School of Education Doctoral Students

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“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 HERE.


G Bufalino

Giambattista Bufalino

Distributed Leadership in Middle Management: a Comparative Study in the Private and Public Sectors in Malta

This comparison of distributed leadership theories and practices within Malta’s public and private sectors, focuses on one specific layer of leadership, middle management. This is apposite as Maltese contemporary secondary education reforms are creating decentralised school systems and distributed leadership within Colleges. Similarly, in the private business sector, particularly in newer industries such as I-gaming, new organisational models are being tried including leadership at lower levels. This research will add to the very few Maltese middle management studies and internationally to rarely researched comparisons of state and private sector leadership. Findings should also inform professional development for middle managers.

S Gyamfi

Stephen Adu Gyamfi

Pre-service Teacher Education in Ghana: Developing Information and Communication Technology for the Global Economy

My doctoral thesis is an empirical study of pre-service teacher education in Ghana, and more especially the acceptance and use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), in teacher training education in Ghana. On the basis of my field work and data analysis, my thesis will provide some very useful policy recommendations about how to increase the use of ICT in teaching and learning within the teacher education sector in Ghana. In the medium term, it is envisaged that my thesis will lead to more widespread use of these technologies in teacher education; in the long term, as teachers are better trained at using new technologies, they will also make better and more widespread use of them in the classroom.

S Zainuddin

Suhaiza Zainuddin

An Investigation into the Effectiveness of Practical Work in Achieving Curriculum Objectives in Engineering Studies for Secondary Education 

The aim of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of practical work in achieving curriculum objectives for engineering education in secondary schools and to acknowledge the international perspective of the effectiveness of practical work in achieving curriculum objectives for engineering education. This will be conducted by evaluating the practical work element in the Mechanical Engineering Studies (MES) curriculum in Malaysia through mixed methods analysis through case study and in conjunction with verifying previous research findings on engineering education worldwide through meta-analysis. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

J Wadsworth James Wadsworth

Creativity as an employability skill in HE

As an educator who’s worked in and with subject areas with strong vocational links, my interest in providing education that best prepares our students for the world of work has been instilled for many years. Providing the subject specific skills needed by employers and industry is a relatively straight forward task; fostering the generic, personal traits that turns a good student in to a good employee…that’s a different matter, particularly if you don’t know what employers want in that respect. So, by researching creativity in an employability context, I’m hoping to identify the perceptions of creativity from a student, academic and employer perspective and then, endeavour to make the teaching of creativity more meaningful and tangible so as to better equip our graduates for the challenges of the world of work.


K Pinn Keith Pinn 

Transnational Higher Education (TNE) 

My research aim is to explore, in-depth, perceptions and experiences of host students on their TNE journey whilst undertaking UK franchised programmes in Malaysia. As Hoare (2012, 272) stated about TNE students “We know little about their preferences, even less about the outcomes that they attribute to their TNE experience and nothing in any depth about their longer-term career and life trajectories”. The methodology to be employed will be that of qualitative research drawing on host student focus groups, and host and sending institutions individual staff interviews. Thematic analysis will be used to analyse the data collected.


M 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.


S Fitzgerald Siobhan Keenan Fitzgerald 

Public Speaking in Primary School 

I will be carrying out Action Research in my own school setting to investigate the impact of Public Speaking training on children's confidence and vocabulary development. I will also collect data from teachers by way of surveys and interviews.


T Curran Tracy Curran 

Theory driven evaluation of Lesson Study 

My research aims to evaluate the impact of Lesson Study as a model of professional development to support the enactment of the new Irish Primary Mathematics Curriculum. My research design will adopt a theory driven approach to determine if Lesson Study is effective (or not) and how and why this may be the case. In doing so, this research aims to contribute evidence and theory to the literature informing policy and practice during a critical period of curriculum reform in Ireland.


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.