Researching education

Liam Gearon

This section is particularly aimed at those interested in taking professional development to master's or doctoral levels. Its purpose is to provide a critical outline introduction of the nature, scope and limitations of educational research, providing some exemplars of research in religious education.

It makes no claims to being exhaustive but it should provide some useful pointers, especially for those unfamiliar with educational research.

As such, Researching Religious Education is presented in the form of brief interrogative snapshots which aim to get thinking going around some of the main issues, supported by a short review of the immense literature in the field.


For a good overview of some initial steps in research specific to religious education, visit:

Using Research in Religious Education to Develop Reflective Practice. A pack to support tutors new to. RE initial teacher training by Linda Rudge Using_research_in_religious_education.pdf

Questions to consider:

  • Why is research in education important?
  • What appear to be the key questions that dominate much of research in education at the moment?
  • If you were to undertake a small scale study in your own school context, what aspect of teaching, learning and assessing in RE would you wish to investigate or explore?
  • What would be your central research question?
  • How would you find out the answer to your question?
  • What ethical issues might you need to consider before embarking on this research?
  • Reflect on what research questions or broad fields of enquiry that interest you?
  • How might you take your interest in educational research and researching religious education further? For a start you might browse the wide range of research in religious education, religious studies and theology covered the 'Intute' database in Section 8 of the Handbook.
Researching education