Exploring Scholarship and Scholarly Activity in College-based Higher Education


  • Madeleine King Mixed Economy Group of Colleges
  • John Widdowson Mixed Economy Group of Colleges
  • Jane Davis Mixed Economy Group of Colleges
  • Carl Flint Mixed Economy Group of Colleges




Scholarly activity, College-based Higher Education


During 2009, the Mixed Economy Group, commissioned by the Higher Education Academy, undertook research to investigate the nature and extent of scholarly activity in those further education colleges (FECs) which also offer higher education (HE). The study considered the way in which scholarly activity was defined within colleges, the suitability of definitions as adopted within the context and the measurement of impact on the student experience. Published findings of this early research included the need for more widespread political recognition of the value of vocational scholarly activity, the need for colleges to develop and evidence strategic engagement with wider definitions of scholarly activity and the need for wider sectoral support for communities of scholarly and vocational practice. This paper presents the findings of subsequent research undertaken on behalf of the Mixed Economy Group and commissioned by LSIS in 2013. The study sought to re-examine and extend the concepts highlighted in the earlier publication, establishing as its focus the role of research, scholarship, scholarly activity and CPD in supporting the delivery of College-based Higher Education (CBHE). The research activity comprised an initial literature review to bring forward areas for investigation and situate the empirical research within the more recent post-Browne evolution of CBHE. A questionnaire was circulated widely through the auspices of a range of sectoral organisations, resulting in 135 responses, of which 60 were valid and complete. Analysis of both survey data and that obtained through the coding of a set of twenty interviews has provided preliminary findings that suggest an association between size of provider, the degree of strategic emphasis on scholarly activity and an understanding of scholarly activity that is much closer to that of Boyer (1990) than was indicated in the previous research.


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Original Research