Assessing Sources

You are advised to check the reliability of any advice – on the web or in print. For teaching to be an evidence-informed profession, teachers need to know the strength of evidence for any pedagogical intervention. By strength of evidence we mean:

  • Methods and ethics: has the advice been gathered by ethical (see the BERA ethical code www.bera.ac.uk) and reliable research methods (See Unit 5.4 and Patterson’s MESHGuides). Usual research instruments are interviews, questionnaires, documentary analysis and observation but there is huge variation of options within each instrument.
  • Independence: were the researchers independent? Who funded the research? Were researchers free to publish adverse findings?
  • Quality assurance: has the advice been independently peer-reviewed? Peer review, by an independent panel of educators, is the normal form of quality assurance used for professional association and professional journal sites. Materials from other sites may or may not be peer reviewed.
  • Sample: what is the size and type of the sample used to provide the evidence? What confidence does this give you in the results?
  • Transferability: how transferable is the advice likely to be? How similar is the research context to your context? This is not at all to say you reject research and evidence from contexts different to your own, but just that you need to bring your professional judgement to bear in applying the findings. Teachers in many countries face similar challenges in maximising the learning of young people and there is a lot to learn from solutions elsewhere.

Directory of further support

This directory contains an approved and curated list of the most valuable and up-to-date websites offering support for the educational community.

The list below includes websites from:

  • Professional Associations, Teaching Councils and Unions (see also Appendix 2);
  • Charities and University Research Centres and social enterprises;
  • Government funded organisations, and;
  • Private companies.

For the most part, we have excluded websites apparently linked with just one individual. Exceptions are where the individuals have clearly researched and published widely in the area.

All websites listed here were checked in August 2022.

The list starts with generic websites followed by a list of sites grouped alphabetically by theme, e.g. Behaviour, Neuroscience, Subject Associations, Unions.

Generic websites (covering a wide range of areas):

UK Government:

Additional websites by theme:

see specialist MESHGuides www.meshguides.org and for example, Wiliam, D.: https://www.dylanwiliam.org/

National Autistic Society: https://www.autism.org.uk/

– See Teaching Councils

  • Professional – See Teaching Councils
  • Research – See BERA

See the specialist sites in this list:

www.meshguides.org: research summaries to support evidence-informed teaching.

are represented by the Council for Subject Associations www.subjectassociations.org.uk

– See also Dialogic teaching:

  • Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, Northern Ireland: into.ie/NI/
  • National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: NASUWT nasuwt.org.uk/
  • National Education Union https://neu.org.uk/
  • Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, Scotland: ssta.org.uk
  • The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), Scotland: eis.org.uk/
  • Ulster Teachers Union, Northern Ireland: utu.edu/
  • Voice, previously the Professional Association of Teachers, England, Wales and Northern Ireland: www.voicetheunion.org.uk/
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