Research-Led Teaching: A Pre-Requisite for Developing Higher Education Curriculum in the Humanities

  • Isaac Atta Kwenin
  • Gabriel Kwasi Aboagye
Keywords: research-led teaching, curriculum development, research-teaching nexus, higher education, research-based teaching, research-tutored


University research is widely thought to improve university teaching through augmenting the curriculum development process. This seems to be a view widely held by many faculty members and students. This has not always been the case. That notwithstanding, research has more recently been thought to be important to university teaching and that teaching is also beneficial to research. What is not clear is how important these benefits are, especially in curriculum development within the context of the humanities. Distinguished academics have taken more than a passing interest in these matters, hence, the basis for this investigation. Using the sequential explanatory mixed methods research design, this paper sought to espouse the impact of the research-teaching nexus on curriculum development in higher education. A sample of 364 students and 102 lecturers from the Humanities were selected using the stratified proportionate technique to select the respondents for the study. A self-developed questionnaire and a semi-structured interview were used to solicit data from the students and lecturers. In order to ensure the construct validity of the self-developed questionnaire, a principal component analysis (PCA) was conducted. Means and standards deviation were used to analyse the quantitative data while, the reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data. It emanated from the study that research-led teaching promotes intellectual development, heightens research skills and improves university image. It also promotes relevant and functional curriculum, ensures a highly differentiated university, and finally stimulates students’ interest and knowledge development. It can therefore be concluded that research-led teaching has a significant impact on curriculum development and implementation at all levels of education, especially, within the humanities. It is, therefore, recommended that all stakeholders in higher education should ensure a stronger bond between research and teaching as part of encouraging and preparing both faculty members and students to embrace the smooth implementation of the nexus in order to enhance the curriculum. Also, faculty members should embrace student-centred pedagogies including research-led, research-based and research-tutored teaching, as well as, problem-based teaching and learning approaches.