Practitioner Research Program

The Practitioner Research Program, led by nationally renowned education researchers, provides the skills to design, enact and disseminate robust research relevant to school practice. The program offers the opportunity to prepare a written article for submission to a relevant journal.


Practitioner research is becoming increasingly acknowledged by education authorities across the world as a highly effective means of strengthening educators’ professional development.

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There is growing interest in the effectiveness of practitioner research for promoting teachers’ professional learning, particularly as systemic requirements for engagement in and with research and making evidence-based decisions gain momentum. Findings from studies demonstrate that teachers who participate in practitioner research exhibit professional growth in terms of research skills and other professional outcomes, such as enhanced classroom or school-wide practice.

In this six-phase, multi-modal program, you will select an area of interest to research. You will be mentored and provided with training in each phase of the research process – from identifying the research question right through to research methods, data collection and analysis, and interpretation of findings. You will be required to conduct parts of the research process in your own time, such as writing short summaries, reading articles and collecting data. Examples of past research projects include influencing parent engagement; the use of explicit feedback to enhance children’s writing; ways to support teachers in the teaching of reading; and the factors influencing the ways in which teachers plan and enact the curriculum.


The Practitioner Research Program will build your research capacity and enable you to:

  • robustly provide evidence for decisions of practice through research
  • develop a set of transferable research skills to continue to answer questions of practice
  • create a high standard dissemination product to allow sharing of research findings.

You can choose to prepare a written article for submission to a relevant journal. Please speak with QELi for further information, as an additional cost will be incurred.


  • Six-phase program, held over the school year
  • Face-to-face workshops
  • Research project, with the opportunity to prepare a written article for submission to a relevant journal
  • Mentoring
  • Ongoing peer networking
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Dr Annette Hilton and Dr Geoff Hilton

The Practitioner Research Program is facilitated by Dr Annette Hilton and Dr Geoff Hilton, who each have over 20 years classroom experience – Annette in secondary schooling and Geoff in primary schooling.

For the past ten years, Annette and Geoff have worked together with a focus on practitioner research and its benefits to educators at all career stages in a range of contexts. They have published widely through journal articles, book chapters, and books and their most recent book, Learning to Research – Researching to Learn: An Educator’s Guide, is due for publication in 2020 by Cambridge University Press. Annette and Geoff have presented at many conferences around the world and have conducted teacher workshops in Australia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. They believe passionately in the potential of practitioner research to promote educators’ professional growth and to impact positively on the schools in which these educators work.

Annette Hilton was a secondary school teacher and head of department for 20 years. She completed a PhD and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Queensland before appointment as an Associate Professor of Science Education at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Copenhagen and Associate Professor of Research Leadership at the University of Technology Sydney.

Geoff Hilton was a primary school teacher for many years before completing his PhD and moving to university lecturing and researching. He completed postdoctoral research at the University of Queensland, where he currently teaches in the undergraduate and masters programs for initial teacher education

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