Knowledge processes in school-university research networks

L.J.F. Cornelissen

    Research output: ThesisPhd Thesis 1 (Research TU/e / Graduation TU/e)

    813 Downloads (Pure)


    The past two decades we have witnessed a growing number of experiments with partnerships in which institutes of Higher Education (HE) focus on supporting and establishing relationships with schools. In these partnerships staff from institutes of HE often support school teachers in developing a research role alongside their teaching roles aiming at a closer integration of research-based knowledge and practice by means of teacher research. The premise in these partnerships is that by supporting teacher research valuable knowledge can be developed, which can be shared and used for the benefit of both schools and universities. Partnership work shows that establishing productive relationships between schools and universities that support these knowledge processes is promising, but complex. This dissertation focused on school-university research networks embedded in master’s programs. Recently, scholars have suggested that postgraduate master’s programs for in-service teachers may be a promising new avenue in developing school-university research networks that link schools and universities and enable development, sharing and use of valuable knowledge of teacher research. Given the recent proliferation of this kind of network, there is a dearth of empirical knowledge about its nature, processes and outcomes. Therefore the main aim of this study was to increase our understanding of the way knowledge based on practice-oriented research by master’s students is developed, shared and used on different levels of school-university research networks and what network aspects influence these knowledge processes. In this study a distinction was made between possible types of school-university research networks based on two dimensions: (1) Proximity: the degree of physical proximity of the university staff towards the school environment of the practitioners with whom they collaborate; (2) Reciprocity: the degree of reciprocity in research relationships between university and school staff. Based on these dimensions, knowledge processes were explored and compared in two school-university research networks. These two networks differed on the dimension of proximity and were similar on the dimension of reciprocity. The first network was characterized on the dimension of proximity as ‘university-centered’. In this type of school-university research network, master’s programs are characterized by the fact that the university offers postgraduate education for in-service teachers primarily within a university setting. As these programs are offered at the university they are considered ‘distant’ from the master’s students’ school settings. The second network was characterized on the dimension of proximity as ‘school-centered’. In this type of school-university research network, master’s programs are characterized by the fact that teacher education institutes that offer the programs are completely embedded in the school setting of their master’s students and, in this sense, are very close in proximity. In this context the university staff is able to offer the master’s program to in-service teachers as well as work collaboratively within the same school environment with their masters’ students. Both networks were characterized on the dimension of reciprocity as ‘reciprocal’. In this type of school-university research network relationships in research are characterized by high levels of mutual engagement between the school and university staff and with many collaborative pportunities to mutually exchange knowledge, experiences and resources.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Eindhoven School of Education
    • Beijaard, Douwe, Promotor
    • Bergen, Theo, Promotor
    • Swet, van, Jacqueline, Copromotor, External person
    Award date29 Nov 2011
    Place of PublicationEindhoven
    Print ISBNs978-90-386-2930-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Bibliographical note



    Dive into the research topics of 'Knowledge processes in school-university research networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this