South West U3A Region


This page will contain information about Research. Click here for a full list of all the U3A Research Data.

What is research in the U3A?

At its broadest sense, research can be described as the systematic collection and analysis of information for the advancement of knowledge.
If you look into the history of a local hospital, investigate birds visiting your garden, compare costs and benefits of insurance policies or ask people about their views on something, you are conducting research.

There are many different types of research and levels of complexity.

Research projects may involve one or more of the three main types of research activity:

1. Empirical research: the systematic collection and analysis of empirical (original) evidence to create new information through methods such as interviews, surveys, focus groups, experiments and observation.
2. Scholarship: the collation of pre-existing information which may yield new knowledge and insights.
3. Knowledge transfer: the exchange, by individuals or institutions, of information gained through Empirical research or Scholarship that may also reveal further insights.

The terms ‘research’ and ‘enquiry-led learning’ are used interchangeably by U3A.

There are many opportunities for U3A members to engage in various types of research/enquiry-led learning. For more information, visit the U3A Research Network.

In the South-West Region, we have a Research Ambassador: Chris Knight

Her main role is to promote and support enquiry-led learning and research within the U3A region, see more detailed information in her Role Description.

What does this mean in practice? Some examples . . .

  • Help with surveys
  • Support for building relationships with educational institutions such as colleges and universities
  • Working out how to set up a research project
  • Formulating a research question
  • Etc!

Chris says “I would be delighted to have contact with any interest group or U3A who is seeking to move forward on any aspect of research and needs a bit of help”.

To contact Chris, email her via the CONTACT page.