The Higher Education Academy, History, Classics and Archaeology

Subject Centre for History,
Classics and Archaeology

Research/Teaching Nexus

The phrase ‘Research/Teaching Nexus' is used to refer to the relationships between research and teaching, most particularly the role of research and research skills in relation to student experience in HE.


The different perspectives on the relationship between research and teaching depend upon whose research is in question, and the degree to which students are engaged as participants in the research process. While a ‘standard typology' is in use, its terms are open to interpretation, so the definitions below are a ‘rule of thumb' based on Griffiths (2004) and Healey and Jenkins (2005).


Research-informed teaching is defined by Griffiths as teaching informed by pedagogic research, that is, by inquiry and reflection on student learning: when a teacher has undertaken research into both learning and teaching with a view to delivering a topic in the a way best adapted to ‘enhancing the student learning experience'. This is now the technical sense of the term ‘research-informed teaching', and should not be confused with the common, non-technical usage in which it refers simply to the teaching of a topic that the teacher has researched or is researching.


Research-led teaching is "learning about others' research": a member of staff teaches his or her current research topic and students merely learn a set of research findings (i.e. the main teaching mode is information transmission).


Research-oriented teaching is "learning to do research"/ "learning research methods" and occurs when the curriculum emphasises the processes by which knowledge is produced as well as the knowledge that has been acquired. This kind of teaching is exemplified by modules which explicitly embed research skills and methodologies within the curriculum.


Research-based (or inquiry-based) teaching is when students learn the course content as researchers (ideally by the minimisation of role division between teacher and student, e.g. when specialist modules are taught exclusively through seminars and these are student-led). This mode is referred to as "Enquiry-Based Learning" if student research takes place in groups. For work on these kinds of teaching/learning in our disciplines see , particularly CILASS (Centre for Inquiry-Based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences) and CEEBL (Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning), HCA's list of discipline related CETLs and the resources resulting from the HCA CETL Gateway project.

Useful bibliography

M. Healey's select, annotated, bibliography of publications and useful websites, Linking Research and Teaching: a selected bibliography is available here as a pdf (September 2008) and an updated version is always available as a resource from CeAL (the Centre for Active Learning) CETL at the University of Glouscestershire.


M. Healey and A. Jenkins, 2005, Institutional strategies to link teaching and research (Higher Education Academy), considers necessary support strategies at pp.23-49


R. Griffiths, 2004, ‘Knowledge production and the research-teaching nexus: the case of the built environment disciplines', Studies in Higher Education 29 (6): 709-26


M. Healey and A. Jenkins, 2006, ‘Strengthening the teaching-research linkage in undergraduate courses and programmes' in C. Kreber (ed.), Exploring research-based teaching, San Francisco: 45-55


The Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology, School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, Hartley Building, Brownlow Street, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 3GS, telephone +44 (0) 151 795 0343, Email: