School of Education Doctoral Students

“Studying a doctoral programme has enabled me to examine education more fully from political, philosophical and cultural perspectives. I have been extremely well supported by tutors, their advice and guidance has enabled me to set and achieve goals. Tutor-led Skype forums, regular individual tutorials and written feedback, highly enjoyable and stimulating study schools, student participatory sessions for sharing research, and an emphasis by tutors on listening and responding to students’ needs are just some of the ways I have been supported.”

Kathleen Taylor, Doctoral student

A significant focus for the School of Education is doctoral research, with between 70 and 80 students enrolled at any one time, undertaking research on a wide range of topics. All doctoral theses are available from the Library. Click here for a list of theses from the past ten years.


You can view a list of Doctoral Theses by former students on the School of Education Doctoral Theses page.


Headshot of Connor Hotson

Connor Hotson

As a leader within secondary education with experience teaching FE, HE and 14-16 provisions, my career has enabled to teach and support many students who are currently in the care of the local authority. I am impassioned about championing and advocating the education of Children in Care (CIC), and proud to be researching within this field to bring about positive change. My PhD study focuses upon the support that CIC and care leavers receive from FE providers to prepare them for the transition to adulthood.

Headshot of Zaaima Al Balushi

Zaaima Al Balushi

Exploring Omani Primary teachers’ perspectives and experiences of using real world connection in mathematics teaching practices.

This case study will investigate teachers’ views about the ways in which the curriculum is oriented to real-world connections and to study how these teachers use the real-world connections in their teaching practice. The study will be undertaken in three schools in Oman from different geographical area (City. Village, Island). Data collection will be collected using lesson observations and interviews with maths and science teachers who teach in cycle one schools (grade 1 to 4).

Anthony Kitchener

What is the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the education of student paramedics and their subsequent transition into registered practice?

As an educationalist who specialises in the development of paramedics, my research aims to look at the impact on newly qualified paramedics whose education has been shaped by the turbulence of the recent Covid-19 pandemic. It will use a case study-based approach following the lived experiences of a group of new paramedics, bringing together their perception of the impact as they start their careers in the emergency ambulance service, and as they transition from a novice beginner into becoming experienced clinicians.

Headshot of Denis Mulligan

Dennis Mulligan

To examine the use of collaborative lesson study in developing the inclusive classroom culture in primary mathematics.

I have been inspired by the merits of lesson study and how it deepens teachers mathematical understandings and develops a collaborative culture of trust and support among teachers. My research will focus on the use of lesson study to promote inclusion for all pupils in the context of primary mathematics.

Headshot of Nicki Walsh

Nicki Walsh

Diabetes CPD for Nurses working in UK General Practice: Value added Education? 

By using a constructivist grounded theory approach my study will attempt to understand the experiences of Nurse working in U.K. General Practice settings of existing opportunities for diabetes CPD and whether they consider that these meet the needs of their current practice requirements.

Headshot of Louise Tyson

Louise Tyson

Teaching Our Kids Terrorism: the incorporation of fundamental and extremist Islam into the Religious Education curriculum of England and Wales to increase religious literacy and decrease religious ignorance.

The composition of society has changed in recent years, predominantly white nations have fast become both multi-cultural and multi-ethnic. This diversity however, has in some cases resulted in societal tensions. To combat such difficulties, the government has implemented strategies to combat such tension; citing education as one of its methods. It is the premise of my research to consider how Religious Education (RE) can be used as a tool to ensure that religious literacy is prevalent across society, to ensure that events such as hate crime and discrimination do not occur as a result of religious ignorance. Recent research into RE has confirmed that the subject itself has not adapted to the current socio-political climate, and thus, the subject is in need of significant reform. Therefore, at this time there is scope to make suggestions for its aims, content and pedagogies. Thus I am interested in: how Islam is currently taught in RE; whether the teaching is meeting the government’s aims; and, whether the inclusion of particular Islamic concepts into the curriculum or utilising alternative pedagogies within the classroom will be more effective in the teaching of Islam as a means to reduce societal tensions.

Headshot of Mairead Holden

Mairead Holden

As a teacher educator, I am interested in how teachers can be supported to become agentic, that is, to act with competence, purpose, autonomy, and reflexivity to bring about positive change within their own practice. My research is focused on Lesson Study as a vehicle to enhance teacher agency and efficacy in science and mathematics amongst teachers who are involved in cross-border Shared Education partnerships between Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

Headshot of Nawel Hamane Nawel Hamane

Attitudinal study of the maintenance of Heritage language Teaching and learning: the case of Tamazight language in Algeria.

This study looks at the viewpoints of Algerians, from both ethnic groups Arab and Amazigh, towards Tamazight language education. By using an ethnographic case study, my mixed method research will explore the attitudes of headteachers, teachers of Tamazight, pupils, and their parents towards the teaching of Tamazight language in two schools of Oran one of the most important cities in Algeria. The findings will aid to acknowledge language planners, policy makers and education sector managers in Algeria of how people perceive Tamazight language teaching and learning, therefore, more suitable and practical curricular reforms can be performed.

Headshot of Nikki Pierce Nicki Pierce

Educational Low Attainment: Looking beyond the label to ensure equity in education.

The focus of my master’s dissertation was the gender attainment gap at GCSE in which I analysed the question: Is the difference between male and female achievement in the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) an issue that requires intervention? This research has led me to analyse the educational concept of low attainment at school. Who decides who is a low attainer and why do we use such labels to categorise students? What damage do we cause to students when we label them as such, and how can we combat this to make education more inclusive and equitable for all?


Headshot of Miriam Walsh Miriam Walsh

I am currently working as a teacher educator in mathematics and STEM in primary education. My research focuses on the implementation of mathematical modelling as a pedagogy to enable learners to use mathematics to understand the wider world and engage in complex problem-solving. A case study of five teachers is documented, highlighting their journey of engaging with mathematical modelling for the first time and implementing it in their classroom. Teacher competencies, including challenges and successes of implementing mathematical modelling in the classroom, are explored. The research also discusses the benefit of teachers engaging in relevant literature in professional development.  Action Research (Mc Niff, 2022) and the Teaching for Robust Understanding (TRU) Framework (Schoenfeld, 2015) are key aspects of the research and play a central role in teacher reflection.


Headshot of Marina Constantinou Marina Constantinou 

Science Practical Work in Tertiary Education 

I am interested in exploring the value of science practical work, in terms of effectiveness and affective value, in tertiary education focusing on Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The aim of this study is to shed light on current practical practices in the teaching of sciences so as to benefit undergraduate students and future scientists in utilising the best knowledge resources so as to further their knowledge in the field.


Headshot of Luke Smith Luke Smith

Examining cultural capital accumulation in Early Years Education using participatory methods: listening to children’s stories. 

Using participatory methods to unearth the experiences and perspectives of young children as 'experts in their own lives', the study looks to examine equality in education through the lens of cultural capital transmission and accumulation at Early Years Education settings, following the theory's inclusion in the latest (2019) revision of Ofsted's Education Inspection Framework.


Headshot of Vikki Kember Vikki Kember 

Are opportunities for participation in physical activity being overlooked within Further Education by policy makers? 

Following several years teaching within Further Education (FE) it has become increasingly apparent opportunity for learners to participate and engage within physical activity is inadequate. I am hoping through research to identify limitations of progress and support for physical activity participation within FE from Policy makers. Whilst the role of physical activity within education is well understood alongside benefits identified, this research aims to identify substantial need for physical activity offerings within FE and acknowledgement of the crucial impact this would have.


Headshot of Toby Mountain Toby Mountain

My research intends to explore the impact of active learning methods on international student engagement and progression. With a focus on Egyptian students studying at a UK university branch campus in Cairo, my research aims to identify the extent to which active learning is embedded as a teaching method for academics and students. I hope to identify any barriers preventing the use of active learning and the perception of benefits and drawbacks of active learning as opposed to more traditional teaching methods, for the international student experience.