My academic life began in aerospace engineering and statistics.
After graduating, I became interested in the social sciences and 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 2014, I won a +2 scholarship from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for my doctoral research, a collaborative project with Oxford University Press which studies 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. I am examining and documenting teachers’ and senior management’ perceptions of using Pathways in their school improvement practice. The study uses a multi-method design, encompassing five longitudinal case studies of individual schools on their school improvement ‘journeys’ and teachers on their perceived learning experiences and professional development, and an additional case study on OUP. The study aims to bring together the fields of school improvement and online technologies.
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.
More recently, I was a contract researcher working closely with Professor Sammons, and have participated in research projects with Pearson Education, CfBT Education Trust (now EDT) and the Department for Education.
- 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