Student Research Teams (SeRTs): inspiring and enabling student-led extra-curricular and co-curricular research partnerships with academics and professional practitioners

Anita Diaz, Lucy Allen, Hannah Morris


The core aspiration of all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) is to create opportunities that energise and focus engagement and so empower their students to enjoy learning and to become their future professional selves. Here we describe one vehicle, Student Research Teams (SeRTs) that combines these two elements by inspiring students, staff and professional practitioners to collaborate in mutually beneficial, extra-curricular student-led research partnerships. We compared the effectiveness of SeRTs with that of other active learning vehicles and found SeRTs to be significantly better at fostering student engagement and enhancing their perceived development of employability skills and personal attribute strengths. These strengths were also highlighted by a  SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis across a range of SeRTs and by detailed qualitative survey of students on one SeRT case study.  The greatest challenges associated with SeRTs were time and funding constraints. We discuss how these and other challenges may be met and suggest some solutions.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Anita Diaz, Lucy Allen, Hannah Morris