Research principles

5 July 2017

About the research principles

The Research Principles are designed to:

  • provide clarity on the objectives of NCVER’s research program

  • ensure that the NCVER research portfolio comprises targeted and applied research focussed on addressing key national issues that are priorities of stakeholders and shareholder

  • provide both internal and external guidance for investment in research that benefits the VET sector and the wider community.

Why - principles and objectives

To provide objective, evidence-based research findings and prospective concepts of the highest quality to inform and influence national vocational education and training policy and practice, integrating both quantitative evidence and qualitative analyses in order to:

  • enable detailed, insightful understanding of key aspects of the national VET system and market, with a focus on quality of training and its regulation and training pathways

  • identify conditions for optimal (public and private) investment in training

  • understand the benefits of VET in the tertiary sector and impacts on individuals, enterprises, regional and national labour markets and on national productivity and innovation.

This is achieved by:

  • ensuring research has a clear purpose and is relevant by understanding what the key drivers are, from industry, shareholders and the community

  • investing in researchable topics that shareholders, industry, employers and training providers identify as being of highest priority in the short-term and long-term horizons (immediate and emerging and potential opportunities)

  • conducting research that tests new ideas in a balanced manner, testing and illuminating best policies and practices in VET, both nationally and overseas

  • investing in research that comprises both retrospective analytical works as well as works that are prospective and forward thinking - ‘thought leadership’.

What success looks like - outcomes and impact

Collectively, outcomes must deliver timely and relevant research investigations, synthesis and analysis that strengthen the evidence base for decision making in relation to vocational education and training for a wide range of stakeholders including:

  • policy makers

  • training organisations (private and public)

  • researchers

  • employers

  • industry sectors

  • unions

  • peak bodies

  • students.

NCVER will provide synthesis and effective translation of knowledge into practice and the development of applied tools and audience-specific communication that will provide independent, credible, valuable and usable advice that informs and influences:

  • policy development or reforms to be considered or amended by governments, responding in a timely manner to priority questions framed by its shareholders

  • options for actions by governments to help them optimise their training investments aligned with their economic interests, local intelligence and analyses

  • potential improvements impacting the national VET system, ensuring this is seen from multiple perspectives of all its significant participants; including but not limited to regulators, students, employers and funders

  • the development of, and quality improvements in training products, practices and programs that support the development of national and local skills and labour force needs for current and long-term projections

  • performance in governance and regulation of the VET sector

  • the in-depth understanding of the economic and societal value of VET and its link to successful workforce entry and participation

  • how overall policies and funding impact on individuals, enterprises, regional and national labour markets, national productivity and innovation.

How this is done - processes to ensure success

Work undertaken or commissioned will be based on a comprehensive and periodic assessment and determination of priority topics, as advised by shareholders and stakeholders, to be agreed as discreet funded projects. This will be achieved by:

  • productive engagement and advice from shareholders, stakeholders from across the VET sector and relevant bodies such as the Australian Industry Skills Committee and industry representatives, unions and peak bodies to identify gaps in knowledge and emerging questions

  • environmental scans (PESTLE)1 to inform/scope requirements for potential projects, supported by other communications such as webinars or targeted meetings

  • robust project management of all research programs

  • transparent, impartial and independent project selection in any competitive process to ensure quality, relevant research clearly aligned to research need

  • organising scoping workshops as needed and partnering in collaborative projects to undertake both the conduct and the critique of research, through engagement with academics, industry, policy experts and others as appropriate

  • conducting research on a ‘to be published’ or ‘commissioned in confidence’ basis as required

  • publishing works in a timely manner to ensure that research messages are communicated and promoted through a wide range of both traditional and digital media to maximise distribution, through effective marketing and communication strategies, information services, webinars and conferences

  • implementing periodic reviews to assess and publish the impact of selected research works to test impact on national VET policy and practice, as well as efficiency of NCVER processes

  • ensuring research outputs are intelligible, presenting ‘plain-speak’ analysis, evidence, insights and guidance/facts sheets

  • promoting and exploring new ideas through a range of mechanisms that provide a platform for innovation and futuristic thinking.



1Political, Environmental, Societal, Technological, Economic and Legal