PE4C Investigation and Student-Led Research Conference

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The final piece of course work for the students on the BEd PE Programme is the ‘Investigation’. This is a student-led research project that culminates in a student-organised conference, where they share their findings with each other and members of the profession.

The ‘Investigation’ begins in year 3 where the students are encouraged to engage with research literature in an area that is personally meaningful to them. They are then allocated a supervisor in year 4 who supports them as they immerse themselves in their own professional inquiry. In addition to this, they are encouraged to attend a series of workshops that aim to develop their research skills, and to provide them with opportunities to develop communities of practice with students who are researching similar topics.

Whilst this is happening, a student research committee begins to organise the culminating event – a one-day conference where teachers, academics, students and other key stakeholders are invited to learn more about their research. The committee meet regularly throughout the year, and are responsible for raising money, inviting delegates, liaising with students and key stakeholders – essentially organising the entire event.

This year, over 40 students and 40 delegates took part in the event and the feedback that the students received from those who attended was overwhelmingly positive. Furthermore, many of the students described this as one of the best courses in their four years at Moray House, largely because it made them feel valued and it gave their research meaning. Below are some student quotations to highlight their thoughts about the course and the conference.

“This course offered us an excellent opportunity to engage with current PE teachers and to consider how our research can influence practice. I really enjoyed talking about our research. It made me feel more confident about how valuable even a small-scale research project can be. It gave our academic work meaning.” Melanie Woods

“I never expected to enjoy the whole process as much as I have and I’m sad it’s over. It was great hearing about everyone’s research and the worthwhile contributions that we have all made. A great way to finish and amazing four years.” Naomi MacPhail

“Being on the committee has increased my confidence in lots of ways. I now believe in my organisational skills and that I can be pro-active in gaining funding. This was a great chance to network with people but also to give something back to the university.” Jordan John Flynn


Shirley Gray

Dr. Shirley Gray is a Lecturer in Physical Education and the Leader of the Physical Education Research Forum. She is also the founder and co-convener of the Scottish Physical Education Research Network, a network that aims to support students and teachers of physical education in their professional inquiry and development.

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