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Why university? Resources for pupils

Why university? Resources for pupils

Why university? Resources for pupils


This guide provides a basic introduction to what research is. The videos and information here are intended for use by teachers within the classroom to help students understand better what a University does and why they might like to go onto study at a University.

Why university? Resources for pupils.

Research is about the creation of new knowledge. It is a process of enquiry which seeks to investigate and test hypothesis, suggest new interpretations, test the validity and reliability of emerging findings and posing new questions for the future.

Research consists of:

  • Asking a question that nobody has asked before
  • Doing the necessary work to find the answer
  • Communicating the knowledge, you have acquired to a larger audience.

One of the key academic skills for making new knowledge is to ensure that the work that you are doing has rigour and can be trusted. Another is that you can work in partnership with others in generating that knowledge and ensuring it has impact.

Research findings are most frequently published and accessed through specialist journals. However, researchers are increasingly finding new ways and formats for publishing and sharing their work. This includes for example social media and web platforms such as The Conversation, right through to partnerships with media organisations including local radio through to the BBC.
A significant proportion of research is co-created, that is researchers work with other professions, or groups (including businesses, schools, policy makers etc.), to generate the knowledge collaboratively.

Case Study 

In this video resource Senior Lecturer Nick Givens from the Graduate School of Education talks about the role of research in society and what students might learn about research if they attend university.

How becoming a researcher could help you and your career?

The skills required to be an effective researcher are also those that are highly valued by potential employers. These include for example:

  • Specialist subject knowledge
  • The ability to analyse, synthesise and evaluate information
  • Innovative and critical thinking
  • Enthusiasm and perseverance
  • Project planning and management, time management
  • Integrity, influence and leadership
  • Collaboration and team work skills
  • Understanding partners and key communication skills

Case Study 

In this video resource Curriculum Manager David Brown from the Modern History talks about the hidden value of research and how it can develop key transferable skills.

How University can open up doors?

Universities can help transform people’s lives. The evidence suggests that going to university can help improve people’s life chances providing access to networks, people and ideas that would not have otherwise been available. On average graduates can expect to earn more, have improved access to professional roles, enjoy better health and well-being and play a more active role in civil society.

Case Study 

In this video resource Lecturer in Bioscience Sarah Hodge from the University of Exeter talks about her journey to becoming a scientist and all the doors that it has opened up for her.

Example projects

We have brought together some short case studies of activities that took place within the EPEE project to help show the types of projects that are possible. See our case studies section for more information.