The University of Reading’s Institute of Education has a vibrant and inclusive research community and we regularly invite members of our community (both staff and doctoral students) to share their research as part of our lunchtime research seminar series. On Thursday 30 May 2019, we were pleased to hear research updates from some of our first-year doctoral students.

Cecilia Muldoon (first-year part-time PhD student) shared her research which sits within Professor Carol Fuller’s and Dr. Maria Danos’s ‘Marvellous Mums’ project. The project runs a 10-week programme which is designed to help increasing self-confidence and identifying aspirations of 15 local mothers who live in an economically challenging area. As part of her research, Cecilia plans to use Bourdieu’s Cultural Theory to investigate women’s attitudes to higher education. Cecilia hopes that her research will impact the lives of the women in the community and their children.

Fatima Zahra Abbou (first-year full-time PhD student) shared her on-going research on female academics’ career progression in Algerian universities. Specifically, she intends to use narrative interview approaches and observations to address the main research question which asks ‘What are the obstacles and opportunities that female academics experience in relation to leadership positions in Algerian universities?’. Fatima hopes that her research will contribute to facilitating greater understanding of gender equality issues among policymakers in educational setting and contributing to theories of gendered power relations and the role of institutional habitus in maintaining inequalities between men and women.


Beverley Jennings (first-year part-time PhD student) shared her research about adolescent reading practices. Using the corpus linguistics approach to analyse 50+ GCSE exam extracts (around 33,000 words), Beverley hopes to answer research questions, such as ‘What are the linguistic demands of the English language GCSE examination texts?’ and ‘What is the linguistic make-up of typical secondary school students’ reading materials?’. Beverley hopes that her research will contribute to providing empirical data to inform and guide students’ reading practices and lead to improved attainment in the new English language GCSE examination.


This seminar event was very well attended by both research staff and doctoral students at the Institute. Details of the Institute’s future lunchtime research seminars can be found here.