Dr Geraldine Davis

Principal Lecturer in Education

Department of Education

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care

Department:School of Education and Social Care

Location: Chelmsford

Areas of Expertise: Education and teaching

Geraldine is a Principal Lecturer, actively involved in research projects which focus on professional practice in education.



Geraldine has expertise in working collaboratively through research projects to support professional development of teachers, early childhood practitioners and university lecturers. She led the Doctorate in Education for five years from 2011 to 2016 and the MA in Early Years Professional Practice from 2010 to 2015. She supervises PhD and EdD candidates across her areas of expertise. She has wide experience of teaching, learning and project supervision in higher education.

She has been an external examiner for doctoral theses at the Open University, Keele University, University of Plymouth, Middlesex University, University of East London, Brunel University, University of South Wales, University of East Anglia, University of Essex and London South Bank University. Geraldine won the University Research Excellence award for doctoral supervision in 2015.

Research interests

Geraldine's research interests are in professional education, practitioner research, doctoral education, professionalism and leadership in early childhood practice.

She leads research projects which focus on developing professional practice in Education and convenes the Professional Enquiry in Education Research Cluster. She is currently Principal Investigator on the collaborative, three-year Creative Writing through the Arts project (2016–2019) funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Royal Opera House Bridge. The pilot project in 2014–2015 won the BERA/ BCF/Routledge Taylor-Francis Curriculum Journal Award for collaborative research. Geraldine has particular expertise in the use of evaluation, case study, action research and documentary analysis.

Areas of research supervision

Recent completions:

  • Developing a framework for homework in primary school, a case study. Nick Rudman. 2015 (First supervisor)
  • The use and effect of continuing professional development in developing leadership for early years professionals. A case study. Christine Such. 2014 (First supervisor)
  • The development of ethical knowledge in higher education lecturers. A grounded theory study. Hilary Engward. 2013 (First supervisor).

Geraldine currently supervises doctoral candidates using case study, mixed methodology and action research to investigate: professional development of teachers and early years practitioners; teaching and learning in HE and FE; development of teacher professionalism and leadership; attitudes to and opportunities for vocational education; developing teaching and learning in schools.


Geraldine contributes her expertise to the MA Early Childhood Studies programme and to the doctoral programme.


  • BSc (Hons) Life Sciences
  • MA (Ed) (Open)
  • Doctor of Education (Leicester)
  • QTS

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • Member of the British Educational Research Association (BERA)
  • Member of the British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (BELMAS)
  • Member of the European Early Childhood Educational Research Association (EECERA)
  • Special interest group member, Leadership and Management, BERA
  • Special interest group member, Early Childhood Education, BERA
  • Member of the BERA/TACTYC Early Childhood Policy group examining UK research into early childhood professional practice and producing policy guidance for UK government Ministers

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Recent funded projects include:

  • Paul Hamlyn Foundation/Royal Opera House Bridge Creative Writing through the Arts project. Funded 2016–2019. A collaborative project between 45 primary school teachers from five Teaching Schools Alliances, creative practitioners, the Royal Opera House Bridge and Anglia Ruskin University. Principal investigator
  • Royal Opera House Bridge/Essex County Council Creative Writing through the Arts pilot project. Funded 2014–2016. A collaborative project with Billericay Teaching Schools Alliance, Royal Opera House Bridge and Anglia Ruskin University. Academic lead (co-ordinator and overall evaluation of the project)
  • Essex County Council project, Development of the Graduate Early Childhood Workforce. Funded 2010–2014
  • Essex County Council project, Early Years Professional Status Impact Study.

Selected recent publications

Davis, G., Wright, H. & Holley, D., 2016. Write away from it all! Running a Writing Retreat for Doctoral Students. Practitioner Research in Higher Education. In press.

Davis, G. & Ryder, G., 2016. Leading in Early Childhood. London: Sage https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/leading-in-early-childhood/book245988.

Davis, G. & Luff, P., 2016. The advantages of collaborative practice research in education. Research Intelligence. RI 129, Spring 2016. London: BERA.

Davis, G., Luff, P. & Wilson, C., 2015. Creative Writing through the Arts. Final full report. Department of Education, Anglia Ruskin University. Available at:http://hdl.handle.net/10540/583113.

Davis, G., Luff, P. & Wilson, C., 2015. Creative Writing through the Arts. Final summary report. Department of Education, Anglia Ruskin University. http://hdl.handle.net/10540/583135.

Davis, G., 2015. The structure of Professional Doctorate programmes. British Educational Research Association blog post, 11 August 2015. https://www.bera.ac.uk/blog/structure-of-professional-doctorate-programmes.

Engward, H. & Davis, G., 2015. Being reflexive in qualitative grounded theory: discussion and application of a model of reflexivity. Journal of Advanced Nursing. Available online from March 2015 at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jan.12653/full.

Phair, H. & Davis, G., 2015. Early childhood settings and funded two-year-old children: experiences from four settings in England. Early Child Development and Care, 185(9), pp1464-1479.

Davis, G., 2014. Graduate leaders in early childhood education and care settings, the practitioner perspective. Management in Education – Special Edition, Participation in Policy and Practice, 28, pp156–160.

Davis, G., 2014. Working Group Leader and Contributor, Professionalism. In Payler, J. and Wood, E. (Eds.) BERA/TACTYC Early Years Policy Advice and Future Research Agendas. February 2014. https://www.bera.ac.uk/project/early-years-policy-advice.

Davis, G., 2014. Leadership and management in early years settings. In T. Waller & G. Davis (Eds.). An Introduction to Early Childhood. London: Sage.

Waller, T. & Davis, G. (Eds.), 2014. An Introduction to Early Childhood. 3rd edition. London: Sage. https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/an-introduction-to-early-childhood/book239127.

Walker, S. & Davis, G., 2014. Knowledge and reported confidence of final year midwifery students regarding giving advice on contraception and sexual health. Midwifery, 30(2014), pp.169-176. Available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2014.02.002.

Recent presentations and conferences

Payler, J., Davis, G., Jarvis, P., Georgeson, J., Wood, E. & Lloyd, E. Keynote Symposium. The BERA/TACTYC Early Childhood Education and Care Review 2004-2015 (Early Childhood Education and Care). British Educational Research Association (BERA) 12-15 September, 2016. University of Leeds, UK.

Davis, G. and Ryder, G. (2016). Resilience and leadership for the early childhood practitioner: mechanisms and examples from practice.  European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) conference, 31 August-3 September 2016, Dublin, Éire.

Payler, J. and Davis, G. (2016). Professional learning and development: trends, developments and impact in the UK since 2003.  European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) conference, 31st August to 3rd September 2016, Dublin, Éire.

Warnes, M., Davis, G. & Holley, D. (2016). Towards a definition of teaching excellence. Learning at City Conference, 8 June 2016. City University, London.

Davis, G. & Ryder, G. (2016) Daring to lead. Leadership in role for the early childhood practitioner. BECERA conference, Birmingham, UK, 16 February, 2016.

Davis, G. & Frame, I. (2016) From a professional practice issue to impact; doctoral projects changing practice. UKCGE 5th International Professional Doctorate Conference 15-16 March 2016, Belfast, UK.

Luff, P. & Davis, G. (2015). Creative curriculum change through collaboration: early career teachers’ action research on arts and cultural activity. CARN (Collaborative Action Research Network) Conference in Braga Portugal, 6-8 November, 2015.

Davis, G. & Luff, P. (2015). Action research projects to develop children’s literacy. An evaluation of research in action. BERA International Conference, Belfast, UK, September 2015.

Frame, I. & Davis, G. (2015). The Professional Doctorate at Anglia Ruskin University: A model of successful practice. Published in Conference proceedings, UCF International Conference on Doctoral Education, College of Education and Human Performance, University of Central Florida. Available at: http://education.ucf.edu/reg/docs/ICDE2015-PaperPresentationAbstracts.pdf.

Davis, G. & Engward, H. (2015). The doctoral viva voce experience: twenty candidates’ views. BERA International Conference, Belfast, UK, September 2015.

Davis, G. & Luff, P. (2015). Developing Creative Learning in Primary Schools: the value of working in partnership with the cultural sector. Arts in Society International Conference, London, UK, July 2015.

Davis, G. & Phair, H. (2015). Funded places for two year old children. Children and Childhoods Conference, School of Applied Social Sciences, University Campus Suffolk, July 2015.

Davis, G. (2014). Professional development for the post-doctoral academic, an action research project. Conference paper BERA international conference, Institute of Education, London, September 2014.

Davis, G.  & Luff, P. (2014). Personal and professional benefits of professional enquiry, a case study. Conference paper, EECERA international conference, Hersonissos, Crete. September 2014.

Davis, G. (2014). Conference paper, BECERA conference, Birmingham, UK, 19-20 Feb 2014. Using documentary analysis in early childhood research.

Davis, G. (2014). Continuing professional development for leading change in early years settings: evaluation of a Masters module in leadership. Childhood Remixed Journal, Conference edition, February 2014, pp.43–51. https://www.uos.ac.uk/content/childhood-remixed.