Encouraging and Supporting Teacher Research in the US and UK


  • Cinthia Gannett
  • John Brereton
  • Christiane Donahue
  • Mary Deane




Given the diversity of types of writing instructors in US and UK tertiary education and the range of their scholarly backgrounds, the likelihood is that most instructors have not participated in research in composition theory or pedagogy, rhetoric, academic literacies, or writing studies. The four projects reported here highlight the research opportunities and capacities of this diverse group, reflecting different types and levels of teacher or practitioner inquiry that involves teachers in studying significant questions arising from their own contexts. The article offers a brief history of practitioner inquiry research in its various forms and traditions; presents the projects themselves, including their aims and framing; and offers specific recommendations for the future of this invaluable form of inquiry.

Definitions of action research vary greatly. The term in its broadest sense refers to research conducted in a field setting with those actually involved in that field, often along with an ‘outsider’, into the study of questions influenced by practitioners, rather than solely by ‘experts’ (Noffke 1996: 2).

At the end of the day as teachers, we are often left wondering: Are we doing enough? How do we know? These are the essential questions that occupy the hearts and minds of so many of us as we walk into our classrooms (Goswami, Lewis and Rutherford 2009: 2).

Teacher research just isn’t like other forms of research, in part because there is no blueprint for how to do it (Goswami, Lewis and Rutherford 2009: 1).

Author Biographies

Cinthia Gannett

Fairfield University, USA

John Brereton

Boston Athenaeum, USA

Christiane Donahue

Dartmouth College, USA

Mary Deane

Oxford Brookes University, UK




How to Cite

Gannett, C., Brereton, J., Donahue, C., & Deane, M. (2011). Encouraging and Supporting Teacher Research in the US and UK. Journal of Academic Writing, 1(1), 280–296. https://doi.org/10.18552/joaw.v1i1.36