Research literacy and engagement


This online micro learning unit is for teachers and school leaders on the use of evidence and research in schools. It explores the potential of evidence and research to inform decision making, to evaluate and understand the impact of changes, and to improve the professional learning and development of teachers. This collection is designed to help you consider your own, and your colleagues’, engagement with research evidence, and the areas you may need to develop to deepen and embed this engagement in your practice. It will introduce the three main features of evidence-informed teaching: awareness, engagement and use:

  • Awareness: what is evidence-informed practice and what constitutes research ‘evidence’? 
  • Engagement: why is it important to engage with research and how can this be promoted in a school? 
  • Use: how can action research be used to investigate and change practice?


This unit incorporates a range of content types to support professional learning and reflective practice, including:

  • Recording from a webinar with Graham Chisnell FCCT (CEO, Veritas Multi Academy Trust) on embedding a culture of research in schools 
  • Case studies from practising teachers and school leaders and research reviews summarising the latest evidence base
  • Reflective questions to support learning and reading lists signposting further support and resources, including two self-assessment toolkits to help teachers and schools evaluate their levels of research engagement.


In this webinar recording Graham Chisnell FCCT (CEO, Veritas Multi Academy Trust) talks about his work and includes key takeaways from his new book ‘Irresistible Learning: Embedding a culture of research in schools’.

  • Strengthen your research practice and help build a culture of research across your school
  • Use the power of research to strengthen practice in yourself and others


Graham offers practical guidance on how to engage in meaningful research that will have a deep and lasting impact on you and your organisation.  You will be taken on a journey through a Research Cycle that will build your confidence and purpose as a researcher, deepening professional relationships and improving outcomes for all.



Hear about approaches to research literacy and engagement. We invite you to make notes on the journey and approaches taken in these case studies to inform your own next steps and consider how you might apply some of these insights in your setting.

The articles provided cover the three main features of evidence-informed teaching: awareness, engagement and use. The first two articles seek to define evidence-informed practice, highlighting some of the key challenges associated with this approach (AWARENESS). The second two articles draw attention to the importance of evidence-informed practice and explore how you might begin to embed this in your setting (ENGAGEMENT). The final two articles aim to further your understanding of the important role action research can in play in investigating and improving practice (USE).



Research-informed practice: A framework
Five challenges in moving towards evidence-informed practice
Evidence-informed practice: The importance of professional judgement
Practical approaches to embedding research in schools: Key learning and reflections from the Research in Schools Learning Community
Action Research: developing a reflective community of practice
Critical and collaborative problem-solving: An action research project on the development of cognition-centred inquiry for Year 11 senior history
Conducting inclusive research

Reflective questions 

Having engaged with the resources above, reflect on these questions to develop your knowledge of research literacy and engagement and consider how you might apply your learning in your setting.

  • To what extent do you and your colleagues have an evidence mindset?
  • What strategies for engaging with research do you currently use in your context?
  • What are the barriers to engagement in your context and how might they be overcome?

Further reading and resources 

This reading list collates articles and resources on research literacy and engagement. 

Building a culture of evidence and research use: Selected reading
Research engagement self-assessment toolkit for teachers
Laying out post-it notes on a table
Research engagement self-assessment toolkit for schools
3 people discussing something
Introduction to journal clubs
Certificate in Evidence-Informed Practice