Under-tapped potential: practitioner research as a vehicle for widening participation

Louise Gazeley, Fay Lofty, Penny Longman, Ruth Squire

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Practitioners working to widen participation to universities in England are an increasingly important and professionally diverse group but surprisingly absent from the academic literature and lacking in access to bespoke professional development pathways in HE. In England current approaches within policy and research also tend to position them as gatherers of evidence with a mission to inform change rather than developing their capacity to be(come) agents of change in their own right. Drawing on the perspectives of three widening participation practitioners who had recently completed a research-based MA, this paper explores the opportunity that this provided to illuminate the complexities encountered in routine practice, contributing to positive change. Rather than being methodologically inferior, practitioner research emerged as highly complementary and in the case of WP its transformative potential is currently hugely under-tapped.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1008-1020
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2019


    • higher education
    • practitioner research
    • Widening participation


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