Research

One of the strategic aims of the Centre for Global Education is to research our practice in order ‘to influence debate on the practice of development education by documenting and disseminating learning we acquire through our work’. The Centre also aims to ‘illuminate the links between Ireland and the global South’.

In fulfilling these aims the Centre carries out research in three specific areas. Firstly, we monitor and evaluate our development education activities both internally and externally to assess the impact of our work on learners. This form of research is carried out internally by the Centre’s staff and externally by independent consultants. Secondly, we commission research on development education practice in specific sectors. Two recent reports in this area include ‘Engaging Returned Development Workers in Development Education’ and ‘Promoting Development Education in Youth Work Training’. These reports aim to strengthen practice in these sectors by identifying the needs of learners and educators. Thirdly, the Centre commissions research on development issues which have a local and global resonance. Recent reports of this nature include ‘Voices from the Global South: A report on Migration’ which examined the experiences of migrants from the global South who have recently settled in Ireland. These reports are available in this section as pdfs.

Engaging Returned Development Workers In Development Education

In 2011, the Centre published a new research study titled ‘Engaging Returned Development Workers in Development Education’. The aim of the study was ‘to commission a mapping and consultation exercise designed to engage Returned Development Workers (RDWs) in global education’. The project was delivered in partnership with Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers, and involved the following: first, the compilation of a comprehensive database of RDWs in Northern Ireland; second, consultation with this constituency through qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Consultation with the sector included interviews, focus groups and questionnaire surveys to identify the needs of RDWs in respect to issues like post-placement employment and personal development, networking with other RDWs, getting involved in global education and sharing skills, knowledge and expertise. 


Voices From The Global South

In April 2009, the Centre received funding from the Department for International Development (DFID) to commission and manage a research-based project that aimed to investigate and analyse our increasingly diverse society through a series of case studies. The case studies presented biographical profiles of individuals that reflect the increasing diversity of our society arising from inward migration. The case studies focused on three specific groups: first generation migrants; second generation migrants; and refugees. The first generation migrants were sub-divided between economic migrants and students and / or family members. Refugees included asylum-seekers who have made claims for refugee status.

The research identified some of the challenges confronted by individuals who have come to live in the north of Ireland from other societies in Europe and the global South such as racism, accessing public services and adjusting to local cultures and lifestyles. While individual case studies can not reflect the life experiences of an entire community or ethnic group living in the north of Ireland they can collectively provided us with an informative and insightful perspective on life for migrants in our society. 

The research included a literature review on migration locally and internationally and examined relevant research reports addressing issues impacting on migrants. It then presented 12 case studies based on interviews with individuals in the three research sample groups: first generation migrants, second generation migrants and refugees. Each case study represents a biographical profile that examines the factors why migrants leave their countries of origin and travel to countries like Ireland. The case studies also reflect on life for migrants after they have settled here: what have been the challenges and the positives from their experiences. They also have promoted the many positive contributions made by migrant communities to our local economy, society and cultural diversity. To that extent, the outcomes of the research can support education initiatives that work toward intercultural learning in our formal education sector and wider society. 

The Centre aims to build upon the research recommendations and identify next steps for building a more rounded picture of life for migrants in the north of Ireland.
This project has not only strengthened the Centre’s research capacity but also enhanced our working links with the minority ethnic and refugee sectors. The research was completed and disseminated in September 2010.

The Activist's Handbook - A Guide to Activism on Global Issues 


This publication is offered as a practical tool to individuals and organisations interested in taking the step from concern about global injustices and curiosity about the wider world to active participation in campaigns and social movements that are trying to change the world for the better.

There was a time perhaps when activism was something of an optional extra for those seeking broader social experiences at home and overseas or those with extra time on their hands and wanting to put it to good use. The ‘luxury’ of activism as a pastime and form of experiential learning has long since gone.

The Global Dimension: School Approaches, Teaching and Learning in Northern Ireland

This research was supported over a two year period by the Department for International Development to monitor and assess how the revised Northern Ireland curriculum is facilitating delivery and enhancing awareness of global education in schools. The research employed qualitative and quantitative research methods and focused on teachers, student teachers and pupils. The research objectives were to:
  • Identify organizational strategies employed by schools and teaching strategies and resources perceived as beneficial for learning about global issues;
  • Explore teachers’, student teachers’ and pupils’ understandings of the global dimension and their attitudes to related issues.
  • Investigate the extent to which pupils learn about issues related to the global dimension in schools and to compare this to their attitudes and reported activist behaviours.
The report found ‘clear evidence that much relevant and valuable work was carried out in schools under the banner of the Global Dimension’. However, it added that ‘few schools adopted a structured approach to the implementation of the global dimension in the curriculum’. Whilst many schools deliver good practice under the auspices of the global dimension the report found that ‘lack of time for teaching, researching and reflection was seen as a major impediment to implementing the Global Dimension effectively’. Thus the report found a mixed picture in schools and in the training of teachers and student teachers concerning the delivery of the global dimension and its impact on young people. The report contains useful recommendations including that which suggests:
‘The Department of Education should produce, in consultation with stakeholders, a policy document providing clear guidance for teachers on how the Global Dimension should be implemented through the Northern Ireland Curriculum, including guidelines on effective whole school implementation and advice on its pedagogical, social and economic importance’. 

The challenge arising from the report is to ensure that its recommendations are implemented by policy-makers and practitioners alike.

From The Local To The Global

ISBN: 9780745334738; Edited by Gerard McCann and Stephen McCloskey368 pages; 
published: 20 May 2015; Size: 215mm x 135mm ; Format: Paperback; Published by Pluto Press ; Price: £17.00

In recent years the international development sector has found itself confronting new as well as persistent challenges to poverty eradication and the promotion of human rights. Climate change has loomed large as a crisis for development practitioners as well as environmentalists, with natural disasters occurring with increasing frequency and impacting severely on the most vulnerable in the Global South. The ongoing financial crisis has created recurrent recessions in the global North, while causing budget lines to be reduced for development aid across the Global South. 

From The Local to the Global highlights the extent to which the local and global are interconnected in today’s globalised economy and questions the legitimacy of the neoliberal model of development which propelled us into the crisis. This completely revised third edition takes stock of the international development environment as it embarks on new policy frameworks to confront new challenges.

From The Local to the Global is an indispensable introduction to key development issues such as aid, debt, trade, migration, security, gender in development and climate change.

Global Youth Work Research

In April 2008, the Centre in partnership with the Community Youth Work Team at the University of Ulster Jordanstown (UUJ), commissioned a practice-based research project with the aim of enhancing development education 
practice in youth work training.
 The research was carried out on our behalf by independent consultants Dare to Stretch and involved  qualitative research into the global dimension in the BSc Honours in Community Youth Work at  Jordanstown. The research aimed to determine trainee youth workers’ knowledge of, and interest in,  global youth work.  
The research process included the delivery of exemplar seminars on global youth  work to demonstrate the efectiveness of development education methodologies in the delivery of youth  work training. It also encompassed interviews and focus groups with academic staf and youth work  students in the University of Ulster campuses at Jordanstown and Magee. 
Encouragingly, an overwhelming majority of research participants believed that ‘a global dimension should be incorporated into professional youth work training at the University of Ulster’. They considered a global dimension to be relevant to both youth work theory and practice so that youth workers can enable ‘young people to critique the wider world’. 

The researchers produced a number of recommendations for strengthening the global dimension in youth work training and, indeed, making positive interventions in the wider youth work sector from a global youth work perspective. The Centre for Global Education disseminated the research to key stakeholders in global youth work including youth organizations, development education practitioners, academics teaching global youth work and statutory organisations responsible for youth work policy and practice. 

We hope that these stakeholders will build on the report and help make its recommendations part of future youth work practice. 

The Centre is indebted to Mark Hammond (Community Youth Work Team, University of Ulster Jordanstown) and Michele Taylor (YMCA Ireland) for supporting the compilation of the research. Our thanks are also extended to Aine Wallace (Dare to Stretch) for compiling the research and the Department for International Development for funding this work.

Development Education In The Tertiary Sector

The Centre undertook research in 2008 (later updated in 2009) to establish a baseline of information on courses and modules ofered at third level either on a stand alone basis or within the context of under-graduate and post-graduate courses in related disciplines. 

The rationale for the research was based on our relationship with the tertiary education sector over the past twenty years in the form of resource provision, teaching and academic links with Schools that teach development studies. 

We have been aware of the growing number of courses and academic pathways into development issues and the lack of any kind of directory to these courses in the north and south of Ireland. With this in mind the Centre secured a grant from Trocaire ‘to enhance development education practice in the tertiary education sector through research that will strengthen collaboration and shared learning between development organizations and third level institutions’. 

The result of this research is Development Education in the Tertiary Sector, a reference guide containing information on courses and modules on development education and development issues. This document is the most complete guide to development studies in the island of Ireland although we recognise that the tertiary sector is constantly changing in terms of new courses coming on stream, existing courses changing their content / structure, and new appointments in academia. However, at the very least, the document provides a baseline from which we can conduct further studies in the future and ofers some guidance as to the expanding number of opportunities available to study development issues at tertiary level. 

The Centre hopes that the document will promote discussion on development education in the tertiary sector and enourage further research initiatives at third level.

The Centre thanks Fiona Chan, a student intern, who compiled the research profled in this report. Fiona was placed in the Centre by the Gibson Institute for Land, Food and Environment at Queen’s University. An update of the guide was compiled by Sylvester Isang in March 2009. Sylvester was also placed in the Centre by the Gibson Institute.

Exploring Our World

January 2001; ISBN: 0952592916; 210 mm × 297 mm;  Price £15.00 / €21.00; Published and available from Centre for Global Education

Exploring Our World is an active learning resource pack for students at Key Stage 3 in Northern Ireland and Junior Certificate in the Republic. The pack contains interactive teaching activities designed to support the classroom delivery of Geography in post-primary schools. It explores a range of international development issues that are closely integrated to the Geography curriculum in the north and south of Ireland.  The packs comes with comprehensive teacher’s notes, photocopiable activity sheets for use in the classroom, and visual aids.

Development Reader - An Introduction to International Development Issues

August 2008; ISSN: 1748-135X, 200 pages; 140mm x 215mm; Price £10.00 / €14.00; Published and available from Centre for Global Education

The Development Reader provides an introduction to key international development issues and the main trends in development policy and practice.  The book provides expert analysis on a range of global issues including debt, trade, HIV, gender, child labour, migration and asylum. 

The contributors are a mix of academics, development non-governmental organisation (NGO) staff and development education practitioners representing a rich and diverse range of perspectives on global issues.

The book is aimed at learners and academic staff at third level, particularly in areas related to development issues such as Geography, Sociology, Politics, Human Rights and International Relations.  Students taking modules or courses on development will find the book a useful introduction to key global issues while development NGO personnel can use the text to support their practice.

Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review - Tenth Anniversary Edition

April 2015; ISSN: 1748-135; 270 pages; 140mm x 215mm; Price £12.00 / €15.00; Published and available from Centre for Global Education 

This is a special commemorative, tenth anniversary collection of the most cited articles to have been published in the Centre for Global Education’s journal Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review over the past decade.  The journal celebrates and promotes good practice in development education; a radical and transformative educational process that empowers the learner to become actively engaged in efforts to eradicate poverty in justice both locally and globally.  Since 2005, Policy and Practice has become an articulate vehicle for debating inequalities within and between the global North and South, and for encouraging active engagement with the issues underpinning poverty and injustice.  This special collection carries articles by leading scholars in the field who debate issues on the cutting edge of development education practice and the policy environment in which it is delivered.  Policy and Practice debates and affirms the transformative capacity of education to create a more just and equal world and this is an essential collection for anyone interested in exploring the role of education as a means toward progressive social change.

“This special issue of Policy and Practice provides an outstanding view of the state of the field of development education from a range of excellent scholars and practitioners.  Once again, this journal demonstrates its success in supporting educators' understanding of the contested areas and edges of development education theory and practice in many parts of the world”.
Lynette Shultz, Associate Dean, International & Director, Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research, University of Alberta.

Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review -  External Evaluation June 2015

The Centre for Global Education would like to thank Dr Seán Byers, Queen’s University Belfast, for carrying out this review of our bi-annual journal Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review. Dr Byers brought rigour, professionalism and clarity to his review which provides a most useful assessment of the journal’s standing in the development education sector in the island of Ireland and in a wider, global context.

Policy and Practice is a peer reviewed, bi-annual, open access journal published by the Centre for Global Education, a development organisation based in Belfast. First published in 2005, Policy and Practice aims to provide a space for global education practitioners to critically reflect on their practice and debate new policy developments.  The journal aims to share research findings, update academics and practitioners on policy developments, celebrate and promote existing good practice in global education, inform the work of practitioners in development education and related adjectival education organisations and to promote global education within the statutory education sector in Ireland.

Thinkpiece Report June 2015

This article has been published as part of a one year development education project delivered by the Centre for Global Education and funded by Trócaire. It aims to support reflection and debate on how development educators engage the public on international development issues. The article comes on the back of recent research, most notably Oxfam’s Finding Frames report, which suggests that the development sector is struggling to enhance and sustain citizenship engagement on the structural causes of poverty and inequality. The article probes some of the factors that may underpin this lack of engagement both within the development education sector specifically and the wider development 
sector more generally. It examines some of the challenges involved in engaging learners in actions on global issues. Some of these challenges relate to the sectors and environmental pressures in which development educators operate which can thwart in-depth engagement with learners.