Research and Evaluation

At RoughBounds we have been working as practitioners and researchers in education for over fifteen years.  Often in Higher Education, but also in colleges, in vocational settings and frequently in partnership with Public and Third Sector groups looking to develop approaches to encouraging changes in behaviour. This section explores the different strands of the research. I blog about this on a regular basis.


Research into Open Educational Practices

Since 2013 I have been engaged in questions concerning the use of free open online learning materials. This overlaps significantly with learning design as the work has tended to be based on action research approaches, working directly with partners to create content.

From this some key questions about open education and open educational practices have arisen, these include questiosn about:

How assumptions about pedagogic practice can become reproduced and hidden as we open up curriculum – see Open Education and the Hidden Tariff

The links between Open Educational Resources and neoliberalism – see An Uneasy Relationship: Open Education and Neoliberalism

Research with Third and Public Sector

Designing participatory approaches to including people in local decision making. For example  as part of the investigation into markets for the products and messages of prospective social enterprise (Social Marketing) for the Sunart Oakwoods Training Network .

Or More commonly working with Public and Third Sector groups to explore ways that people can be more involved in the design and development of approaches that they will use. For example, work with the Trust for Conservation Volunteers Scotland (TCVS) into developing approaches to encourage older people to engage in citizen science.

Research into Widening Participation and Inclusion

Most of my work in this area has been with the Open University in Scotland and often with Pete Cannell. Pete and I have published a series of journal articles together. Some are open access – see here Others [unfortuntely] are not.


While my work is less focused on work and learning the lessons I have learnt, in particular about peer learning, partnership, learning for and through doing, have informed my work at a fundamental level.

You can read more about evaluation work on Trade Unions in the workplace Here on work on Engineering and about transitions into learning Here on College Transitions