Mark Rickinson

Associate Professor, Monash University Faculty of Education
Speaking at


Senior Research Analyst, Catholic Education Melbourne



Efforts to create new evidence and find out ‘what works’, mean schools are regularly approached by researchers and jurisdictions to participate in research projects. But how much do we know about how and why Australian schools engage in and with research?

This session will share the findings of a recent study that sought to explore this question. Initiated by Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM), the ‘Understanding School Engagement in Research (USER)’ project involved consulting 73 schools about:
• their responses to requests to participate in research projects (e.g. how many requests they receive, how many they say Yes to, why they say Yes or No, research topics they are more/less interested in); and
• their views and practices around using research evidence (e.g. whether/how much they value and use research and evidence, how they access research and evidence, what helps/hinders).

As schools are critical stakeholders in educational research, this session will stimulate discussion about the findings of the study, how those might compare or contrast to the experiences of your school and what they might mean for how to engage schools more meaningfully in and with research.


Mark Rickinson is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Engagement) in the Faculty of Education at Monash University in Melbourne. Mark’s work is focused on improving the use and usefulness of educational research in policy and practice. In Australia and before that in the UK, he has undertaken research, evaluation and consultancy projects relating to the use of evidence in educational policy and practice, and the role of learning in environmental and sustainability education.

Shani Prendergast is the Senior Research Analyst at Catholic Education Melbourne, responsible for developing and implementing the jurisdiction’s research strategy. Shani has worked in education (the schooling sector) for 17 years across a variety of function areas – teaching, professional learning, project management, policy, research and evaluation. Having worked on a number of educational research projects over the past 7 years, Shani is particularly interested in how schools engage in, and with research.