Dr. Azzah Hadhil H. Alsubaie has recently been awarded with a PhD in Education from the University of Reading. Supervised by Dr. Karen Jones and Dr Chris Turner.  Dr. Alsubaie’s research focused on School Performance Evaluation and the use of performance indicators in secondary schools for girls in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In this blog post, she would like to share her experience of pursuing doctoral research here at the Institute of Education.


 What you liked most about studying at the IoE?

As an international PhD student, I found that supervisors and the rest of the university staff helped us develop our research skills and supported the development of our ideas; as well as providing the assistance we needed. The progression was well supervised. They encourage students to participate in reaserch activities such as the PhD Postgraduate Conference which is held every year, and which I had the opportunity to lead in June 2017. Postgraduate students are also encouraged to present their work in seminar sessions to other doctoral students, colleagues, and the department staff in order to receive feedback and recommendations on their research and progress. This is useful as it helps students identify how they can improve aspects of their projects.


What did you learn and what skills did you develop from doing your PhD?

I have learned many research skills, including writing and critical thinking. Besides this, I learned how to accept others’ arguments and how to be objective presenting my arguments. The greatest skill I learned was to speak for myself, with no fear of the acceptance of others or being judged by people.


What is your advice to other doctoral students?

Maybe my experience was full of struggles but the greatest advice I could give is to not be afraid to ask for help from supervisors or colleagues. Also always get back from your supervisor, especially ask for help whenever you are struggling with something because the supervisor is there to help you. Make sure to follow the feedback the supervisor gives and take it seriously, with no doubt you will find this is what will make your thesis strong.


How is your research being used now?

With my supervisor, I am planning to publish three papers from my thesis in well-known journals.  I received acceptance from BERA (British Education Research Association) to present my research at the BERA conference, but unfortunately it was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, I am planning to present it in other conferences.


What are you doing hope to do next?

I am a writer in a well-known newspaper in my country (i.e. Saudi Arabia). I’m planning to write more about school performance evaluation in order to disseminate important messages from my findings to teachers, school principals and parents, and to ensure this gets attention from the government and policymakers. From a job prospective, I have received offers from two government bodies which I am considering.