R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências e Politicas da Educação

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Investigação em Educação [EDU-Norte-Braga-1661] visitada em 10/01/2008

Classificação: Good


Na sequência da publicação em Dezembro de 2008 da classificação que lhe foi atribuída pela FCT sob recomendação do painel de avaliação, esta unidade apresentou reclamação e solicitou à FCT uma nova avaliação. Embora não estivessem reunidas as condições necessárias, expressas no ponto 4 do art. 9º do Regulamento do Financiamento Plurianual, a FCT decidiu promover nova avaliação por um painel distinto, uma vez que das 15 unidades da área científica de Ciências e Políticas da Educação para além desta unidade outras 11 apresentaram igualmente reclamação e solicitaram nova avaliação. A classificação acima, que já foi superiormente homologada, é a que resultou desta nova avaliação, em que das 12 unidades envolvidas 2 viram a sua classificação subir de Muito Bom para Excelente, 1 viu a sua classificação subir de Bom para Muito Bom, e 2 viram a sua classificação subir de Regular para Bom.

Os comentários do painel original e os respectivos comentários da unidade são apresentados a seguir a esta secção relativa à reapreciação.

Comentários do Painel de reapreciação

This is a large research unit with some areas of real strength. Overall we agreed with the judgment of ‘good’ although there was evidence that some groups were better than this. Taken overall therefore it is strong ‘good’.

In their report, the Evaluation Panel noted that three out of the seven groups submitted ‘fail to reach the minimum threshold’. We were not aware in the criteria of any specified ‘minimum threshold’ for international publications. On this issue, we would make the following comments:


Journals: three journal articles listed appeared to be published internationally. Deciding which books and articles were published internationally is complex; it is particularly difficult to distinguish those published in Portugal and Brazil. These figures are therefore our best estimates. Books: it is true that these were largely in Portuguese but, given that they were histories of Portuguese education, including several biographies of Portuguese educators, it is hard to see how these could really be in languages other than Portuguese. One book chapter was published in French and one book in Brazil.


We noted the following international publications. Journals: 3 published in Brazil, 2 in English and 1 French. Book chapters: One in English; 1 published in Brazil and 1 Spanish.


We noted the following international publications. Journals: 1 published in Brazil, 1 Spanish.

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
This Unit consists of 7 research groups; the number of researchers in each of the groups is high for education research (average 12,9 researchers per group - including full members and collaborating PhD researchers). However, the size of the research groups varies between 7 (group 1661-2422) and 18 researchers (12 members and 6 collaborating researchers for group 1661-2439).
A variance (which is not related to the size of the groups) is also eminent in terms of the overall performance of the individual groups. Three out of the 7 research groups fail to reach a minimum threshold (specifically groups 1661-2667, 1661-2720 and 1661-2906) while one group i.e. group 1661-2393 is particularly good. Interestingly, the variance persists concerning the performance of the individual groups in the criterion of productivity: research groups 1661-2393 and 1661-2418 have a very good productivity. There also exists significant room for improvement concerning the training of young researchers: three groups i.e. 1661-2393, 1661-2422 and 1661-2439 succeed in providing good or very good training while the rest four groups should look at this in the future.
According to the criteria of relevance and feasibility of their research projects the groups have a good performance.
Summarising, the main characteristic of this Unit is the variance both in the constitution of the individual groups and their performance. Their performance varies from group to group but also within each one of the groups the ratings vary from one criterion to another. No pattern is discernible. The group which stands out is group 1661-2393 especially concerning its combined performance on the criteria of productivity and the training of young researchers.
The panel recommends that:
1. Peer-reviewed international research journals (not only in Portuguese language) should be the focus for publications. Groups 1661-2393 and 1661-2418 could take the lead in diffusing their good practices in publishing.
2. The RGs should become more active in organizing international conferences and meetings.
3. Research projects should disseminate their findings via peer-reviewed international research journals (not only in Portuguese language). This criterion could be set as a precondition for funding.
4. The “good practices” in training young researchers of the groups 1661-2393, 1661-2422 and 1661-2439 could be transferred to the rest four of the research groups which are rather weak as fas as this aspect is concerned. This training should definitely include courses in both qualitative and quantitative research tools.
5. Research groups should be restructured by merging. The pairs of research groups a. 1661-2418 and 1661-2422, b.1661-2667 and 1661-2439 and c.1661-2720 and 1661-2906 could benefit if merged. This recommendation is based on both the research orientations of the individual groups and their patern of performance.
Final assessment of Unit: Good
Sobre os grupos de investigação
The Construction of the Curriculum in formal, informal and non formal contexts: Theory and Practice [RG-EDU-Norte-Braga-1661-2393]
In all a research group with a very good and balanced performance. They have a strong record of international publications but surprisingly they are rather weak in terms of international visibility via organization of conferences and seminars. Most of the conferences they have organized are national. However in addition to their strong international publication record they have an excelent record concerning the training of new researchers.
Education, Technology and Communication [RG-EDU-Norte-Braga-1661-2422]
This group works in a field where there are many expectations from society with respect to new scientific knowledge and innovations. E-learning is also an important theme for educational research internationally. The research of the group should therefore benefit, as well as benefit from, research elsewhere. The actual level of interaction is moderate, however, and the choice of journals (including Internet publications) for communication of the research results mirrors ambitions that could be higher. There is some imbalance between this relative international invisibility and the importance of the work for the national educational scene. The group can account for funding from various national sources in a way that indicates a rather high level of support. The performance with regard to training of future researchers is very good in relation to the size of the group.
Educational Institutions, Organisations and Contexts: Policies, Rationalities and Practices [RG-EDU-Norte-Braga-1661-2439]
This group has its focus on educational institutions from the perspectives of sociology of education, educational administration, and politics of education. It thus covers a field that is rather similar to that of some other groups in Portugal. Internationally, corresponding research is very common, too. There would thus be good opportunities for fruitful scientific interaction at a higher level of intensity than at the present. An important step would be more publications in well-respected international journals. The feasibility of the work that the group has taken on is good, considering the general character of the goals. It would have been helpful to have a more detailed description of the research specialties, particularly to indicate in which ways the research differs from that done by others. The group can account for an excellent record of production of doctor’s theses.
Higher Education – Images and Practices [RG-EDU-Norte-Braga-1661-2667]
The Higher Education – Images and Practices RG operates within an interdisciplinary research Unit (CIEd). It aims at “systematising ongoing research in the area and enhance higher education on the basis of new research” and mainly investigates issues of representations and developmental aspects of Higher Education. Despite its “size” (11 main researchers) and the capacity of the staff, the Higher Education – Images and Practices RG lacks international productivity: there is no international publication in peer review journal reported, while even the book chapters are “domestic”. Low performance is also recorded regarding the “organization of conferences and seminars” indicator (only 2 in the University of Minho). The RG is aware of these deficits and intends to foster internationalization according its strategic planning (see ch. “Internationalization”). It seems capable to achieve it, since RG’s researchers have published internationally before 2003 (see “Previous publications in the area”).
In terms of “relevance”, the abovementioned RG could lay more emphasis in topics related to some other international research trends in the field, such as the supranational policy initiatives on Higher Education (Bologna Process, Lisbon Agenda etc) and their national impact and the role of institutional building and governance in the representations and operation of HEIs.
Regarding training, the Higher Education – Images and Practices RG performs rather satisfactory (2 PhDs submitted and completed).
Literacies-Practices and Discourses in Educational Contexts [Formerly integrated in the research line Teaching and Learning Processes] [RG-EDU-Norte-Braga-1661-2906]
The research interests of this group are wide, and the heterogeneity is only somewhat diminished by the emphasis on literacies and educational discourses. On the other hand, the broad field of activities makes it possible to have a large network of research associates in many parts of the world, with varying kinds of cooperation. The group has been very successful in obtaining financial support for this. However, the number of scientific publications in internationally well-respected journals is low in comparison. Another low priority for the group seems to be the production of doctor’s theses, which is an important criterion in the evaluation of the overall performance. The group has a good record of getting things done, but the priorities need reconsideration if it wants to secure funding in the future.
Pedagogy, Philosophy and History of Education [RG-EDU-Norte-Braga-1661-2720]
This group does its work in a central area of educational research which is frequently found elsewhere, very often with a very similar description. Its productivity is high in terms of books and book chapters in Portuguese. Unfortunately, much of the research is relatively inaccessible to an international audience, primarily because the production appears not to have taken place with that in mind. The number of articles in well-respected international journals is low. There is, however, a record of participation in and organization of conferences. Being in a field where there are many actors, high-level scientific interaction is important, and there would also be a need to stand out with a research specialty of one’s own. Such an edge in research is not to be found in the report. The group seems not to have given the training of future researchers very high priority.
Science Education, Society and Development [RG-EDU-Norte-Braga-1661-2418]
This group works in an area which for the time being attracts considerable international interest and the relevant issues are high in the research and political agendas. They have a very good record of international publications. They have though a weakness regarding the training of new researchers. This weakness is difficult for one to explain given both the tradition of their area of specialization (ie. science education) and their international visibility in terms of publication. Furthermore, their visibility in terms of organizing international conferences and seminar leaves room for improvement. In all, they have success in the academically demanding dimensions but it seems that they have organizational weaknesses.

Comentários da unidade

After analysing the evaluation report, the Unit considers that some of its strengths, as valued at previous evaluations and leading to a continued Very Good classification, and that continue to be strong characteristics of the Centre, have not been emphasised.
We do not completely agree with the way internationalisation is conceived by the evaluators. As interpreted by CIEd, internationalisation values publication in different languages and different national contexts. We believe that publications in Portuguese, that still are predominant at the Unit, although this tendency has been decreasing recently, cannot be understood as an indicator for reduced internationalisation, considering the recognition of CIEd and its researchers in various contexts, namely in Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries.
The performance of the Unit does not seem to be sufficiently taken into consideration, especially with regard to national and international educational knowledge dissemination. The activities of the Unit are not only represented by the activities of the Research Groups; the editorial policy of the Centre has also been an establishing factor of the scientific community in educational sciences, especially through the Revista Portuguesa de Educação, cited in international databases (RedALyC, Doaj and Scielo).
When referring to a reduced capacity of integration and training of young researchers, evaluators seem to have taken into account only indicators concerning PhD theses, ignoring the very high number of Research Master Degrees that contribute to a large extent to the production of scientific knowledge in the field of education in Portugal.