UoA 25 Education

Our distinctive social science approach to education research creates a strong and vibrant interdisciplinary culture, reflected in our joint 5th ranking in the UK and a GPA score of 3.30. Informing international policy debates on skills, employment and knowledge in the global economy and the award winning anti-smoking programme in UK schools are highlights of our research impact. A distinctive feature of this unit is that 100% of our research environment was rated as conducive to producing research of world-leading quality in terms of its vitality and sustainability.

Quality level 4 3 2 1 UC
Overall 48.0% 36.0% 14.0% 2.0% 0.0%
Outputs 32.1% 43.5% 20.6% 3.8% 0.0%
Impact 60.0% 40.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Environment 100.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
About the REF

Cardiff University's distinctive approach to education research is to locate it firmly within the social sciences.

In RAE 2008, education research was entered to the sociology sub-panel. That submission confirmed the School of Social Science's standing as one of the highest quality centres for social science research in the UK.

Since 2008, the School's education research programme has demonstrated strong growth. It has built a sustainable mass of over 200 staff and has been awarded 236 research grants of £38M during the assessment period.

Our success in developing education research is reflected in:

  • the development of our methodological expertise - with funding from ESRC and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales we established WISERD (Welsh Institute for Social and Economic Research Data and Method), building on the methodological innovations of QUALITI (an ESRC Research Methods Node). We have since also developed WISERD Education and CUREMeDE
  • enhanced graduate training provision and the consolidation of a Graduate School through the award of the ESRC Wales DTC led by the School
  • enhanced research collaborations with scientists, clinical practitioners and organisations such as the Office of National Statistics.

The School continues to develop its activity within each of its research themes. We recently launched the Children's Social Care Centre for Wales and the ESRC Administrative Data Research Centre.

Case studies

Teenager smoking

ASSIST: A stop smoking in schools trial

Our DECIPHer-ASSIST programme is effectively tackling smoking uptake in UK schools.

Research themes 

  • Childhood, Culture and Identity
  • Education, Skills and Labour Markets
  • Critical Policy Analysis
  • Advances in Research Methodology

Centres and groups

Centre/GroupDetails
The Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)Draws together social science researchers from a number of disciplines including sociology, economics, geography, political science and many more.
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods: Education (WISERDEducation)Undertaking research in order to sustain and enhance the quality of learning and the standards of teaching and teacher education in Wales.
Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)Brings together leading experts from a range of disciplines to tackle public health issues. The Centre engages strongly with policy, practice and public user communities as our stakeholders, to translate the research results into practical outcomes.
The Cardiff Unit for Research and Evaluation in Medical and Dental Education (CUREMeDE)Researching the Education and Training of Health Professionals: collaborations, funding, knowledge mobilisation and dissemination.
ESRC Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance (SKOPE)Examining the links between the acquisition and use of skills and knowledge, product market strategies and performance.
Children's Social Care Research and Development Centre (CASCADE)CASCADE is concerned with all aspects of community-based responses to social need in children and families, including family support services, children in need services, child protection, looked after children and adoption.
Administrative Data Research Centre Wales (ADRC)ADRC Wales provides support and facilities for researchers to carry out analysis using administrative data. The centre has access facilities based at both Cardiff and Swansea Universities.
Q-StepThe Q-Step Centre builds upon the significant amount of quantitative pedagogical development achieved in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University in the past two years.
Childhood ResearchFocused on maintaining, supporting and developing the diversity and quality of childhood research and contribute to innovations in theoretical, methodological and policy development in the field of childhood studies.
Sexualities and GenderInterested in the difference that gender makes in a variety of sites from the workplace and school to popular culture and literary texts.
Culture Imagination & PracticeAddresses the political and cultural resonance of new social formations and social movements.
Work, Employment & Labour Markets (WELM)Committed to theoretically informed empirical research that advance our understanding of the lived experiences of learning, enterprise, employment and labour market policies.
Education Policy Analysis Research GroupAddressing the needs of and demands on education in contemporary societies around the world.
Ethnography, Culture & Inter-pretive AnalysisFocuses on issues around ethnography, as practice and product, and cultural analysis concerned with the interpretive understanding of meaning, symbols and language.
Subjectivity and Psychosocial Research GroupAddresses the interdisciplinary study of subjectivity across a broad range of topics and is active in developing ways of understanding, theorising and researching subjectivity.

Overall ranking

Pos. Institution GPA
1 University of Oxford 3.57
2 King's College London 3.42
3 University of Nottingham 3.37
4 University of Sheffield 3.32
5 Cardiff University 3.30
5 University of Cambridge 3.30
5 University of Durham 3.30
8 University of Exeter 3.28
9 University of Birmingham 3.26
10 University of Bristol 3.23

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