A selection of our completed research projects A selection of our completed research projects

What impact does counselling have on the student experience and student retention at UEA?

(UEA Teaching Fellowship project, 2012-13)
Kathleen Lane and Judy Moore were awarded a UEA Teaching Fellowship to investigate the impact made by counselling on undergraduate retention and the student experience at UEA.  Quantitative and qualitative methodologies were employed:  the former included the processing of clinical outcomes measures and evaluation questionnaires gathered by Judy since 2009; the latter included interviews with undergraduates who had finished a course of counselling in order to explore what counselling has meant to them in terms of their decisions about completing their course at UEA.  
The data was also contextualised with findings from a study that Kathleen co-authored (2011) on barriers to retention experienced by undergraduates at UEA.  Their study contributes towards building a body of much-needed evidence on the impact of counselling on the student experience in higher education.  The six-month project ran from February to July 2012.  A second phase from August 2012 to March 2013 explored in greater depth the impact of counselling with HUM, including a distinct dimension on what processes and structures within Schools in HUM help to support undergraduates. Kathleen and Judy published a short report of findings from Phase 1 in November 2012 in the quarterly journal published by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.  They aim to publish the main findings from Phase II of the study later this year.

Language and academic study in a second language: what does IELTS 6.5 mean and how can we improve the experience and engagement of international Masters students in the Faculty of Social Science?  

(UEA Teaching Fellowship project, 2012-13)
Anna Magyar and Anna Robinson-Pant were awarded a Teaching Fellowship to investigate and generate better understanding amongst UEA staff about what the International English Language Test (IELTS) scores really mean, and to explore the implications of these findings for international students making the transition to academic study at Masters level. 
This study explored comparatively, through interviews and some observation, the language experiences, strategies and difficulties of two distinct groups of international students at UEA: so-called ‘direct entry' students who arrive to study a Masters course, having already met the language requirements of the course they have applied to, and those who arrive in the UK in order to participate in a pre-sessional course at INTO which will bring them up to the required language level. It also built on a report about the IELTS test written by Anna Magyar, which was based on interviews with language teachers in INTO and a literature review of research related to the IELTS. The methodology drew on the approach and findings of the previous Teaching Fellowship research project that Anna M and Anna RP conducted with international students, which gave insights into the cultural and linguistic issues that they faced on entering a UEA doctoral programme.
The project ran from March 2012 to June 2013 and involved workshops with staff directing Masters courses across UEA, to examine the implications of the research for current MA level provision and teaching, learning and assessment approaches.  The final workshop in June 2013 also brought together staff from INTO and from SSF Masters courses to develop recommendations for enhancing practice.

Archive of Policy-oriented case study-based evaluation and research

The ‘Archive of Educational Evaluations' was originally developed by CARET (University of Cambridge) under Patrick Carmichael's direction and CARE (John Elliott and David Bridges, Co-Applicants, and Kathleen Lane) with ESRC funding under the QUADS Initiative. The Archive was developed on behalf of the Cambridge Conference on Educational Evaluation that CARE convened for many years and which last met in 2004. It consists of significant CARE projects and others led by CARE Associates in the US and UK, such as Robert Stake and Ian Stronach. Patrick writes that the archive of the work of members of the Cambridge Conference on Evaluation, ‘has now been significantly upgraded, drawing on the technology developments of the Ensemble project' (again funded by the ESRC).  Amongst the developments is ‘the linking of video excerpts in which the content of interviews is linked to related documents and other resources'. The archive has yet to receive a further upgrade but can be accessed by CARE/EDU staff for teaching, supervision and research purposes at: http://www.ensemble.ac.uk/projects/edeval/.

Evaluation of parenting classes

(funded by Montessori St Nicholas, April 2012 – 31st March 2013)
Teresa Belton and Kathleen Lane evaluated parenting classes run by Montessori St Nicholas in the London Borough of Camden, which were part of the Department of Education's ‘CANparent' initiative to trial universal parenting classes. They conducted observations, held focus groups, and interviewed parents who took part in five courses between summer 2012 and early spring 2013.
Professional Culture Conflicts: Change Issues in Public Service Delivery (CUE East-funded project, 2012-13)
John Elliott, Christine, O'Hanlon, Ben Higham and Tony Brown recently published the results of this CUE East-funded project. 
‘Professional Culture Conflicts' was set up to develop a clearer understanding of the cultural and operational issues posed by recent changes.  It revealed that while new government policy appears to offer greater freedom and autonomy to professionals, in practice there has been an erosion of confidence among those on the front line, with many of the most experienced staff being shed as part of the public sector economy drive.  Recommendations include a new training approach geared towards flexibility and resilience, to maintain motivation in this challenging environment.  The report also underlines the need for a more honest dialogue between policymakers and practitioners to achieve a greater sense of shared purpose.  The research is based on interviews with a small number senior public service professionals, followed by a wider colloquium to discuss the concerns raised.  Respondents revealed that ideology seems a substitute for argument when policy is being constructed, and that there is a corresponding lack of respect for the policy-making process. 

Boredom and creativity

Following their earlier publication of a cross-disciplinary review of boredom and schooling, Teresa Belton and Esther Priyadharshini undertook a small interview study of four well-known professional figures who had publicly stated that they found that boredom is beneficial for their creativity: Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry, writer and actress Meera Syal, neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield, and poet Felix Dennis.  The findings of these interviews, in addition to those of Teresa's much earlier doctoral research into the influence of television and videos on 10-12 year-old children's story-making, informed a piece published on the BBC news website on 23rd March 2013 by education reporter Hannah Richardson, under the title, ‘Children should allowed to get bored, expert says'.  The piece was the most shared item on the BBC news website for three consecutive days, attracting 353 comments from readers, and interest from other media sources in the UK and abroad.  It resulted in invitations to Teresa to speak at the 2013 Media Evolution conference, Power, Disruption and Lies, in Malmö, Sweden, and TEDx Teddington 2013, the theme for which was Curiosity, Hope, Wonder.

Peer review and evaluation: enhancing reflective abilities of trainee teachers 

(2011 UEA Teaching Fellowship)
Investigators: Penny Lamb, Kathleen Lane and David Aldous.
The main purpose of this Teaching Fellowship was to extend provision within Initial Teacher Education (ITE) for developing reflective practitioners. 


The Role of E-mentoring by university students in raising academic and sporting aspirations of Gifted and Talented pupils within the context of Physical Education & Sport 

(2011 UEA Outreach Opportunity Grant)
Investigators: Penny Lamb and Dave Aldous.
The aim of this UEA Outreach study was to develop an E-mentoring program that provided secondary school G&T pupils with an opportunity to be supported by higher education physical education undergraduates, whilst drawing upon the work of Bernstein (1990) in understanding in the construction, transmission and acquisition of practices and discourses between students and pupils. 

Widening Horizons: A project funded by UEA's outreach 

Opportunities Fund to understand the facilitators and impediments to accessing HE/FE amongst Central and Eastern European migrant school students in North Norfolk. PIs - Esther Priyadharshini & Jackie Watson.
Paper published: Priyadharshini., & Watson, J., "Between aspiration and achievement: Agency and structure in young migrant lives", Power and Education, Special Issue on Migration & Education, pp. 150-161, Vol 4, Issue 2, 2012
Provision for Talented Key Stage 4 pupils in Physical Education: a case study of schools in a Norfolk Excellence Cluster 
(2010 commissioned by Aim Higher)
Investigators: Penny Lamb, Jan Watson and Kathleen Lane
This small-scale study investigated both actual and perceived benefits of the provision for and development of talented Key Stage (KS) 4 pupils in Physical Education (PE) and Dance.  Data was collected from four secondary schools within the Partnership of East Norfolk Schools (PENS), in order to explore the extent to which the PE Gifted and Talented (G&T) programme had impacted on the identity, motivation, aspiration levels and academic progress of pupils identified as talented.  

Addressing the needs of first year international research students and their supervisors: an academic literacies approach

(UEA Teaching Fellowship and CSED funding, 2009-10)
In 2010, Anna Magyar and Anna Robinson-Pant developed materials based on research with doctoral students (as part of an earlier UEA teaching fellowship) to facilitate discussion and critical reflection about intercultural learning and academic literacies within PhD courses. This research has fed directly into training sessions for supervisors across the university. They also presented on this research at other UK universities and internationalisation networks during 2010-11 and have explored the theoretical implications in an article: 
Magyar, A. and A. Robinson-Pant (2011) Internationalising doctoral research: developing theoretical perspectives on practice, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp 663-677
As part of the project, a DVD was planned and developed with doctoral students from across UEA (many of whom feature in the film): International Research Students: reflections on PhD supervision. The DVD has a double purpose in terms of introducing new doctoral students to UEA supervision and research practices (through the students' perspectives on their experiences), and it can be used as a training resource for doctoral supervisors. The DVD is divided into nine separate sections addressing key issues and questions raised by the group of doctoral students who were involved in the project. These themes included: expectations of supervisor and supervisee; differences in academic research cultures; researching and communicating across cultures, disciplines and methodologies; and researching and writing in a second language.
A resource booklet was also produced to accompany the DVD, which incorporates other data from the research project and introduces supporting activities for training sessions. International students involved in the project have also produced two DVDs to introduce new doctoral students to the practical issues around living and working at UEA that they encountered in their first few weeks. These DVDs have been produced in collaboration with the Student Support Service and will be available to international students before they arrive. The DVD about doctoral supervision and resource booklet are available for £10 (contact D.Corby@uea.ac.uk).

Investigation of behaviour management strategies for the Lowestoft partnership of schools 

A study of behaviour management strategies across the partnership in order to develop a better understanding of such practices between schools and encourage some consistency in the treatment of pupils as they pass through the various levels.  Suffolk County Council. PI - Esther Priyadharshini
Priyadharshini, E., ‘Counter-narratives in ‘naughty' students' accounts: Challenges for the discourse of behaviour management', Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, pp 113-129, Vol 32, Issue 1, 2011.
Priyadharshini, E., "Thinking with Trickster: Sporadic illuminations for educational research", Cambridge Journal of Education, pp. 547-561, Volume 42, Issue 4, 2012.

The Digital Archive Project

(2005 - 2006)
Under the leadership of Professor Barry MacDonald in CARE this International Standing Conference was established to forge new directions for Educational Programme Evaluation. The core membership was drawn from CARE and CIRCE at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne. The conference meets every few years and has had a major impact on the development of programme evaluation methodology.
Practical examples of evaluations carried out by members of the Cambridge Conference can be accessed and explored by researchers and post-graduate students through a digital archive, employing sophisticated semantic technologies funded by the ESRC as part of its QUALIDATA initiative. This was a joint project led by Professor Patrick Carmichael with Professors Elliott and Bridges as Co-applicants and based in CARET (University of Cambridge) and CARE.

TEACH (Training, Education and Action for Coping at Home)

An ethnographic study of stroke services in Norwich Community Hospital. The aim was to understand the admissions & discharge processes from the point of the patients and professionals involved to deliver a more effective service and educational programme. This was a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project undertaken by Prof. Rob Walker, Dr. Esther Priyadharshini & Mr. Christian Blickem.
Blickem, C., & Priyadharshini, E., 'Patient narratives: The potential for 'patient-centred' interprofessional education?', Journal of Interprofessional Care, pp. 1-14, Vol. 21, Issue 6, Dec 2007.

Attendance research 

A research project undertaken for the LEA to understand poor attendance and truancy among Year 11 students in Park High School, King's Lynn. The project was meant to understand student perspectives of truancy and used students as co-researchers.Norfolk County Council, PI - Esther Priyadharshini.

Progressive and Innovative Primary Schools (PIPS)


The PIPS project, based at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, was approved by the Quality Education Fund of Hong Kong in September 2001 for a three year period.

A 21st century Learning Requirement for Police Probationer training 

Professor John Elliott led extensive research into Police Probationer training, culminating in a radical new Learning Requirement that was adopted by the Home Office and made obligatory in police forces across England and Wales.
The research established basic guiding principles for the elaboration of up-to-date police probationer training, bridging the gap between police and community in a rapidly changing society of cultural diversity.
It emphasised the development of an understanding of and engagement with increasingly complex local communities, alongside enforcing the law, following police procedures, and upholding professional standards.
A copy of the Learning Requirement was sent to every police force and it was also posted online, where it remains.