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Case writing for collaborative practice in education studies

Amanda Carr (College of Arts, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Gwen Gilmore (College of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Marcelle Cacciattolo (College of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 5 May 2015




The purpose of this paper is to discuss that in 2012, a small group of teaching staff in a new diploma of Education Studies program came together to critically reflect on teaching approaches that either hindered or encouraged learners to thrive in the transition environment in higher education (HE).


This paper reports on the use of case writing as a methodological tool for engaging in reflexive inquiry in a HE cross-faculty setting; it also adds a further dimension to the work of (Burridge et al., 2010). The team used a systematic coding activity, known as “threading,” to unpack over-arching themes that were embedded in each other’s narratives.


Throughout the two years of the project, 12 cases were presented on key critical teaching moments that the researchers had experienced. The themes varied and included topics like student reflections on why they found learning challenging, teachers’ mixed emotions about failing students, difficulties for teachers in having to persuade students to read academic texts, teacher/student confrontations and student resilience amidst challenges linked to their personal and student lives.

Social implications

A central theme to emerge from the research was that complexities arise for teachers when they are faced with learners who are apparently not suited to the career pathway they have signed up for.


Through using a collaborative practitioner research framework, enunciating concerns were raised and different interpretations of the same incident were shared. The paper concludes that case writing can assist academics to be more informed of teaching approaches that lead to successful learning outcomes.



This work is the result of a research project that involved teaching staff for the College of Education and the College of Arts and the Student Learning Unit at Victoria University. The authors gratefully acknowledge the input into this project by Michael Hallpike, Jeanette Fielding, Amanda Muscat and Syed Javed.


Carr, A., Gilmore, G. and Cacciattolo, M. (2015), "Case writing for collaborative practice in education studies", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 121-134.



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