Enabling positive change in primary school: learner-led research in a Scottish context

Islean Gibson, Ailey Clark, Hamish Dunnigan, Dianne Cantali (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    The relevance and value of increased learner participation in effect change research is increasing in its significance and importance across the education sector, guided by current national governance and the move of local authorities to implement action research models to drive improvement. This paper reports on a study led by primary seven pupils in a remote rural Scottish primary school, working collaboratively towards planning, developing, implementing and evaluating learner-led research. The pupil researchers created their own initiative, introducing dogs to the classroom, which was designed to increase self-esteem and self-efficacy for all learners in their school. Through the implementation of the initiative, they were observed to develop their own social and emotional well-being as they engaged in the process of interviewing, results analysis and subsequent resource dissemination. This article discusses the collaborative and supportive relationship alongside the desire to bring about positive change that must underpin genuine collaboration.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)278-295
    Number of pages18
    JournalSupport for Learning
    Issue number2
    Early online date2 May 2021
    Publication statusPublished - May 2021


    • dogs
    • learner-led research
    • primary school
    • self-efficacy
    • self-esteem

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education


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