What is "research"?
Research is the critical study of significant questions, issues, material, peoples and societies, conducted according to consistent and evident principles, based upon thorough knowledge of the appropriate subject areas ("scholarship"), and resulting in the publication of arguments and findings that enhance understanding in the field. These same four criteria - critical, principled, scholarly, public study - inform the entire history of research in these islands and are fundamental to the advancement of knowledge in all disciplines.
Canterbury Christ Church University enthusiastically identifies itself with these criteria for research, committing itself to research and scholarship in a university context in its Strategic Plan:
The advancement of knowledge and professional practice is a defining characteristic of our university. Since this rests heavily on the embedding of a research culture, a priority for this planning period will be to enhance our research activities and to prepare an application for Research Degree Awarding Powers. At the same time we must build our capacity by securing resources from a broader range of funding sources.
Actions in support of this priority:
to ensure that high quality ethical research is integral to the work of each Faculty
to make an appropriate submission to the Research Assessment Exercise 2008
to ensure that our teaching and learning are informed and enriched by research
to assist each member of academic staff to increase their research activity and output
to increase the level of externally funded research and research sponsorship
to build the capacity for research and increase the number of trained researchers
to increase the number of research degree applications from the United Kingdom and overseas
to build upon existing relationships with our partners and establish new partnerships
to apply for Research Degree Awarding Powers
This statement recognises the importance of the historically fundamental idea of British higher education for Canterbury Christ Church: that in the academic world the quality of our teaching, and the quality of the departments and programmes we run, is underpinned by the quality of our research.
Arts and Humanities
The Faculty of Arts and Humanities brings together six of the most significant areas of study in western society: Art; English and Language Studies; History and American Studies; Media; Music; Theology and Religious Studies. Each of these departments is committed to the support and development of research, and each emphasises research's role in leading and informing teaching in all programmes and at all levels. Staff in the Faculty, across each department, are involved in a wide range of personal and group research projects, and students throughout the seven disciplines are constantly engaging with the results of research that is critical, principled, scholarly, and public.
What does this commitment mean in practice? First, it means that all staff are resourced to maintain and enhance their research, not solely in terms of an expectation that they will maintain their reading in an appropriate discipline, but also that they will produce public work that will extend the boundaries of knowledge and enrich teaching capabilities. The Faculty's commitment to resourcing staff is evidenced in the Aims found in its Research Strategy.
It also means that all students will take courses and programmes that are informed by the research activity of their lecturers and tutors. This process will be explicit at BA, MA, and postgraduate research levels, where students will be expected to engage with current thinking in their selected discipline, something that is guaranteed by the University's Learning and Teaching Strategy.
The Faculty affirms a wide range of both academic and practice-based research, recognising both the diversity and the interdisciplinary character of much of the work undertaken in its constituent departments. Research in History or Theology, therefore, is sometimes quite different from research in Music or Media, where practice-based inquiry and performance are often the norm. The Faculty of Arts and Humanities is committed to the broad, even development of all its departments, and all areas of their research.
The Faculty celebrates the wide range of research achievements of both its staff and students, as indicated on this website. The Research Report published by the University provides a comprehensive inventory of published research by all academic staff and demonstrates the range and depth of research expertise across the Faculty. Additionally Faculty conferences, events and seminars, both dedicated to specific subject areas and interdisciplinary, provide opportunities for staff and students to publish their findings in supportive yet critical environments, prior to more formal publication and/or performance. Similarly, the Faculty has a very strong record within the University of resourcing study leaves for academic staff and studentships for postgraduate students.
The Faculty plays a full role in the University's Research Governance. Research governance, particularly but not exclusively where concerned with research involving live human subjects, is crucially important to the institution's reputation, and all research conducted in the Faculty, whether by staff or students, must conform to the standards and criteria stipulated by the Research Governance Committee on behalf of the University.