The disciplinary effect on early career teachers

The disciplinary effect: exploring the effect of disciplines on learning and teaching among fixed term and temporary university teachers

Team Members:  Fiona Quinlan-Pluck,  Emily Woollen,  Amy Burge,  Sharon Boyd, Nadia Tuzi, Catherine Lyall


Background: It would be difficult to overstate the relevance of disciplines for higher education teaching and learning. The effect of disciplines on pedagogic practice is a well-trodden area of education research (see e.g. Berger 1970; Palmer 1998; Trowler 2008a, 2008b, 2012). However, most existing research in this area has focused on established academic staff, or those in more senior positions. Staff in early career roles, or who teach on temporary or fixed-term contracts (such as tutors or teaching assistants), make up a significant proportion of university teachers and yet scant research has been carried out specifically focusing on their teaching practice and the influence of disciplines.

Aims:This research project will investigate how attitudes to learning and teaching might be affected by disciplines for this group of university teachers. We aim to explore how disciplines shape their perception of their roles, their development, and their attitudes to teaching and learning.

Methodology:  Emphasising co-creation, we will work with colleagues across the three Colleges at the University of Edinburgh to collect research data from this group using a two-stage, mixed-method approach. Finding out more about how this group of teachers perceive their roles in relation to their disciplines contributes to ongoing critical debate and will contribute to developing practice for this group of staff at Edinburgh.