Research Capacity Within the EIS

Created on: 25 Jan 2018 | Last modified: 15 Jul 2022


For over a decade there has been expressed, at least on an intermittent basis, a desire for the EIS to develop its own research facility, employing our own researcher(s) and saving money on the costs associated with the outsourcing of research/survey work to outside organisations.

It is thought that any research capacity which is developed would be available to provide support to all departments based at EIS Headquarters. What is less clear is the extent to which any new research facility could be utilised by Local Associations and Area Offices.

The need for research

Most major trade unions now have a research capacity to support their work. This is particularly true in relation to education unions where organisations such as the NUT have the stated aim of developing evidence based policy.

More recently, AGM motions have increasingly explicitly itemised the need for surveys and research. The developing agenda around professional learning also presents a strong context for research based engagement by the EIS as a professional association.

3. Previous use of Research/Survey Companies

The table below outlines the research/survey work which has utilised external contractors to perform work on behalf of the Institute since 2000/2001 with a brief description of the work involved and the costs associated with this work.


Research/Survey Description



Higher Still Assessment (Mori)



Job Sizing (Price Waterhouse)



Internal Assessment/New Qualifications (System 3)



Promoted Posts (System 3)



Survey of Membership Opinion (TNS)



Teacher Earnings Research



Private Provider in Higher Education



Job Satisfaction and Wellbeing (Scott-Porter)





The average annual cost of research/survey work which has been commissioned by the EIS in the past thirteen years works out as just under £14,000 per annum, although the spending pattern has been uneven.

Whilst this is a significant amount it should be recognised that some of the research indicated above would have been beyond the scope of a single researcher working for the Institute and also, perhaps, required a degree of separation from the Institute to secure the validity of the findings.

A New Research Post

At the present time the EIS employs the following grades of staff at the salary levels indicated (along with a 40% addition to account for pension and national insurance contributions). It is assumed that the appointment of a new grade of "Researcher" will fit in somewhere within the grades outlined below.

Grade of Post


Total Cost

Grade D



Grade C



Grade B



Grade A



Finance Manager






Head of Communications









General Secretary



Some External Comparators

There exist a range of individuals who perform a research function outwith the EIS which might provide us with further information regarding the potential costs of employing a full-time research specialist within the Union. For example, within the Parliament the costs of employing a “Researcher” is a matter for each individual MSP but it is estimated that the annual salary for a full-time Research Officer in the Parliament could be anything between £22,000 - £32,000 (not including pensions and NI).

In the Higher Education sector the EIS does have members who are employed in a research capacity who are paid according to the level of qualification and extent of relevant experience. A Post-Graduate working towards his/her PhD would be paid between £25,000 - £35,000 while a Post-Doctorate Researcher could command a salary of between £30,000-£45,000 (Scale range 7 of the JNCHES pay spine).

Other research posts in the private sector are currently advertising salaries of between £16,000 and £34,000 again depending on level of qualification and amount of research experience.


On average the EIS has committed a total of just under £180,000 to a variety of research/survey projects which have involved the use of external contractors in the last 13 years which works out at an average annual spend of around £14,000 over this period. Employing a qualified and experienced Researcher is likely to cost the Institute anything
between £22,000 and £45,000 depending on level of qualification and experience.

It is also the case that many Researchers specialise in particular areas of activity/expertise and that one of the advantages of using external Researchers is that the EIS has been able to match the individual Researcher/Research Company to the type of project which is under consideration.

Options for the Future

In taking forward the development of the research capacity of the Institute a combined approach is suggested:

  1. To continue to make use of external research/survey specialists as required, allowing ourselves a degree of flexibility with regard to the choice of expertise available to us, depending on the nature of the research required.
  2. At this stage, not to proceed with a dedicated post with responsibility for the range of research work carried out by the Institute.
  3. In the context of future staffing proposals, give further consideration to the need for a research capacity within the Institute possibly through a post combined with other responsibilities eg "Research/Professional Learning Coordinator".

    Such a post would have responsibility for allocating research work either internally to individual departments or to specialist external research/survey/opinion polling agencies across Scotland.
  4. To consider ways in which the research capacity of members might be supported and facilitated e.g. establishing a budget line to award grants to EIS members willing to carry out small scale research/action research on designated policy areas eg smaller class sizes, mixed ability teaching, gender stereotyping etc.
  5. To consider appropriate training for officers and officials to support a research based approach to policy.

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