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Education Research Degrees

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Embark on your journey of intellectual growth. Ignite your curiosity and create a lasting impact through educational research.

At Chichester, we are proud of the wide range of important educational topics that we research, across all age groups. As well as publishing this work in books and academic papers, we use it in our own teaching and supervision to ensure that our students have the best possible experience with us.

Our research students also benefit from links with our wide-ranging partnership of schools, including the University Ƶ Academy Trust.

Explore our staff expertise and interests below. We welcome approaches and conversations about potential research degree projects.

For more general enquiries, please contact us at: education@chi.ac.uk


Our Supervisors

Browse our staff profiles to explore our research specialisms

Dr Barbara Thompson

Reader in Education and Gender

I have a long-term interest in gender issues both in school and more recently in gender, leadership and management in Higher Education.

I would welcome applications from prospective doctoral students who wish to research issues relating to gender, inclusion, education and leadership.

Dr Chris Shelton

Co-Director of the Institute of Education and Social Studies, Reader in Education

My range of research interests include teachers’ thinking about technology in higher education; the pedagogy of teaching computing in schools; STEM education; teacher beliefs and knowledge about technology; educational leadership & policy; and the curriculum.

I would be interested in supervising doctoral students who wish to research the use of technology in schools or universities or the teaching of computing in schools.

Dr Debbie Hickman

Senior Lecturer in Education; Secondary PGCE English Co-ordinator

My research interests include pedagogy and practice in secondary English teaching; reading, reader identity and reading spaces; participatory research methods; and teacher professionalism.

My doctorate explored secondary school pupils’ and teachers’ perceptions of reading and reader identity and the dissonance between lived and school reading experiences.

I would be interested in supervising doctoral students who wish to research reading and readers; the secondary English curriculum, pedagogy, practice and experience in the secondary context; the role of reflection in teacher professionalism and continuing professional development.

Dr Deborah Wilkinson

Primary PGCE Co-ordinator

I am interested in how collaborative action research can support changes in teaching practices in primary science. My doctorate explored how a collaborative action research approach changed questioning approaches to support children’s learning of substantive and disciplinary knowledge.

I am also interested in how teachers can build science capital so that all learners are engaged in primary science.

I welcome applications from prospective doctoral students who wish to research primary science pedagogy and curriculum development.

Professor Duncan Reavey

Professor of Environmental Education

I am interested in innovations in Higher Education learning and leaching, in particular 'Adaptive teaching, Group Work and Problem-Based Learning', Environmental Education, Indigenous Knowledge and Science Education, the Impact of Adventure Activities on the Environment, and the Ecology of Eland.

I welcome approaches from prospective doctoral students who wish to research how the outdoor environment supports learners’ cognitive and emotional development.

Dr Francisco J. Melara Gutierrez

Senior Lecturer in Education

My academic background is in Quality Education, Bilingual Education, Teacher Education, and Educational Psychology. My current research focuses on improving the quality of bilingual education through the professional development of teachers based on their perceived needs, measured against research-based indicators of effective teaching.

I am interested in supervising projects in the following areas: Teacher-Student Interactions and their impact on the learner's cognitive and socio-emotional development; Multilingual and Multicultural Education; Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL); International Education; International Comparative Education; Teacher Education; Professional Development.

Dr Glenn Stone

Principal Lecturer and Head of Primary Teacher Education

I am interested in professionalism in education, including school organisation, personal value systems, initial teacher education, the professional development of teachers and conceptions of professionalism in the public sector. My previous research covers these areas and I have examined PhDs involving employees navigating public sector institution values.

I am a qualified PhD supervisor at the University Ƶ and happy to receive new students who wish to study aspects of professionalism, values in education, professional development and organisational structures in the public sector.

Dr Josie Maitland

Lecturer in Education, Special Needs and Disabilities

My research has focused on ‘whole school’ and ‘whole system’ approaches to promoting mental health and wellbeing, challenging inequality and creative approaches to teaching and learning. I am currently supervising doctoral research in the following areas...

co-producing a personalised curriculum for learners with complex needs, exploring new approaches to fostering belonging and preventing exclusion for children with social, emotional and mental health needs, and systemic approaches to building resilience to prevent exclusion.

I welcome applications from prospective doctoral students who are interested in research in the context of inclusive education and special needs, creativity, arts and play in education, education and social justice, and wellbeing mental health and resilience in education. I am also interested in projects employing co-productive and inclusive research methods.

Dr Linda Cooper

Education Studies degree Co-ordinator

My PhD thesis investigated Meetings in Minecraft: opportunities for a collaborative and creative talk using an immersive learning environment. My research interests include educational technology, effective teaching and learning in the history curriculum and early years care and education.

I welcome applications from prospective doctoral students who wish to research history pedagogy, technology and curriculum development

Dr Sue Bentham, CPsychol

Coordinator of Masters Provision in Education

My doctoral research focused on how teachers and teaching assistants can work together to engage disengaged students in secondary schools. I have a keen interest in the fields of motivation, wellbeing, and collaborative relationships between teachers and teaching assistants. My current work is exploring the use of motivational profiles in educational settings.

I am currently Director of Studies for students researching aspects of special needs, issues of exclusion, the way Pupil Premium-eligible students perceive their daily experiences of secondary education, promoting ‘self-explanation’ in lesson design and teachers’ perceptions of teaching about gender identity in the classroom.

Dr Susannah Smith

Senior Lecturer in Primary Education

My primary research interest is the teaching and learning of English in the early years and primary school curriculum, with previous work focussing on the impact of gender and sociocultural influences on children's reading. From a methodological perspective, I am interested in the ways in which children’s voices can be heard in research, and in post-structural feminist discourse and methodologies.

Additionally, I have investigated the teaching of values and virtues in primary school, particularly through school assemblies.

I welcome applications from prospective doctoral students who wish to research aspects of English in schools, wellbeing or professional values.

Dr Tim Brinded

Senior Lecturer in Education; Secondary PGCE History Co-ordinator

I have a range of research interests, including pedagogy and practice in secondary History teaching and secondary teacher professionalism.

I would be interested in supervising doctoral students who wish to research History curricula and teaching; pedagogy, practice and experience in the secondary context; teacher professionalism and Continuing Professional Development.

Course Requirements

The standard requirement for an MPhil/PhD is a first or upper-second class honours degree and/or a relevant master’s degree. Candidates with other qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we particularly value non-standard applicants currently working in the education sector.

All students are interviewed by their potential supervisor(s) and a Research Degree Coordinator or nominated other.


Education Research

We have an active and thriving research culture focused into a number of different research laboratories across various subdisciplines.

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