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Research

Educational Research at Brunel: Making a difference in research, policy and practice

The academic members of staff in the Department of Education conduct research on a range of topics within the field of education, covering school education, vocational, professional and higher education, and adult education and lifelong learning. Informed by a range of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, including philosophy, sociology and educational theory, the research contributes to national and international discussions and developments in educational research, and makes a significant impact on education policy and practice, in the UK and further afield.

Our research focuses on two areas in particular. One has to do with education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; the other with pedagogy, policy and professional education, including the education of teachers. These are also the foci of our two research groups:

Both groups share an interest in the ways in which education can be a positive force in the promotion of inclusion and social justice.

Our research has been funded by UK research councils, major charities, and other organisations, including:-


  • Barclays
  • British Academy
  • Brunel University
  • EARLI (the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction)
  • Economic and Social Research Council
  • ESREA (the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults)
  • European Commission
  • HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Council for England)
  • Higher Education Association
  • The Money Advice Service
  • Open Society Foundation
  • SRHE (the Society for Research in Higher Education)

We publish our research nationally and internationally in books, academic and professional journals, edited collections, and social media, and through contributions to radio and TV. Many colleagues present regularly at national and international academic and professional conferences, and give seminars and lectures at universities, colleges and schools in the UK and abroad. We work pro-actively with schools and teachers, locally, nationally and abroad, and contribute to intelligent and research-informed policy making in the UK and elsewhere. Several colleagues are (associate) editors of leading journals, including Educational Theory (Gert Biesta) and the Journal of Philosophy of Education (David Aldridge), and many colleagues sit on the editorial boards of journals and book-series.

We have about 35 part-time and full-time doctoral students on our PhD and EdD programmes. They come from many different countries and pursue important research projects, closely aligned to their professional and intellectual interest and our own research expertise and ambitions.

Our research and publications focus particularly on the following areas and topics:-

  • The learning of science, inquiry based teaching, the role of feelings and emotions in learning, and classroom technologies.  (Professor Mike Watts)
  • Teaching, teachers, curriculum, citizenship and democracy.  (Professor Gert Biesta)
  • The narratives of male and female headteachers and on oracy in the primary classroom. 
    (Dr Deborah Jones)
  • Humanistic and ethical concerns in education and the philosophy of educational research
    (Dr David Aldridge)
  • The theoretical condition of higher education with particular reference to comparative historical analysis. (Dr Ourania Fillipakou)
  • The connections between creativity and criticality. (Dr Andrew Green)
  • Education, training, welfare-to-work, family, parenting and care, embodiment, body work and emotional labour. (Dr Emma Wainwright)
  • Exploring the digital narratives of young people; including digital games, digital transgression (trolls, Pro-Ana) and Dark Fantasy.  (Dr Nic Crowe)
  • The pedagogy of teacher education and particularly the use of teachers’ narratives and video technology. (Dr Cathy Gower)
  • Mathematics subject knowledge for teaching, the use of talk in mathematics classrooms and pupils' number sense.  (Dr Gwen Ineson)
  • Critical notions of multiculturalism, and how young children's cultural and linguistic identities are nurtured in schools.  (Dr Geeta Ludhra)
  • Reflective practice for professional development in teacher education, including social justice and equity, policy development, implementation and analysis, and research capturing children and young people’s worldview and voice. (Dr Paula Zwozdiak-Myers)
  • Education, policy and professional formation, including resistance and survival, auto/biographical methodologies, and ethical exploration. (Dr Anne Chappell)
  • Various aspects of inclusion in STEM, with an especial focus on intellectual disability. (Dr Jane Essex)
  • Learning technologies, mathematic and mathematics teacher education, and engineering education. (Dr Sarmin Hossain)
  •  Mathematics education and teacher education.  (Balbir Kaur)
  • How children and young people learn in science, including assessment and inquiry-based approaches in science education, and science teachers' professional learning. (Helen Gourlay)
  • Talent development, mathematics Education, tackling disadvantage and social mobility and educational interventions. (Professor Valsa Koshy)

College Research Centres

The College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences hosts two research centres:

These centres promote international, interdisciplinary and high impact research by acting as key points of contact between academics, practitioners and the wider community.

Related PhD courses