemporary educational concerns will be questions about the ‘public value’ of our work as educational inquirers. To what valued public good does our work contribute?

    Operationally, members of the collaborative will:

    • Plan progressively for expanded collaboration between the four centres in order to maximize synergies, and to plan exchanges of staff and/or students that will optimize learning and motivation for the parties involved.

    • Consider from time to time strategic expansion of the network, once established, in order to be fully representative of global educational interests.

A series of exchange visits and meetings have placed the collaborative on a firm initial footing.

Staff who are currently heading up the development of ICARE activities include:

Manchester Metropolitan University - Members of the Education and Social Research Institute (ESRI), including Ian Stronach, John Schostak, Bridget Somekh, Harry Torrance, Maggie MacLure.

University of East Anglia - Members of the Centre for Applied Research in Education (CARE) (Director: Rob Walker).

Deakin University - Shirley Grundy, Annette Gough, Noel Gough, Chris Bigum, Leonie Rowan, Jill Blackmore, Fazal Rizvi.

University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign - Jennifer Greene, Bob Stake, Susan Noffke, Tom Schwandt, Lizanne DeStefano.

Indicative publications and activities involving ICARE members:

Somekh, B & Lewin, C (eds) (2004) Research Methods in the Social Sciences. Sage. [Includes, amongst over 70 contributing authors, 20 chapters by ICARE members]

Piper, H & Stronach, I (eds) (2004) Educational Research: Difference and Diversity. Ashgate [Collection of essays by leading theorists and researchers, including chapters by Gough, A, Gough, N, MacLure, Schwandt, Stronach.]

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