Like most of my colleagues at LSE, I take great pride in doing research-led teaching. By drawing upon my own research I’m able to strengthen and enliven my lectures; students enjoy seeing how research done outside the classroom can directly relate to the issues explored within it.
I show students the entirety of the research process: from identifying interesting and important research questions, to analysing and conceptualising, and publishing. In the past, I’ve had graduate students perform ‘research autopsies’ of my own work to see how research can be messy and full of surprises. In doing so, they also learn how to adapt to challenges, and see how even research with 'null findings' can be important for knowledge production.
At the same time, I benefit immensely from my interaction with students as I develop new research projects, reflective of the value of teaching-led research. Teaching forces me to think differently about my own work and make my arguments clearer. It is not unusual that conversations with students in lectures and seminars have given me new research ideas, some of which have turned into published work.
For example, while teaching at LSE’s summer school in Beijing I invited students to help theorise and conceptualise GONGOs (government organised non-governmental organisations), which helped forming the basis of an article on the topic. My 2019 article linking the one-child policy and elder care to family pressure felt by LGB Chinese was born out of conversations in my graduate seminar on sexuality and social policy; my recent research on attitudes to the anti-HIV drug PrEP was provoked by discussions with students and colleagues in that same course.