In countries like the UK, educational institutions, processes and outcomes affect everyone in some way or another, and often very deeply. The links between educational policy and provision and the health of the society, culture and economy are clearly of paramount importance. Education is both an academic discipline, with its own academic community and distinctive discourse and concerns, and also a subject or field of study, where a range of social science theories and methods are brought to bear on issues such as learning, curriculum, assessment, pedagogy, governance, management, leadership, policy and so forth. Educational research at Cardiff offers rigorous analyses of educational processes and their social, political, cultural and economic contexts, making an important contribution to contemporary policy, practice, debate and understanding.
Research expertise includes particular strengths in
- further and higher education,
- policy analysis and evaluation,
- early childhood education,
- children and young people at school,
- labour market and skills,
- adult and workplace learning,
- medical education and
- technology-enhanced learning.
The pathway is based in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, where research students are part of a vibrant research culture. The School has a strong track record of international, peer-reviewed publication; it hosts several major disciplinary and methods-focused social science journals. Students on the Education pathway engage not only with others pursuing Education PhDs (of which there are around 60) but also develop networks more broadly across the School with staff and students from other disciplines. The opportunities to do so are fostered by the many seminars, workshops and events that bring together staff and students, hosted by the School’s Education Research Group and by the six interdisciplinary research centres whose work includes educational research.
The School supports and organises a series of doctoral cohort events including an annual PGR dinner (a social event and celebration of doctoral accomplishment); an annual doctoral student conference (including paper sessions and poster competition); the student-run Postgraduate Café, and various reading groups which meet once a month to discuss a range of topics related to social research, politics and culture.
Students on the ‘1+3’ route complete the specialist module Debates in Educational Research as part of the interdisciplinary Masters Social Science Research Methods programme, whilst developing a breadth of knowledge, understanding and skills. Subject-specific training and student development continues throughout the doctorate with a wide range of reading and discussion groups, roundtable sessions, seminar series, and data analysis workshops.