The Topic

Choosing a Topic

Your first task is to choose a topic which you want to research in depth. You will need to choose either a classroom or a school-wide issue.

You could research any ideas or questions raised in the PGCE(I) so far in relation to your own classroom. On the other hand, you might prefer to investigate some whole-school issue such as an aspect of your school's pastoral system, the role of the form tutor, anti-bullying initiatives or some aspect of health education. It may be that there is a particularly distinctive feature of your own school which would be an ideal topic.

Having decided upon a focus, your next priority will be to work out a research question or questions. Perhaps you could start by writing a paragraph about your chosen field of inquiry and why you think it is worthy of investigation. The main research questions could well then emerge out of this paragraph.

Reading Around the Topic

If appropriate, you will next need to read any school or departmental policy documentation related to your chosen area. You might also need to cast your investigations more widely and set the school policy in the context of national and/or government strategy reports. You may want to compare approaches between your school or department and those of other schools or agencies.

You will also need to read widely using library and internet resources. Use the University of Nottingham's e-library gateway as a source of electronic resources. You can learn how to do this in the library modules on the opening pages of WebCT. This will ensure that you underpin your school-based research with sound theory which is based on current and relevant information.