Research Strategy

Research Strategy

Research vision: Optimal human development

AKU-IED will engage in cutting edge educational research to contribute towards optimal human development. Such research will explore and test innovative approaches and practices to shape teaching and learning in diverse educational contexts and will be underpinned by concerns around curriculum models, spaces, resources, policy, provision and governance that are relevant, inclusive and equitable.  

Guiding Principles

It is expected that AKU-IED will emerge as a leader in knowledge generation with specialisation in key areas. Our research efforts are guided by the following principles:
  • Ethics would be an integral element of the research process (identification of problem, execution of research, dissemination and advocacy).

  • Research would take into account AKU’s guiding principles of access, relevance, quality and impact.

  • Research and academic programmes would be aligned to seek excellence in both in a manner by which these two inform each other.

  • Research agenda is informed by and is responsive to national, regional, international and AKDN needs.

  • AKU-IED would retain and support its faculty members as they move to the senior ranks to carry forward the institute’s research goals. 

  • Dissemination, at local, national and international levels, to the academics, practitioners, policy-makers and organisations and research based advocacy would be a part of the research process.

  • Research themes will demonstrate flexibility to accommodate emerging trends and faculty’s interest and specialisation.

  • Research themes will guide faculty and student research interests but will not be prescriptive in nature.

Theoretical underpinnings of the research agenda for AKU-IED stem from the theory of human development which was originated in the work of Amartya Sen and Mehbub Ul Haq (Sen, 1990, 1999; Ul Haq, 1995), both eminent economists who questioned the economy oriented conception of development and the limitations of interpreting human wellbeing in economic terms (utility and expenditure).

They view human development as a process of enlarging people's choices which can be infinite and change over time. The choices of leading a long and healthy life, acquiring knowledge and having access to resources needed for a decent standard of living are considered three key choices which are necessary at all levels of the development to ensure access to all other opportunities (HDR, 1990).

Enlarging choices for the individual citizens (focus on educational stakeholders) and for the society at large through optimal human development will remain the ultimate outcome of any research to be undertaken by AKU-IED. This perspective/approach to research aligns well with social (and economic) determinants of health which is emerging focus for AKU wide research.

According to WHO report, individuals can have dramatic life chances (may read as choices) depending on where they are born. Social and economic (as well as political) circumstances around them will warrant for them a long healthy and fulfilling life or otherwise. The emphasis of research on social (economic) determinants of health warrants undertaking of educational research that may contribute to improve life chances for individuals and may lead to the human centered development.

The research work within the six areas of concentration makes deliberate attempt to keep the focus “education for optimal human development” in the center to draw AKU-IED’s future research agenda.

​Read about the research themes here.