As an editorial team, we have taken the remit of Politics to publishing research-led reflections on learning and teaching very seriously and spelt out our commitment in our 2014 editorial. In fact, increasing the profile of learning and teaching scholarship was one of the aims we had identified in our initial proposal to Political Studies Association in response to their call for expressions of interest to edit Politics in 2011. And over the past three years of our tenure, we have worked hard to get the word out to colleagues that we are interested in learning and teaching articles. We have been greatly supported in this effort by the Teaching and Learning Specialist Groups in the British International Studies Association and the PSA. Thus, we have been extremely pleased with the quality and quantity of pedagogical research that has been submitted and hope this continues throughout the rest of our editorial tenure.
With success always comes new challenges. As the profile of learning and teaching research in politics and international studies has increased in the UK, it has also meant an increase in colleagues seeking to publish work in this area for the first time. What we have noticed as an editorial team is that there is a tendency for new scholars in the learning and teaching field to make inadequate reference to the existing literature. This inevitably gets picked up by bemused reviewers and in some cases the lack of engagement can prove fatal, particularly if the research looks to be replicating previous work–with which it is unfamiliar–without new insight. It is therefore crucial to remember that a research-led learning and teaching article, like all research in politics and international studies, needs to be able to articulate its original contribution and the broader significance of this contribution to the subject area. This requires that one know the relevant literature. And it is important to be looking at the existing pedagogical research not just when writing an article, but also during the process of developing teaching innovation and in the design of research to capture the impacts of innovation. To these ends, the PSA Teaching and Learning Group has an excellent set of online resources, including the International Politics Education Database with over 1700 learning and teaching article entries.