Integrating research into teaching: Needs assessment for staff development
Background. The scholarship of teaching involves the integration of research into teaching activities, critical reflection of practice, and communication, and dissemination of the practice of one’s subject. However, it is not clear what the needs of academics in the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences at the University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa, are with regard to integrating research into their teaching practices.
Objective. To present the findings of the views, perceptions and experiences of academics in the abovementioned faculty regarding their understanding and integration of research into their teaching activities.
Methods. The study followed a cross-sectional research design. Data were collected by means of an electronic questionnaire to explore the academics’ views and perceptions with regard to the integration of research into their teaching and related experiences. Data were analysed using the first two phases of the Appreciative Inquiry process as a guideline.
Results. It was evident that participants had a clear understanding of research. The majority understood that the scholarship of teaching involved both the lecturer and the learner and, most importantly, the conducting of research to share it with others.
Conclusion. Findings from the needs assessment can be used as a guideline to assist in strategies for staff development. Academics need to give equal attention to both teaching and research. The scholarship of teaching facilitates this through the integration of research into teaching.