Who we are

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, on the basis of research-based methods and procedures. The objective of the Swedish Institute for Educational Research is ultimately to contribute to children’s and pupils’ development and learning.

What we do

At the Institute, we produce research summaries and fund practice-based school research.

We address teachers as research consumers and research users, as well as research producers.

Research summaries

One of the Institute’s primary tasks is to collate and synthesise research findings to ensure that professionals have access to a variety of research findings to rely upon.

The Swedish Institute of Educational Research has, so far, published two systematic reviews:

  • Digital learning resources in mathematics education
  • Classroom dialogue in mathematics education

 

We are currently, in collaboration with researchers within the field, working on five systematic reviews:

  • Language and literacy in science education for second language learners
  • Feedback techniques that improve student writing
  • Reading comprehension and reading strategies
  • Play in pre-school
  • Adult education

 

Our systematic reviews do not provide answers to ’what works’ in teaching, they provide the basis for making informed choices and decisions regarding teaching activities.

A systematic review is a type of literature review that collects, critically analyses and synthesises research. The process is characterised by systematics and transparency. The key features of the process are:

  • A clearly stated review question with pre-defined eligibility criteria is stated.
  • Explicit and transparent methods are used.
  • The work is accountable, replicable and updateable.
  • A systematic search that attempts to identify all studies that meet the eligibility criteria.

 

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.

Research funding

The Swedish Institute for Educational Research finances practice-based research on teaching and learning in preschools and schools. Projects funded by the institute should primarily focus on ways of developing and improving planning, performing and/or evaluation of teaching to promote children’s and student’s learning and development. In other words, relevance to teacher’s, school head’s and other school staff’s everyday challenges is highly important and will be weighted equally with the scientific quality of the projects.

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.

Applications are reviewed in two steps. The first step is performed at the institute and exclusively concerns formal requirements. The second step is a regular peer review process by a group of external researchers. The review in this step concerns both relevance and scientific rigor.

The Institute sees a need for both what is traditionally described as quantitative 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.

 

You can find more information about funding and the review process here.