Students as Academic Partners or Co-Researchers: An Action Research Involving Pre-Qualifying Nursing Students


This essay presents a case study outlining how an academic team engaged undergraduate Nursing students as co-researchers in an education research project. The student co-researchers were tasked by the team to lead on the second phase of the research project that looked to capture the learning experience of first-year BSc (Hons) Nursing degree students (= 437) who had recently taken an Objective Structured Clinical Examination as an assessment. This case study primarily focuses on the recruitment process of students as appropriate co-researchers and how these were subsequently “up-skilled” to lead and undertake the second phase of the research. Hence, no emphasis is placed on the methodological detail of the broader research project. A key facet of the research project was to further develop a range of academic and research skills of the student co-researchers. Encouraging the student co-researchers to write a reflective diary allowed them to consider the impact of the experience on their personal and professional development, skills acquisition, and employability. The benefits and drawbacks of involving students as co-researchers will also be discussed, along with implications for future research practice.

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