Research Leads

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A ‘Research Lead’ is a role dedicated to coordinating a school’s internal and external research and evaluation activities.

Engaging in research projects, and using high-quality research to inform planning and practice, helps schools improve. One method of supporting a school’s engagement with research is to have a designated ‘Research Lead’: someone who prioritises the use of research in planning, decision-making, professional learning, and teaching and learning. The Research Lead can also coordinate the school’s internal and external research and evaluation activities.

The term ‘Research Lead’ was coined by researchED, a grass-roots teacher-led organisation in the UK aimed at improving research literacy in education communities. While not as widespread in Australia, there are still schools who have a dedicated research-coordination role, albeit with different titles.

The resources below have been created to help schools develop a new Research Lead role, or strengthen an existing role that is focused on research engagement and coordination.

Having a dedicated ‘Research Lead’ in schools

The Having a dedicated ‘Research Lead’ in schools document includes:

  • key responsibilities and activities of a Research Lead
  • factors needed for a Research Lead to be successful
  • links to further reading and information
  • questions school leaders should consider in order to develop or strengthen the role of a Research Lead.
Research Leads in Melbourne Catholic schools

Some Catholic schools in Melbourne have a dedicated person to coordinate their school’s participation in research projects and engagement with research evidence. Two of these staff members generously agreed to be interviewed and filmed to share their experiences with other schools. Listen to Laurina van der El from St Michael’s School, Ashburton, and Dr Susan Long from Avila College, Mount Waverley, in the videos below.

What led to a research role being established in your school?


How do you, as a Research Lead, support teachers to use research?


How does using research help your school with decision-making?


How does using research help your school with professional learning?


How does using research help your school with choosing the ‘right’ initiatives?


How does using research help your school with continuous improvement?


How has engaging with research changed the way teachers see themselves?