Past Sessions

The Pedagogic Research Group meets every 6/8 weeks throughout the academic year. Details of previous sessions can be found below.

Click here to view list of future sessions.

Action Research and HE Pedagogy, June 2016

In this informal and interactive session Lin put forward a case for considering some benefits of carrying out action research in higher education (Norton 2009). She looked at potential pitfalls and showed how such an approach can serve multiple purposes including enhancing reflective practice, improving student learning, and engaging with CPD. Drawing on her own action research studies as well as some of the literature,  Lin went on to discuss how learning and teaching ‘issues’ can be used as a starting point for designing a robust pedagogical action research study. She suggested that pedagogical action research has the potential for engendering transformative change by linking to theory and questioning some widely held educational assumptions. Action research also has a more political agenda in seeking to change the status quo; Carr and Kemmis (2005) use the term ‘staying critical’.  Finally, Lin looked at the importance of dissemination through peer-reviewed journals, conferences and more locally within the university. 


Lin Norton is a psychologist by background and emeritus professor of pedagogical research at Liverpool Hope University. She is on the editorial board of the SEDA journal Innovations in Education and Teaching International.  During her time as Dean of Learning and Teaching , Lin developed pedagogical action research as a community of practice within Hope and was the founding editor of the in-house journal, PRIME (Pedagogical Research In Maximising Education) and organiser of three international Pedagogical Research in Higher Education (PRHE) conferences. This work was recognized nationally in 2007, when she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship.  Lin has written extensively on action research, including a book, several book chapters and journal articles. A detailed list of her publications can be found on her website:

Interim Findings from VCSEI projects, June 2016

In recent years there has been growing concern in the HE sector around student satisfaction, BME student attainment, retention and progression, academic misconduct and employability. 

Since November 2016, five teams of pedagogic researchers have been researching these issues through the University of Wolverhampton Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Excellence Initiative (VCSEI), funded by the Higher Education Academy.  Their challenge was to address the following questions:

a)      How can we increase student satisfaction, expressed in NSS section 1 ‘the teaching on my course’?

b)      How can we narrow the attainment gap between white and BME students

c)      How can we reduce the number of cases of academic misconduct for international student?

d)     How can we increase progression between levels 4 & 5 for mature students?

e)      What impact have the employability and WBL initiatives (across the university) had on student employment and/or their promotion?

Each team reported their findings in a series of short presentations.  Colleagues attending this session to heard about the latest research on these strategically important issues and engaged in discussion about the implications for HE Learning and Teaching. For more information about each project please visit the VC Strategic Excellence Project summaries on the COLT website.

Writing Pedagogic Papers for Publication, May 2016

In this Pedagogic Research Group session we focused on writing pedagogic papers for publication.  In the first part of the session, colleagues outlined individual writing / publishing plans.  These included papers that they in mind but have nothing in writing yet, first drafts of conference papers, final edits of accepted articles. It also included thesis writing for those doing EdDs and PhDs in Education.  The idea here was to plan what writing participants might achieve in the coming academic year and what support they would like from the Pedagogic Research Group to achieve their writing and publishing goals.  These plans will help us to work towards the next REF Unit of Assessment for Education.

In the second part of the session, Professor Ross W. Prior gave a succinct presentation entitled Writing for journals - an editor's perspective.  In this presentation, Ross advised us how to improve our article submissions to journals, giving a range of helpful tips from how to adhere to the journal house style through to how to respond to reviewer comments. As the Founding and Principal Editor of the Journal of Applied Arts and Health (Intellect Publishing), Ross shared his seven years of journal editing experience relating the most common problems and the mistakes made by even the most experienced academics. He gave practical advice on how to increase our chances of being published and how to make a good impression throughout the publication process.

Writing Pedagogic Papers for Publication (PDF 335K, Downloads file)


Professor Ross W. Prior

Professor Ross W. Prior, PhD is a teacher, author, academic, and former producer, performer, director, and casting/theatrical agent. He is Professor of Learning and Teaching in the arts in Higher Education here at the University of Wolverhampton. He is best known for his book Teaching Actors: knowledge transfer in actor training (Intellect & University of Chicago Press) and his work in applied arts and health as Founder Principal Editor of the Journal of Applied Arts and Health for seven years to date. He has a record of research surrounding learning and teaching within a range of educational and training settings.

Grounded Theory: A Reviewers Perspective, April 2016

Professor Christina Goulding took the example of grounded theory, a well established methodology within the social sciences.  She began with an overview of what grounded theory is and provided a summary of the key principals associated with its application. In particular, Christina suggested that grounded theorists should adopt a position in relation to the version of grounded theory they have used and why and how they have used that version. The second half of the presentation was based on a comparative analysis of  reviews of papers submitted to a number of leading journals which have featured grounded theory either as the main methodology or as part of a multi-method enquiry.  Based on this, Christina offered ten points that lead to rejection, or at least major revision of papers on methodological grounds.

Grounded Theory (Powerpoint 89k)


Christina Goulding is Professor of Marketing and Director of Research for the Marketing group at Birmingham Business School. Her research interests are two-fold. The first is consumer culture, ranging from cultural production and consumption (i.e. heritage and the arts), to non-mainstream sub-cultural consumption. She is particularly interested in issues of exclusion and marginalization as well as strategies of resistance and tactics for developing resilience. She has published her research in a number of leading journals including Journal of Consumer Research, Annals of Tourism Research, Psychology and Marketing, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research, and Consumption, Markets and Culture.

Her second area of interest is the development and application of qualitative research methodologies with a particular focus on Grounded Theory. She is the author of a book on grounded Theory published by SAGE and has published numerous articles in respected journals on the subject. She has been an invited speaker at a number of universities and has also run workshops for BAM and for cross disciplinary audiences . She is also interested in the development of arts based methodologies and is working with colleagues from Keele University and The New Vic Theatre on methodologies for supporting disadvantaged groups and survivors of natural disasters.

Christina is the Associate editor for qualitative research for the European Journal of Marketing and serves on the advisory board of Consumption, Markets and Culture. She is also on the editorial board of Journal of Consumer Research, Marketing Theory and the Journal of Consumer Behaviour.

What works - Student Retention and Success, February 2016

This workshop, led by Dr Mark Groves focused on student retention and success.  It focueds specifically on work carried out during the ‘What Works?’ Retention and Success Change Programme. The workshop gave a brief overview of the ‘What Works?’ programme and the impact that this programme has had in terms of student retention and success.

Specifically the ‘What Works?’ programme examined the process of unpacking student assessment briefs in order to help students understand more fully what they were required to do as part of their assessment.  This workshop considered how this was done within the Institute of Sport and also considered how the approach might be used by colleagues in other discipline areas across the University.

Contract Cheating, January 2016

This session explored the hot academic topic of contract cheating. Contract cheating is the academic misconduct behaviour where students pay third parties to complete assessed work on their behalf, usually facilitated through online web sites and services.

The talk explored recent examples of contract cheating collected from around the world, including the Australian cheating scandal of 2015, where pressure from the media has led to changes there in assessment and academic processes. Research examples were drawn from a database of over 25,000 observed attempts by students to outsource their assessments. The consequences of contract cheating were explored across a variety of academic disciplines including Computing and nursing. The talk concluded with discussion of practical steps that academics can use to reduce the potential for students to commit the offence of contract cheating.


Dr. Thomas Lancaster is a Senior Lecturer in Computing at Birmingham City University and is the Programme Leader for BSc Computer Science. Prior to joining Birmingham City University in 2003, Thomas worked as a Research Assistant at London South Bank University, examining the detection of plagiarism in student work, where he also completed his PhD entitled “Effective and Efficient Plagiarism Detection”. Thomas’ most recent research with his colleague Robert Clarke has concentrated on contract cheating, but has also covered wider areas of interest to learning and teaching, such as employability and student social media use. Thomas is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and regularly runs training workshops and research seminars on contract cheating. He was recently featured on a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary discussing the issue of contract cheating and he has made regular media appearances in relation to his research. More information about Thomas can be found at

Overview of successful VCSEIs projects, November 2015

The main focus of this meeting was to present and discuss the five successful Vice Chancellor’s Strategic Excellence Initiative projects (VCSEI).  Each Project team presented their project, focusing on the research questions, research design, challenges and planed outputs.  Teams had 15 minutes each to present and take questions. The following projects were presented:

  •  How can we increase student satisfaction, expressed in NSS section 1 ‘the teaching on my course’ Q1-5 (by 2% points for UoW) August 2017? (D Bannister, Z Brown et al.)
  •  How can we narrow the attainment gap between white and BME students by a further 5% by October 2016? (M Ayliffe et al.)
  •  How can we reduce the number of cases of academic misconduct for international student by 5% by October 2017? (C Bailey et al.)
  •  How can we increase progression between levels 4 & 5 for mature students by 5% by October 2017? (G Witton et al.)
  •  What impact have the employability and WBL initiatives (across the university) had on student employment and/or their promotion? (M Khechara et al.)

The session closed with an overview of the support that the Project Support Office can give to the Pedagogic Research Group in terms of seeking research funding, bid writing, managing projects, etc.