Susila Davis

2016 OxTALENT award – Runner up: Most Innovative Research Poster
2015 OxTALENT award – Honourable mention: Most Innovative Conference Poster
Commended, OUDE 2014 Doctoral Impact Competition

My undergraduate life began in engineering and statistics.

After graduating, I worked as data analyst and research manager at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (a non-departmental public body), producing research reports for educational institutions and charities, the Department for Education, think tanks and other government organisations.

In 2011, I studied the MSc in Educational Research Methodology and was supervised by Professor Pam Sammons, also my supervisor for my doctoral research. My dissertation examined young people’s and youth workers’ perceived learning experiences in a sample of youth and community centres in London and looked at themes such as alternative education provision and informal learning. The narrative of the research was presented as a ‘Bildungsroman’ or novel of development, in an attempt to describe participants’ journeys through the youth programme and learning experiences.

My current doctoral research involves studying practitioner engagement with an online platform that aims to support school improvement processes. The platform, called Pathways, designed by Oxford University Press can be viewed here. Along with Professor Pam Sammons, I am also being supervised by Dr Maia Chankseliani.

I hope to examine and document teachers’ and senior management’ perceptions of using Pathways in their school improvement practice. The study will use a mixed-methods design, encompassing case studies of individual schools on their school improvement ‘journeys’ along with statistical analyses of questionnaires carried out with teachers on their perceived learning experiences and professional development.

More recently, I was a contract researcher working closely with Professor Sammons, and have participated in research projects with Pearson Education, CfBT Education Trust and the Department for Education.

On a lighter note, I’m a volunteer at a couple of local charities and I spend (probably too much) time keeping up with politics and current affairs news channels. My favourite words are ‘moose’ and ‘droshky’. I would gladly participate in research investigating why…


Thesis title
“Are we there yet?” A study of the Oxford University Press Pathways to School Improvement
Professor Pamela Sammons and Dr Maia Chankseliani

Research interests

School improvement, teachers’ professional development, school effectiveness, leadership, technology & school improvement & teachers’ learning/development, alternative education provision, informal learning, youth development.


  • Sammons, P. and Davis, S. (2016) Mixed Methods Approaches and their Application in Educational Research  In: D. Wyse et al (eds.) The BERA/SAGE Handbook of Educational Research, UK: BERA/SAGE Publications.
  • Sammons, P., Davis, S. and Gray, J. (2016) Methodological Properties of School Effectiveness Research: Exploring the underpinnings, evolution and future directions of the field. In: C. Chapman et al (eds.) Routledge International Handbook of Educational Effectiveness. UK: Routledge.
  • Sammons, P. and Davis, S. (2015) A Guide to Enhancing the Quality of Teaching.
  • Davis, S. (2014) A Guide to Using Questionnaires: A guide designed to help you analyse data and get the best results from questionnaires
  • Davis, S. and Sammons, P. (2014) Pathways research series: understanding effective school improvement.
  • Sammons, P., Davis, S., Bakkum, L. and Hessel,  G. with Walter, C. (2014) Bilingual education in Brunei: the evolution of the Brunei approach to bilingual education and the role of CfBT in promoting educational change. Reading: CfBT.
  • Sammons, P., Davis, S., Day, C. and Gu, Q. (2014) Using Mixed Methods to Investigate School Improvement and the Role of Leadership: An example of a longitudinal study in England. Journal of Educational Administration, 52 (5), 565 – 589.
  • Davis, S. (forthcoming) Exploring Young People’s Learning and the Use of Participatory Evaluation Research in a Youth Programme in South East England. Conference Proceedings from 12th Annual School of Education Research Conference 16 November 2013. University of Birmingham.
  • Evangelou, M. Goff, J. Hall, J. Sylva, K. Eisenstadt, N. Paget, C. Davis, S. Sammons, P. Smith, T. Tracz, R. Parkin, T. (2014) Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE): Strand 3 Parenting Services in Children’s Centres. Research Report DFE-RR368. London: DfE
  • Evangelou, M. Goff, J. Hall, J. Sylva, K. Eisenstadt, N. Paget, C. Davis, S. Sammons, P. Smith, T. Tracz, R. Parkin, T. (2014) Evaluation of Children’s Centres in England (ECCE): Strand 3 Parenting Services in Children’s Centres. Research Brief DFE-RB368. London: DfE


  • Research student

College affiliation

  • Green Templeton College

Research groups

  • Families, Effective Learning and Literacy (FELL)