This analysis of the instructional development literature in higher education is a meta-study of 73 research studies conducted between 2000 and 2009. Meta-study includes: a meta-theory analysis of theory used in the research studies; a meta-methodology analysis of research approaches used; a meta-data-analysis of study findings and finally a meta-synthesis of the results of the first three components. The primary research question, to determine what is known about the relationship between instructional development approaches used in higher education and effective teaching outcomes, could not be answered since the research is mostly based on narrow research questions, and focuses on individual change in teachers; a wide variety of approaches may lead to some change on an individual level. However, examination of the findings revealed several themes: a focus on individual, rather than departmental or broader, change; a focus on evaluation; and a lack of reference to the complex environment where research and practice occurs. The implications of the findings for the developing field of instructional development are explored. As with earlier systematic reviews, this meta-study identifies weaknesses in the approach to research. In particular, the lack of reference to context and the frequently narrow focus on evaluation limits the contribution made by research in this area.
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Thesis advisor: Amundsen, Cheryl
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