The findings of a survey by Joanne Crone, policy researcher with the Scottish Further Education Unit, were reported recently to the the Scottish Educational Research Association.
They indicated that the most common form of research was linked to a college's business development, including market research. More than half of the 60 per cent of colleges responding to the survey were involved in that kind of work.
More than a third of colleges took part in research-based consultancy and supported staff pursuing higher degrees. Many colleges attached the condition that the research should be relevant to the work of the college.
There was evidence of the fruits of collaboration among colleges and with higher education, as well as local enterprise companies and industry.
Ms Crone said: "This reflects Government emphasis on the changing balance between competition and collaboration. Working in collaboration allows learning to occur within all partner organisations. Colleges can learn from research organisations, and partner organisations can learn about the FE sector."