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Professor Morwenna Griffiths: My Research

My research programme centres around a set of interrelated methodological approaches, and on a continuing concern for social justice. It began with a basis in philosophy, especially feminist philosophy, philosophy of education and a deep concern for the ways in which philosophy and practice can influence each other. As the programme developed it led to a number of methodological commitments.


An early interest in reflective practice has evolved into a philosophically based commitment to methods such as action research, and self-study in which attention is paid both to practice in specific contexts, and also to the person of the researcher(s). My 1989 article, ‘Reflective teachers and reflective tutors’, which was written with a colleague, focused on our own practice as tutors. My book, In Fairness to Children (1995), which was written with a classroom teacher, arose from collaborative action research in a Nottingham city primary school. Meanwhile, my early interest in feminism evolved into a more general interest in social justice, but without losing the focus on gender, especially feminist philosophy. My pamphlet, Self-identity, Self-esteem, and Social Justice, was published in 1992, while I was in the early stages of writing my book, Feminisms and the Self (1995).


My interest in social justice has continued to develop over the last twenty years. My ESRC funded senior fellowship in 1995-6 enabled me to develop a more nuanced understanding not only of working for social justice but also of the methodological implications it has for both practice and research. In the book that came out of the fellowship research, Educational Research for Social Justice (1998), I argued that collaboration and partnership is key. Accordingly my own research became increasingly collaborative and dialogical. I also expanded the ‘grand narrative’ approach to social justice that I had been working with the inclusion of ‘little stories’.  My next book, Action for Social Justice in Education (2003), was written collaboratively and included  personal narratives. This new theoretical position lent itself to the methods of action research and self-study: I explored these connections in relation to the arts, to educational leadership and to the use of personal narrative in educational research. I wrote more generally about the relationship in my book chapter in the Handbook of Educational Action Research, ‘Action research for/as/mindful of social justice‘. Recently, I have been further developing my theoretical understanding of social justice from a post-humanist perspective in, ‘Educational relationships: Rousseau, Wollstonecraft and social justice’ (2014).


My current position as Chair of Classroom Learning means I am well placed, informally as well as formally, to connect philosophical educational research with the everyday practicalities of curriculum, policy and pedagogical issues. My publications since 2008 demonstrate how I have been able to use this opportunity. I have also become increasingly involved with national and international initiatives around gender and philosophy of education. These have been very productive, resulting in two collaborative collections focusing on pedagogical relationships:  Love and Authority in Pedagogical Relations in a Neo-Liberal World (2013) and Re-imagining Relationships: Ethics, Politics, Practices (2014). My interest in a range of research methodologies has continued, most recently expressed in the publication of the International Handbook on Interpretation in Educational Research, edited by Paul Smeyers, David Bridges, Nick Burbules and myself.


My current focus on social justice from a post-humanist perspective brings together my philosophical and more general methodological interests.  I am in the process of exploring this further in relation to the substantive areas of cosmopolitanism and literacy. I expect that this work will continue collaboratively, so it is hard to predict what the substantive areas are likely to be.


Philosophy of Education

Social Justice



Action Research and Self Study

Auto/biography and Personal Narrative

Other research including visual methods and arts-based learning

All Publications




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Last modified: 07/07/12.