Foreword by Prof. Katherine Wimpenny

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


    I have had the pleasure to collaborate with Professor Saida Affouneh and respected faculty colleagues at An-Najah National University (West Bank) on the design and delivery of a joint teacher-researcher development programme, highlighting the uses of qualitative research approaches, and the process and requirements of scholarly publication in leading international journals.

    It is evident that conducting qualitative research in the Arab world is a new and emerging trend which is required not least to question the legitimacy and utility of the inherited system of higher education prevalent in Palestine (Abu Lughod, 2000). It is clear ANNU is working hard to strengthen its research reputation and serve as an education leader not only locally to meet community needs in sustainable economic, technical, and human development, but also globally.

    My collaboration with Saida at ANNU was initiated through our rich partnership work on OpenMed an Erasmus+ project (2015-2018) with a Consortium of 13 partners across Europe and the South-Mediterranean (S-M). OpenMed focused on the adoption and piloting of open educational practices and open educational resources in S-M countries as a bottom-up approach to support the modernisation, accessibility, and internationalization of HEIs. Additionally, along with Professor Daniel Burgos, from the Universidad Internacional de La Rioja, also a partner in OpenMed, we have been Visiting Professors at ANNU, engaging in the doctorate study summer schools, as well as being facilitators on the PhD programme in Education.

    Building on OpenMed’s cooperative agreements between partner universities in sharing practices and resources, a recent focus Saida initiated with myself and colleagues at Coventry has been on raising the awareness of and confidence in qualitative research practices (especially master’s and doctoral students’ as the next generation of academics and researchers). Importantly, in understanding more personalised perspectives from students and faculty about ANNU teaching and learning practices, together we have sought to understand each-other’s contexts, current priorities, and future goals, and adapted our project work accordingly.

    We adopted an Action Research methodology for our South-North qualitative teacher-researcher development as a social practice and used cycles of interpretation and negotiation (rather than a focus on top-down research quality enhancement). As Action Research involves deconstructing, interrogation, and de-centring through cycles of planning, acting, observing, and reflecting (Carr & Kemmis, 1986), during our workshops opportunities, and online meetings, we have questioned and re-examined western researcher-development practices between our two institutions to establish a process of joint, intercultural meaning-making and knowledge production.

    Alongside the values as participants of holding ourselves accountable, our Action Research process also sought to develop ourselves as South-North teacher-researcher-participants, not only as active practitioners in the field but also reflective professionals (see Kember et al., 2019). The outcome being that as South-North teacher-researcher-participants we would ‘own’ a clearer rationale for our practices, based upon our own professional observations, deliberations, and experiences, as an embedded process. Time was also devoted in the workshops to writing for publication, with my colleague in GLEA, Dr Dimitar Angelov, joining as a UK Academic Writing Expert, also committed to Action Research as a Global South-North learning partnership.

    The desire to learn together and improve stimulated both facilitators and participants to go beyond their pre-conceived, and often culturally determined ideas about research and academic staff development practices. Whilst we navigated challenges in language and translation of concepts at times, the cross-pollination of perspectives and experiences was very powerful, and the success of the programme was undoubtedly due to the unflagging motivation of everybody involved. A research paper (Affouneh et al., 2021), detailing our Global South-North learning partnership is in preparation, and we look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts especially with regards to working with colleagues in the Research and Writing Support Unit at ANNU, that has come together as a result of our programme.


    Abu-Lughod, I. A. (2000). Palestinian higher education: National identity, liberation, and globalization. boundary 2, 27(1), 75-95.

    Affouneh, S., Wimpenny, K., Angelov, D., Salhah, S., et al., (2021). Fostering a Culture of Qualitative Research and Scholarly Publication in a Leading University in the West Bank: A Palestinian-UK Capacity-Building Collaboration, Journal of Higher Education Research & Development (In preparation)

    Carr, W., & Kemmis, S. (1986). Becoming critical: Education, knowledge and action research. Brighton, Sussex: Falmer Press.

    Kember, D., Douglas, T., Muir, T. & Salter, S. (2019). Umbrella action research projects as a mechanism for learning and teaching quality enhancement, Higher Education Research & Development, 38:6, 1285-1298, DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2019.1638350
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)vii-ix
    Number of pages3
    JournalLecture Notes in Educational Technology
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Computer Science Applications
    • Computer Networks and Communications


    Dive into the research topics of 'Foreword by Prof. Katherine Wimpenny'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this