The Swedish Institute for Educational Research is a government agency with the sole objective to enable those who work in the Swedish school system to plan, carry out and evaluate teaching supported by research based methods and procedures. The objective of the Swedish Institute of Educational Research is ultimately to contribute to children’s and pupils’ development and learning.
What we do
The Swedish Institute for Educational Research produces research summaries and we fund practice-centered school research.
We address teachers as research consumers and research users, as well as research producers.
One of the primary tasks for the Swedish Institute for Educational Research is to collate summaries of research to ensure that professionals have access to a variety of research findings to rely upon.
The Institute, in collaboration with researchers within the field, is currently working on seven systematic reviews:
- ICT education in mathematics
- Classroom dialogue in mathematics education
- Science instruction for second language learners
- Feedback methods to improve student writing
- Explicit instruction of reading comprehension strategies
- Play and learning in early education and care
- Adult education
Our systematic reviews do not provide answers to ’what works’ in teaching, they provide the basis for making informed choices and decisions in regard to teaching activities.
A systematic review is a type of literature review that collects, critically analyses and synthesises research with some of the following characteristics:
- Answers a question rather than maps a field.
- The work is always performed in teams.
- All the steps are documented and follow a protocol.
- The work is systematic and transparent.
- The aim is to find all relevant research, which can answer the research question.
In order to identify the professionals’ needs and to incorporate their opinions, the Institute conducts needs analyses, participates in national and regional conferences, and collaborates with agencies and organisations to learn from their experiences.
The Institute also runs a pilot project where teachers from different schools are implementing the results from our systematic reviews.
Apart from the systematic reviews, the Institute does mapping of existing research that describes what research is available within different fields. These mappings are more schematic and do not involve synthesis or conclusions.
Another type of summaries are quality and relevance testing of international systematic reviews. The studies are reviewed in regard to both academic quality and relevance for Swedish schools.
The Institute’s research profile
Research emanating from the questions and challenges which school professionals encounter on a daily basis, thus research emerging from school activities. Research that presupposes school structures and resources, is grounded in a symmetrical partnership between school professionals and researchers, research that can also initiate the emergence of new research environments.
The results should be intended to have a substantial impact on school practices in the short to medium term (1-5 years).
Scientific quality and professional relevance equally important
The Institute’s directive (2014:1578) details the same requirements for the scientific quality of projects financed by the Institute as for other Swedish research councils.
We also require the same high standards regarding the relevance of research questions for those who work in the preschools and schools where the research takes place.The review process therefore is done in two steps, where the first entails the following three criteria, which must be fulfilled in order to pass on to the second step:
- The research project must be carried out in direct connection to teaching.
- The research questions should be formulated in dialogue with teachers and/or other school professionals.
- A contract between the HEI and the schools that are involved should be in place.
Step 2 takes place in a traditional external review panel.
The Institute sees a need for both what is traditionally described as quantiative and qualitative approaches to research and research methods, and a combination of these approaches and methods. We also encourage the research teams to involve teachers in the projects.