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A CALL was made last week for researchers to demystify their research.

The "golden opportunities" to reach teachers offered by continuing professional development may go unrealized if they don't, according to Iain Davidson, senior lecturer in the department of education at Aberdeen University.

Mr Davidson told The TES Scotland that a major problem has been the tendency of teachers to be "rather scared" of research and to consider it way beyond them.

"The requirement to do more CPD and perhaps the requirements of the chartered teacher programme open up golden opportunities for both sides of the divide, between teachers in the classroom and researchers in their so-called ivory towers," Mr Davidson said.

But research had to be explained in a way that allowed schools to have some sense of how to ask questions about the quality of the work done. "It is a slow process and means that you have to explain to people in a non-patronising and non-technical way what you are up to," Mr Davidson said.

Donald Christie, president of the Scottish Educational Research Association, which held a seminar on the subject at Jordanhill last week, said the rapid expansion of research-type activity in schools raised complex ethical issues.

"We are firmly committed to the notion that a commitment to key principles like respecting human rights and in particular the rights of the child can serve positively to enhance the quality of research rather than act as a negative constraint on researchers," Mr Christie said. "We want to avoid merely generating a series of hoops for researchers to jump through."

The seminar also heard a plea for young people who contribute to research projects to be given access to the final results. Steven Paterson of Who Cares? Scotland, which works with young people in care up to the age of 25, said the main thing was that they get to see "an overview" which reflects their voice and makes them feel valued.

"If they don't find out what has happened," Mr Paterson said, "it becomes an issue the next time a researcher comes through the door."

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