Annual conference 2022, Scottish Research Association

University of West of Scotland, Ayr Campus, 23rd to 25th November 2022

Call for submissions

Reconnecting educational research, policy, and practice

The SERA Annual conference is an important event for the educational research community in Scotland. The three-day conference, to be held at the Ayr campus of the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) invites researchers and practitioners working in Scottish and international research contexts to share their insights under the theme of Reconnecting educational research, policy, and practice. Contributions discussing new research possibilities, new forms of contexts for learning, and new types of collaboration among academics and practitioners are welcomed.

Pasi Sahlberg (2012) discusses, through his ideas of the Global Reform Movement (GERM), that across the globe many countries attempt to improve educational outcomes by attempts to identify ‘what works’ through research, which in turn, gives rise to simplistic policies that, in turn direct practice. There are instances where such simplicity is challenged, however: for example, pedagogy/ies that originate from marginalised, indigenous, or radical perspectives provide opportunities for the (re)alignment of educational aims, intents, and outcomes towards approaches that seek to develop the ‘whole person’, ‘the community’, or ‘new directions for the country’. Often challenges stem from research that rejects approaches such as randomised controlled trials instead promoting alternative methodologies including community activism, participant voice, action research, etc. These approaches eschew simple interpretations of research, its links with policy and practice and offer alternative visions for research/policy/practice matters.

The 2022 SERA Conference offers educationalists an opportunity to contribute to ongoing discussions about how research, policy, and practice might now be out-of-kilter since the events of 2020/2021 and how the education community might reassert its place in the research/policy/practice relationship. This Conference is particularly relevant in that education systems have needed to be adaptable and creative in their responses to the increasingly dynamic, complex, and fluctuating nature of society and the world.

The conference theme welcomes original and critical contributions from scholars and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines and educational settings that explore a rich and diverse view of education and learning as a means for supporting a multiplicity of life-projects, engaging knowledge, relationships, and the imagination.

Details about the 2022 SERA Conference submission and registrations protocols are

provided below. This marks a return to a face-to-face offering for the Scottish Educational Research Association following the events of 2020/2021 (and onwards). A cordial invitation is sent to all who wish to join us in Ayr to discuss questions such as:

  • What types/forms/functions of research would best serve education going forward from 2022?
  • What might policy offer to the educational community, broadly conceived, to enable the latter to grow and flourish?
  • How does policy relate to research and how might research be better aligned with the needs of all?
  • What practice/s are needed to make the most of the research/policy nexus so that educational outcomes might better engender success for all?
  • Is the educational mission of equality still realisable and if so, what is needed from educational systems across the world?
  • If education is to be sustainable, how should research/policy/practice intertwine?


Key organizing strands for this year’s SERA conference will include:

  • Social Justice and Inclusion: How might education reach out to all? How might education respond to the challenge of competition, distribution, and access to educational services supporting our communities? Is the gender divide in education increasing? How might education foster awareness that our lives depend on the natural environments and that ecology can only be achieved through equity? How might we learn to live peacefully with one another within the limits of the Earth supporting us?
  • Professional and Vocational Learning (including teacher education and higher education): What new challenges in workspaces and practices are impacting on professional and vocational learning? How is knowledge generated and shared in occupational and professional contexts and across professional boundaries? How might professional education and development be reconceptualised? How are inter-professional work practices shaping new demands for pedagogical response? What new possibilities could be explored around leadership “education”?
  • Policy and Education: How might policy at global, national, and local levels shape education and lifelong learning? How might educational actors (regardless of sector) respond to, and inform policy directions? How might new partnerships enhance or inhibit educational initiatives and the mobilization of research?
  • Curriculum: How might curriculum engage with a constantly changing and evolving world? To what extent might the curriculum support interdisciplinary learning and reflection on key themes of human development? What insights might be gleaned from different theoretical perspective on curriculum? How might educational practitioners engage with the process of curriculum reform?
  • Assessment and Evaluation: In what ways might national testing/assessment evidence be used to improve educational attainment in the short term? What issues might arise from national and international testing/assessment regimes?
  • Digital Learning: How might the infusion of new technologies impact learning experiences in/out of formal educational settings? What new spaces are emerging to enable more sustainable forms of pedagogy and learning? How might the open education movement support or inhibit inclusion/exclusion locally and globally?
  • Innovative Research Methods: What challenges face educational researchers and how might new research methods innovate in response? What new questions need to be asked and examined? How might different theoretical perspectives and paradigms create openings for new questions, new forms of research, and offer critical insights? How might more innovative research methods contribute to supporting learning and change in challenging times and spaces?

The conference will accept individual papers, short presentations, symposia, poster presentations, as well as suggestions for roundtable discussions and workshops.

Individual papers and posters presentations

Individual papers and poster proposals require a 250-word abstract. Please note that authors must identify the theme (above) that their abstract addresses. Abstracts should include:

  • theme (best fit from the list above);
  • title of paper;
  • author name(s), affiliation(s), contact email address;
  • 4 keywords.

The abstract should be structured to cover:

  • aims;
  • methods;
  • main findings;
  • conclusions.

Each paper will be allocated a 20-minute slot (Fifteen minutes to present with five

minutes for questions). Please note: You are allowed to submit as many abstracts as practical but normally each person is limited to two presentations within the conference.

Short presentations

A short presentation is an engaging and highly visual presentation of 15 slides for a maximum of 20 seconds each (300 seconds or five minutes in total). The format keeps presentations concise and fast-paced and is useful when wanting to highlight key points, pose questions, present evocative insights, and/or share research in-progress efficiently.

Short proposals require a 250-word abstract. Please note that authors must identify the theme (above) that their abstract addresses. Abstracts should include:

  • theme (best fit from the list above);
  • title of paper;
  • name(s), affiliation(s), contact
  • email address;
  • 4 keywords.

The abstract should be structured to cover

  • aims;
  • methods;
  • main findings;
  • conclusions.


Proposals for self-organised symposium are welcome. A symposium is a planned event lasting 60 minutes with between two and four individual contributions on a theme. Symposia organisers are free to decide on how their symposium is run. They should provide a chairperson who will introduce the session and highlight relationships amongst the contributions. Symposia organizers should also provide a discussant to offer a critique of the whole symposium. The contact person identified on the proposal must act as a link between the conference organizers and other contributors. Proposals should include:

  • title of symposium;
  • name(s), affiliation(s), contact email address of the symposium organiser;
  • name of chairperson/discussant;
  • an outline of 200 words describing the purpose of symposium and relationship between papers.
  • symposium presenters;
  • 250-word abstracts for each paper in the symposium, including: title of paper, name(s), affiliation(s), contact email address, 4 keywords.

Each abstract should be structured to cover

  • aims;
  • methods;
  • main findings;
  • conclusions.

Workshops and Round tables

Workshops and round tables will be scheduled as 60-minute events. Proposals for workshops should include the design and delivery of a learning activity that engages participants directly both in experience and subsequent reflection. Workshop proposals can centre on the analysis of a research methodology/approach or a teaching and learning method. A descriptor of 250 words should include:

  • theme (best fit from the list above);
  • title,
  • name(s), affiliation(s), contact email address for the organiser
  • 4 keywords;
  • rationale and/or theoretical background;
  • aims and methods of the proposed activity.

Proposals for round tables will indicate the theme to be discussed by a range of stakeholders sharing a range of views and experiences. Cross-cutting themes that

are of interest to a range of educational stakeholders.

Performance/Arts-based Sessions

A performance-based or arts-based session aims to involve participants to work

experientially to explore and to reflect on a particular theme. All forms of performance-based activities (i.e. spoken word poetry or narratives, oral storytelling, art forms (including paintings, drawings, sculpture, etc.), drama, dance, walking, digital multimedia presentations, etc.) are welcome. A descriptor of 250 words should include:

  • theme (best fit from the list above);
  • title, name(s); affiliation(s), contact email address;
  • indication about spaces, any special equipment that might be required and maximum number of participants.

Prizes and awards

Rapid-thesis competition

This year, SERA will hold a Rapid thesis competition. SERA welcome applications from masters and doctoral students, at any stage of study. Participants will be asked to present their dissertation or thesis verbally in three minutes to an audience with the help of one static PowerPoint slide. Presentations will be judged on comprehension, engagement, and communication style. First prize will be awarded to the most effective presentation.

There are many benefits to squeezing your thesis into a rapid-thesis 3-minute presentation. It challenges students to consolidate and communicate complex ideas in a creative succinct manner, which requires in-depth knowledge of the research and its relevance to education. It is also lot of fun, and great preparation for what is the most commonly asked first viva question!

To apply, please send your name, email address, area of research, course, university and title of your presentation to Please include “rapid-thesis competition” in the subject line and clearly indicate in your email that you intend to participate in the ‘rapid thesis competition’.

SERA Submission Dates

  • Call for proposals opens Tuesday 15th March 2022.
  • All proposals to be sent to by Friday 6th May 2022.
  • Peer review of abstracts will be completed by the end of June 2022.
  • Notification of acceptance will be given on or before week beginning 11th July 2022.

SERA CONFERENCE REGISTRATION ARRANGEMENTS SERA Conference registration will open at the beginning of May and will be available at

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