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
Practice-based research on teaching and learning can affect many different areas within the school system, including pre-schools. Research funded by The Swedish Institute for Educational Research must, however, be characterized by the fact that it is based on the needs, challenges and issues that school and pre-school professionals encounter in connection with the teaching. Practice-based research is thus characterized by a knowledge interest that primarily intends to contribute knowledge about how teaching can be developed and improved, in order to promote children’s and students’ development and learning.
Practice-based research on teaching and learning means, in the institute’s opinion, research for and with pre-school teachers, teachers and other professionals in the school system. The institute therefore requires that research be conducted in pre-schools, schools or other activities within the school system, with a clear focus on teaching. We are also positive that preschool teachers, teachers or other professionals in pre-schools or schools are part of the research team.
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 pre-schools 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.