Higher Education

, Volume 68, Issue 2, pp 167–183 | Cite as

The research-teaching nexus in nurse and teacher education: contributions of an ecological approach to academic identities in professional fields

  • Amélia Lopes
  • Pete Boyd
  • Nicola Andrew
  • Fátima Pereira
Article

Abstract

In developing graduates for the knowledge society lecturers in higher education may seek to strengthen links between research and teaching. Much of the previous work on the research-teaching nexus is within traditional universities and subject disciplines. In aiming to deepen understanding of the research and teaching nexus this paper focuses on the academic identities of higher education lecturers working in newer higher education institutions and in the professional fields of nursing and of teacher education. A qualitative study, informed by professional identity construction as an ecological concept, was conducted. The findings align with previous studies concerning similarities between lecturers in nurse and teacher education, but they contrast with previous studies concerning differences between these two groups of lecturers. Similarities include the priority given by professional educators to their responsibility for preparing new clinical practitioners; the research-led model as the lecturers’ main approach to the research-teaching nexus; and their difficulties in coping with current demands in academic work. Differences between the two groups of lecturers include the way that ‘practitioner identity’ is positioned within their current academic identities and the way that they position initial education within the wider professional field. These differences indicate different kinds of connections between teaching and research. The paper proposes an ecological approach to understanding the research-teaching nexus.

Keywords

Research-teaching nexus Professional fields Nurse education Teacher education Academic identity Ecological approach 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amélia Lopes
    • 1
  • Pete Boyd
    • 2
  • Nicola Andrew
    • 3
  • Fátima Pereira
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação, Centro de Investigação e Intervenção EducativasUniversidade do PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.University of CumbriaCarlisleUK
  3. 3.Caledonian University of GlasgowGlasgowScotland, UK

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