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Monthly insights

The Research of the Month website started life in the back of a taxi taking Carol Adams to a meeting at the Department for Education and Skills.

Turning to a colleague, the GTC's chief executive said that the council needed to produce a weekly digest of the best research studies that would help teachers find their way through the mountains of papers produced by university education departments.

This sounded like a pretty tall order, especially for an organisation that was then just three months old. "I come from a research background and my instinct was that this was going to be really, really difficult," says Lesley Saunders, the GTC's policy adviser for research and the other passenger in that cab. "But eventually we found that not only is it possible, it's highly desirable."

The idea of a weekly digest was dropped in favour of the Research of the Month (RoM) feature which is now one of the most popular sections of the website. In December 2001, users of these pages accounted for 6 per cent of all visitors to the website; two years later, that proportion had grown to 30 per cent. Topics featured include raising standards through classroom assessment, positive alternatives to exclusion and gender differences in achievement.

Research of the Month is clearly helping to turn teaching into what is known as an "evidence informed profession". But with a number of other websites now offering digests of educational research, is cyberspace being filled with more information than teachers have time to read?

Lesley Saunders acknowledges that there has been an explosion of information in the past few years, but says that the GTC works closely with other organisations active in this field to make sure that they complement rather than duplicate each others' efforts.

"RoM goes into some depth about each topic and is probably used by teachers who are already interested in using research," she says.

"Other websites have less detailed summaries and are aimed at those who are still unconverted but may come to see some practical value in educational research."

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