The Penrynopoly Project: Empowering Students as Researchers

Kieran Cutting, Natasha Evans, Dean Pomeroy


The marketization of Higher Education (HE) is changing how students perceive their education, increasing the need for mechanisms which highlight education’s intrinsic value. Empowering students as researchers improves the potential for students to thrive throughout their degree, can create innovative research and can have positive impact upon universities and their local communities. Written from the student perspective, this paper follows the ‘Penrynopoly Project’, a successful example of ‘students as researchers’, throughout its development and identifies the lasting impacts it has upon the students, the community and the institution. The paper also advances some recommendations for the successful launching of student research projects – the use of interdisciplinary, innovative research methods, the presence of supportive, encouraging staff and the need to think beyond the classroom in relation to course and assessment design and delivery. This paper asserts that encouraging students to be researchers is not simply a curious pedagogical tool, but a transformative framework that can alleviate many problems with current impact on HE.


students as change agents; marketization; community; students as partners

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