Does research engagement by teachers (i.e. reading and doing research) enhance the quality of their classroom practices? In this talk I draw on a series of studies which examine language teachers’ and managers’ views on this issue. The findings I report highlight a range of positive, hesitant and negative perspectives on the relationship between research engagement and teaching quality. What also emerges in the views expressed by teachers and managers are diverse conceptions of what ‘research’ means, typically emphasizing personal, practical and informal activities or, in contrast, those which are more formal, theoretical and academic. Neither of these conceptions of research provides a satisfactory basis for promoting research engagement as a productive professional development strategy. I will thus conclude the talk by outlining a conception of teacher research engagement which is feasible and rigorous and which has the potential to contribute positively to the quality of language teachers’ work.