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Practitioner-Led Research Initiative

Through the ESF 'Skills for Work and Life' funding, NRDC was able to establish a nationally co-ordinated series of small-scale practitioner-led research projects from 2004 until 2006 in three rounds. The aims of the programme were:

  • build research capacity in the field
  • embed the activities of the NRDC in practice
  • undertake important small-scale research projects which contribute to NRDC's overall programmes
  • strengthen research networks linking practitioners, researchers and policy agencies.

The programme was aimed at groups of between 3-6 people who are directly involved in the delivery and development of adult literacy, numeracy and ESOL in any institutional setting anywhere across England . Collaborations between institutions were welcomed, these included links with HE Institutions.

Over the 3 Rounds, 17 small-scale projects were funded , with each receiving up to 10,000 for each 9 month project, with each year will address a different priority topic.

More sources of information about practitioner research

  • ICT report: Mellar, H., Kambouri, M., Sanderson, M., Pavlou, V. (2004). ICT and Adult Literacy, Numeracy and ESOL. NRDC.
  • Brief reports on six research projects that were undertaken by practitioner-researchers as part of the NRDC Adult Learners' Lives project during 2003: Ivanic, R. (2004) (ed) Listening to learners. NRDC
  • Scottish Practitioner Research: MacLachlan, K., Hall, S., Crowther, J and Tett, L. (2006) Practitioner Led Action Research in Adult Literacies Project: New Ways of engaging with New learners: Final Report. Learning Connections, Glasgow.
  • Northern Ireland Practitioner Research: Contact Shelley Tracey at Queen's University, Belfast



  • New ways of engaging new learners: Lessons from round one of the practitioner-led research initiative - This publication, which brings together the final reports of the first round of the practitioner-led research initiative, can be ordered or downloaded here
  • Practitioners leading research - This report, which brings together summaries of the action research projects from the second and third rounds of the PLRI and sets them within the context of the whole initiative, can be ordered or downloaded here. Full reports of the eleven individual projects are also available to download from this page.
  • Maximising the impact of practitioner research: A handbook of practical advice - This booklet, which offers a practical guide to those who plan to initiate and manage practitioner-research programmes, can be downloaded or ordered here
  • The practitioner-led research initiative (PLRI): Impact report - The final report to come out of the initiative, which details the impact of the PLRI on the working lives and organisations of those involved in the initiative in various roles, can be downloaded here

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