Abraham, Matthew

Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
A Multi-Modal, Multi-Sited Ethnography: young children and religion in three different local communities
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr. Peter Hemming and Prof. Bella Dicks
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

How does the religious character of the local community influence children’s understanding and experiences of friendship, relationship cultures and education, both in terms of a formal learning/curriculum and the informal processes related to social values and sense of citizenship.

Questions/objectives:

  • To investigate the extent to which religion mediates children’s relationship cultures in school, out of school and online
  • To understand the schools’ involvement with their wider local communities

The aims and objectives of this research proposal have emerged from previous research findings at Master’s level (SSRM) where, in a predominantly Muslim primary school population, I found that children were heavily regulated by the religious priorities expressed by their parents. The discourses of broader social and cultural contexts shaped and constructed the family’s engagement with the schooling process. This compromises the freedom with which the teachers can deliver the entire range of National Curriculum targets. Further, it provides the basis for a further investigation of how children understand and experience the development of religion and citizenship aspects of their schooling particularly as it relates to relationships with i) their parents ii) their teachers iii) their fellow pupils through friendship associations.

This study will draw upon a range of research methodologies to develop child-centred approaches that provide children with a space to contribute and engage with the research (Davies, 2003; Epstein, 1993). A range of digitally based methods of data gathering and enquiry will be incorporated into a broader multimodal research project (Dicks et al. 2011).

Abrahams, Jessica

Jessie Abrahams
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
Exploring the relationship between the increased tuition fees in England and young peoples ‘Horizons for action’
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof David James and Dr Sin Yi Cheung
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Despite the prevailing evidence of the deepening class inequalities in the education system and the disproportionate distribution of university students in terms of class background, following the Browne report in 2010 the government raised the cap on tuition fees in England to £9,000 per year. Since most institutions have set their fees at the full amount, the cost of higher education (HE) has risen across the board, holding potentially grave consequences not just for the ‘widening participation agenda’ but for all students. It is out of this context that my research emerges. I am focussing on the extent to which the tuition fees may be putting young people off going to university and how this might differ by social class. Taking a Bourdieusian approach I am not focussing on the individual, their transitions or choices as I believe that young people’s ‘choices’ are situated within their ‘Horizons for action’ (their perceptions of the possible). Thus I am attempting to tap into the way in which the tuition fees may be impacting upon their ‘Horizons for action’. My research questions are:

1. To what extent do young people’s knowledge and perceptions of the increased tuition fees vary by social class background?

2. How do their perceptions of this debt fit in with their views of various other forms of debt?

3. In what ways are different schools providing information about the tuition fee system?

4. How might information about- and perceptions of- the increased tuition fees, finances and debt feed into young people’s ‘horizons for action’?

Selected recent publications

Abrahams, J. and Ingram N. (2013) ‘The Chameleon Habitus: Exploring local students’ negotiations multiple fields’ Sociological Review Online. 18(4)21 can be accessed at: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/18/4/21.html

Mellor, J., Ingram, N., Abrahams, J. and Beedell, P. (2013) ‘Class matters in the interview setting? Positionality, situatedness and class’, British Educational Research Journal. early online view, 21st February 2013. can be accessed at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/berj.3035/abstract

Andrews, Darren M.

Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
Looked-after children and education
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor Andrew Pithouse and Dr Teresa de Villiers
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Previous research has shown that when compared to the majority of their peers, young people with looked-after status typically ‘underachieve’ within the education system. Following the Children Act 2004, local authorities have a statutory duty to ‘promote’ the educational achievement of looked-after children and young people. Thus, the implications for local authorities and their statutory duties are far reaching in terms of the development and implementation of appropriate policies. This thesis therefore, seeks to explore this landscape through a qualitative study of a sample of local authorities in Wales and their different models of promoting the educational attainment of young people with looked-after status.

Barton, Anya

Anya Barton
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Adopted children’s experiences of Primary Schools
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor Amanda Coffey & Dr Louise Roberts
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The project will explore adopted children’s views and experiences of Primary School life.

The research will also seek contributions from both parents and teachers about the means by which they prepare and support adopted children in school.

The project seeks to explore the conditions or factors that enable adopted children to succeed in school. Notions of success will include, but are not restricted to, academic attainment. The research will also take account of children’s social development, emotional well-being and resilience.

Bibila, Stavroula Eumelia

Start date:
October 2012
Research Topic:
Teacher & Learner Experience of the Welsh Baccalaureate
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof. Gareth Rees, Prof. David James
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The focus of my research is on:

  1. patterns of ‘formal’ and ‘epistemological’ access (Morrow, 2007) to the Welsh Baccalaureate Qualification and
  2. the Welsh Baccalaureate Core curriculum knowledge structure and the re-contextualising rules (Bernstein, 1990) at play in its development.

Blake, Hannah

Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
How businesses carry out Corporate Social Responsibility in schools
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor Sally Power
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The aim of the research is to look at how businesses carry out corporate social responsibility (CSR) in schools. Within this research I want to find out how businesses incorporate CSR within their business, what employee views are about CSR, how schools benefit from CSR and whether CSR is mutually beneficial.

Doherty, Conn

Conn Doherty
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
An Analysis into Social Deprivation and Educational Attainment
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Mark Hadfield and Dr Mark Connolly
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My project will analyse how novice teachers construct the link between social deprivation and educational underachievement. It will, furthermore, examine the significance of these perceptions about poverty in shaping novice teachers’ professional responses, as well as their identities and their sense of agency. Also explored will be the impact of a school’s institutional logics upon these constructions about poverty, the teaching practices aimed at addressing its effects, and the identity and sense of agency of novice teachers. A mixed methods study will be used to generate six case studies of novice teachers working in secondary schools in high deprivation communities, which will illuminate the interaction between these factors over time.

Edwards, Victoria

Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Girls, boys and the cyber-social relations of digital gaming: new mediations of gender and sexuality in contemporary childhoods
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof. Emma Renold, Dr Roser Beneito-Montagut
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research will explore how gender and sexualities might be produced and experienced in new and complex cyber-social gaming spaces. It is concerned with opening up new ways of researching gender and sexual digital cultures as materially real, socially regulated and discursively constructed. I aim to develop the methodology for this project collaboratively with participants. Emerging research questions include:

  • How do young people navigate the cyber-social relations of gaming cultures?
  • In what ways are gender and sexual cyber-social relations regulated and subverted in gaming cultures?
  • What theoretical tools and methodological practices enable researchers to explore the femininities, masculinities and sexualities of young people’s cyber-social relations in gaming cultures?

Fensham, Amber

Amber Fensham
Start date:
October 2012
Research Topic:
An exploration of the role of online networks on the reconfiguration of home-schooling
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor Sally Power and Dr. Peter Hemming
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This thesis aims to explore the place, use and purpose of online networks for home-schooling. Subsidiary to this, it aims to analyse the significance of these technologies for challenging representations of home-schooling and rethinking the relationship between the individual and the collective in education.

The focal research questions will explore:

  1. What are the representations of home-schooling?
  2. What is the nature and intended purpose of online networks for home-schooling?
  3. In what ways are online networks re-appropriated and selectively embedded in aspects of home-schooling?
  4. In what ways can ‘the social’ be re-theorized from this?

Goldstone, Ross

Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Economics of Education
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Sin Yi Cheung and Professor Caroline Lloyd
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My proposed research seeks to investigate and explore the economic impact of apprenticeship qualifications on earnings in the United Kingdom. Although the finalised project is yet to be decided upon.

Hampton, Jennifer May

Jennifer Hampton
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
The Nature of Quantitative Methods and Analysis in A-level Social Sciences
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof David James, Dr Luke Sloan
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The project aims to set in context other research which has investigated the nature of under- and post-graduate quantitative method training, along with perceptions and practices of both students and teachers.  Although a lot of research has been carried out at undergraduate level onwards, little attention has been given to the processes undertaken and perceptions being formed by students before they get to university.  This project aims to discover if similar problems that are faced at undergraduate level, in terms of teaching and learning quantitative methods, are also found in A-level study.

This research primarily concerns the A-level curriculum.  Following Prideaux’s (2003) conceptualisiation of curriculum, this includes how such curriculum is planned (by Govt and the relevant exam boards), how it is delivered (by institutions and teachers) and how it is experienced (by students).  The study will address whether there is disparity between how social sciences are portrayed to students and how they are documented in curriculum documentation.  Another disparity may occur between said curriculum(s) and how teachers understand and interpret this, as indicated with their following pedagogical practices.  These factors are important in the extent to which they, along with efforts to promote quantitative methods, affect the experiences and choices of students at higher levels of study.

To investigate the relationship between school and university curriculum, several different sources of information will have to be sought.  The curriculum will have to be mapped, in terms of how it is officially documented by exam boards and content providers, such as the Welsh Joint Education Committee (who are part funding this studentship), along with how it is actually practiced.  A-level students’ and teachers’ experiences, perceptions and practices will have to be sought, through a sample based on a cross-section of courses using both a large survey and case studies.  Similarly the experiences, perceptions and practices of those teaching quantitative methods and analysis at first year undergraduate level will be sought.

Selected recent publications

Hampton, J.M. (2012). The reporting of effect size in Educational Psychology literature. MMU Psychology Journal (Dissertations) UK accessible at  http://www.did.stu.mmu.ac.uk/MMU_Psychology_Dissertations_UK/2012dissertations/LtoQ/Lancaster/

Higgins, Holly

Holly Higgins
Start date:
October 2012
Research Topic:
The purpose of higher education, and the relationship between higher education and work.
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof. Phillip Brown and Prof. David James
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Most research on graduate jobs focuses on employability rather than work performance, and is concerned with graduates’ ability to access, secure and maintain employment in an increasingly competitive and unequal labour market. As a result there is quite a lot of research exploring the relationship between higher education and the labour market, but very little exploring the relationship between higher education and work.

I’m conducting qualitative interviews with graduates working in journalism, teaching and law to explore the nature and demands of their work in order to identify and examine features that may be of interest to academics and policymakers seeking to understand the possible relationship(s) between higher education and work. I’ll be drawing on my findings to examine whether the skills-based models of employability that currently inform understanding of graduates’ work offer an accurate and reliable representation of the demands associated with the kinds of occupations graduates are expected to progress into (and consequently a reliable basis upon which to formulate higher education policy).

Hoare, Jessica

Jessica Hoare
Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
The Emotional Geographies of Museums
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof Chris Taylor and Dr Jon Anderson
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship
External Sponsor:
National Museums Wales

Jess’s PhD project is a collaboration between Cardiff University and Amgueddfa Cymru (the National Museum Wales) and is designed to foster a greater understanding of how young people engage with exhibitions and artefacts.

The ESRC funded project will involve the innovative use of Bio Mapping techniques to better understand young people’s use of and engagement with museums.

Previously Jess led the delivery of an AHRC & Design Council funded project exploring the role of design in creating economic benefit and social value in the Bristol and Bath region. As part of the team at the Pervasive Media Studio, she worked closely with the Playable City team to deliver the International Playable City Award, which promotes citizen engagement through playful urban technology interventions.

Iqbal, Hannah

Hannah Iqbal
Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
Researching Spatial, Educational and Cultural Transitions with Refugee and Asylum-Seeking Children and Young People
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof G Williams and Dr E Renold
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research focuses on how young asylum-seeking, trafficked and refugee children and young people experience transition to life in the UK. Through interviews with 50 young people, I will explore how these young people make sense of the educational, cultural and spatial transitions they have experienced. More broadly, the research will examine how discourses of children’s rights, immigration control and educational inclusion work to construct these children in policy and practice.

Knight, Cathryn

Cathryn Knight
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Investigating the Benefits of a Dyslexia Diagnosis: A study using survey, longitudinal and administrative data to analyse the dyslexic label
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Dr Raya Jones and Prof. Malcolm Williams
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The research aims to explore the ‘dyslexia’ label by looking at what teachers understand about dyslexia, what demographic factors result in an individual getting a diagnosis of dyslexia, and how diagnosis effects a child’s academic trajectory. This will be done by analysing primary survey data, the Millennium Cohort Study and Welsh administrative data.

Lewis, Alyson

Alyson Lewis
Start date:
October 2012
Research Topic:
Understanding, facilitating and measuring personal and social development and well-being in the Foundation Phase
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor Chris Taylor Dr Samuel Waldron
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

In establishing a curriculum relevant for the 21st century the Welsh Government introduced the Foundation Phase (a curriculum framework for 3-7 year olds) in 2008, and it clearly states that ‘personal and social development, well-being and cultural diversity is at the heart of the Foundation Phase and should be developed across the curriculum’ (DCELLS, 2008, p.14). For this to happen, the challenge is for all stakeholders to adopt a sociocultural view of the child. Gerver (2010) states that systems tend to assume ‘that all children should be the same, reach the same learning states at the same age, be able to do the same things at the same time in the same way, know the same ‘stuff’ and share the same interests’ (p.65). The Foundation Phase therefore is an opportunity to move away from this tradition and an opportunity for practitioners to reflect on and to some extent rethink their practice for example, take a different view of the child (namely sociocultural), act differently whilst in the best interests of the child (Aasen and Waters, 2006).

My aim is to find out how personal and social development and well-being is understood by a range of stakeholders and to evaluate provision. Also, I aim to investigate what theoretical perspectives underpin practice and whether this impacts positively or negatively on children’s well-being. I also want the study to inform practice and hope to develop different ways of documenting personal and social development where children have opportunities to become meaning makers and social agents of change.

Selected Recent Publications

Nisa, Henna

Start date:
October 2017
Research Topic:
Inequalities in Education
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor Sin Yi Cheung and Professor Emma Renolds
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research interests lie with the experiences of ethnic minority groups. I am interested in exploring the educational disadvantages that people, especially women, from Black and Minority Ethnic Backgrounds face and also highlighting the factors that may contribute to these experiences, such as parental engagement, aspirations, gender norms, cultural barriers and more.

My PhD will shed light on the issues that influence students’ experiences of education. It will provide us with a deeper understanding of the role that families, communities, schools, culture, religion, identity, socio-economic status, heritage, social pressures and more, play in shaping the way students think, feel and act in regards to their education. It will highlight the relationships between space, place and identity and the impact on educational aspirations, choices and attainment.

Rees, Gwyther

Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
The structure and potential value of measuring children's self-reported well-being
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor Chris Taylor & Professor Jonathan Scourfield
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This project will focus on the conceptualisation, measurement and usefulness of asking children to evaluate their own lives.

There is growing international interest in the topic of self-reported well-being .  It has been argued that people’s own accounts of their well-being should be a key policy concern for governments.

But most of the research on this topic has focused on adults and relatively little is known about how children feel about their lives.  This research project will focus on the self-reported well-being of children aged 8 to 12.

It will seek to answer three key questions:

  1. Concepts: To what extent do the theoretical frameworks of adults’ self-reported well-being apply to children, and what modifications might be needed?
  2. Measures: Is it possible to develop valid and reliable measures of children’s self-reported well-being?
  3. Usefulness: Are measures of children’s self-reported well-being of practical and policy value in terms of identifying ways to improve children’s lives?

Roberts, Christopher

Christopher Roberts
Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Identity and Citizenship Education in Welsh Schools
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Peter Hemming and Kevin Smith
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Aim: To explore how secondary schools foster citizenship and identity in post-Brexit Wales

Research objectives:

  1. To explore how schools and stakeholders construct, enact, promote and balance their commitments to cultural and global/cosmopolitan notions of citizenship and identity.
  2. To investigate how young people experience, understand and negotiate these notions of citizenship and identity.
  3. To consider how factors such as language, Welshness of place and social class relate to these notions of citizenship and identity.

This project will adopt ethnographic methods in three schools in Wales.

Samuel, Suzanne

Suzanne Samuel
Start date:
October 2012
Research Topic:
Adult Community Learning participation and involvement in schooling
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof David James and Prof Gareth Rees
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship
External Sponsor:
WEA South Wales

In the light of research suggesting a causal relationship between parental involvement in schools and the attainment of young people, this project will examine whether participation in adult community learning has links with the nature and extent of parental or familial involvement in schooling. It will be focused on areas of social disadvantage and will look at the experiences of family members, young people and teachers. It is envisaged that the outcomes will include a tangible contribution to policy and practice. This studentship includes collaborative funding and in-kind support from the Worker’s Educational Association (WEA South Wales) and WISERD (The Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods).

Smith, Phil

Phil Smith
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
A View from a PRU: Daily practices and routines from within a pupil referral unit
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Professor Andrew Pithouse, Dr Mark Connolly
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research is being carried out within a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), a form of Education Other Than School (EOTAS).  I am interested in understanding how staff make sense of their own occupational roles, and what good practice means to them within their daily routines.  My broad research questions focus on the types of occupational identities that exist in PRUs, and how work is carried in order to meet both the policy requirements and the needs of the young people.

I have an interest and experience of using ethnographic methods and participatory methods with young people.

Selected recent publications

Evans, R., Brown, R., Rees, G., and Smith, P.  (2017) Systematic review of educational interventions for looked-after children and young people:  Recommendations for intervention development and evaluation,  British Educational Research Journal, 43(1), 68-94. Can be accessed at:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/berj.3252/full

 

Stein, Verena

Verena Stein
Start date:
October 2017
Research Topic:
Social and pedagogical aspects of mindfulness training a discourse analysis
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Steven Stanley and Carina Girvan
Supervising school:
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Mindfulness trainings, whilst still a relatively new phenomenon, are entering mainstream society from a previously medical setting at a fast pace. Contributing to this surge in popularity is a large body of scientific evidence that proves a positive effect of mindfulness on the human brain, mind and body. The UK Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG) even lobbied for the inclusion of mindfulness-based approaches to address the current mental health crisis. With this expansion comes an increased demand for highly qualified mindfulness teachers within the UK. However, despite the growing interest in mindfulness, mindfulness education and its wider implications for its participants and society at large remain mostly unstudied.

The suggested research would provide much needed social science groundwork into the pedagogy of mindfulness education. A direct impact of this study could be the provision of an empirical base which would inform teacher training for mindfulness teachers and ensure high quality standards. A more indirect impact could be the potential to inform the development of trainings for psychotherapists, school teachers, or within work settings.

Turney, Catt

Catt Turney
Start date:
January 2016
Research Topic:
How does the transition to secondary school shape young people’s mental health and wellbeing? Informing the development of a theoretically-driven intervention
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof Simon Murphy and Dr Dawn Mannay
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This project will use a mixed-methods approach to explore young people’s experiences of the transition from primary to secondary school, and their mental health and wellbeing during this time. The research will address the following principal research questions:

  • How does the transition to secondary school shape young people’s mental health and wellbeing in positive and negative ways, and how does this vary according to school context and socio-demographic factors?
  • What intervention methods offer the greatest potential to improve mental health and wellbeing during this transition?

This research will support the development of new theory on relationships between the school transition and young people’s mental health, and contribute to the development of new, theoretically-informed interventions to promote more positive mental health during this key period in the life-course.

Wilson, Annabel

Annabel Wilson
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Being ‘mixed race’ across space and time: exploring young people’s journeys through mixedness as they transition into adulthood
Research pathway:
Research Supervisor:
Prof David James and Prof Amanda Coffey
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The experiences of ‘mixed race’ young people in Britain are under-researched within the social sciences (Song, 2010) and there continues to be a need for research that adopts an intersectional approach which highlights the unique experiences and challenges faced by different ‘mixed race’ ethnic groups. In hope of addressing these issues my PhD aims to investigate how social structures of ‘race’, class and gender affect the lived experiences of ‘mixed race’ young people – of Black Caribbean and white British descent – as they transition into adulthood. As a researcher, I am dedicated to exposing the relationship between personal troubles and public issues. The public issue I am grappling with in this work is how limited racial categorisations lead to the stigmatisation of ‘mixed race’ people and their families (Banks, 1998; Ifekwunigwe, 2001). In a world that conceives of race in binary terms of ‘Black and white’ (Gines, 2014), racializes class privilege as a ‘white experience’ (Rollock, 2015) and through further racialisation eroticises gender (Crenshaw, 1989), ‘mixed race’ people must form identities whilst navigating limited categorises which attempt to define them and shape how they (and their actions) are interpreted others.  When people look upon ‘mixed race’ people, through their racial gaze, they may become confused – wondering what type of person are they? Are you Black? White? Something other? The numerous possibilities of heritage and questions of belonging provoked by and concealed within the ‘mixed race’ body makes it ambiguous (Ifekwunigwe, 2001). This is a vulnerable position to occupy as it is one that constantly shifts across time and space. This shift does not occur – at least not in the first instance – in the mind of the individual, but in the minds of others. Despite this, it is the person of mixed heritage that must respond and develop their sense of self in relation to every changing perceptions others hold of them. This process – known as racialisation – is a public issue. This, alongside other processes of classification determine, in part, the social position – of ‘mixed race’ people. Through exploring the personal (private) biographies of my participants, their families and friends I investigate how the role of the social position occupied by these ‘mixed race’ young people impacts upon their life experiences. I am interested in these individual’s respondes to the process of racialisation they have been exposed to, how their responses have changed across space and time and the extent to which the different reactions/strategies they adopt are shaped by family, upbringing, time in education & social networks.

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,
  • inclusion,
  • 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.