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Widening Participation Research Centre

The Widening Participation Research Centre at Edge Hill University brings together academics, practitioners, managers and policy makers interested in research and knowledge exchange in relation to widening participation and other aspects of educational equality.

We aim to undertake research and related activities in relation to widening participation and educational equality.  More specifically, our objectives are to:

  • Undertake relevant research, critical analysis, evaluation and consultancy;
  • Disseminate findings to a range of audiences through different media;
  • Work co-operatively with external partners on research and related activities;
  • Build a national and international reputation for high quality, inter-disciplinary widening participation and educational equality research and dissemination.

The Centre values collaboration, participation and an inter-disciplinary approach to research and related activities. Centre members and partners utilise and continue to develop inclusive, participatory methodologies which exemplify our approach to the co-production of knowledge and critical reflection.  We welcome partnerships, and other co-operative arrangements, with individuals and organisations, in the UK and abroad, to further knowledge and understanding in relation to widening participation and educational equality.  Our underlying values, collaborative approach and research methodologies enable our activities and services to contribute effectively to the local, national and global debates on educational equality.

We are interested in developing ways of working together to support the objectives of widening participation and challenging educational inequality.

Centre activities include

  • Research related to theory, policy and practice
  • Evaluations
  • Institutional Research
  • Action Research
  • Literature, policy and critical reviews
  • National and international research partnerships
  • Conferences, seminars and workshops
  • Publications  
  • Facilitation of and engagement of networks

Areas of focus

Areas of experience and interest of centre members and current research development with partners include:

Equality of opportunity, participation and outcomes in education

  • Barriers, choices and non-participation
  • The experience of participation for students, families, institutions and communities
  • Learning transitions

The student experience

  • Widening participation in relation to teaching and learning, curriculum development planning and assessment
  • Student retention and success
  • Institutional change to support educational equality and student diversity

International comparative analysis

  • Higher education, lifelong learning and educational equality
  • Effectiveness and impact of policy and practice
  • International dimensions to widening participation

Participatory and inclusive research methodology

  • Action research
  • Young researchers


Edge Hill University
St Helens Road
L39 4QP
United Kingdom
GEO: 53.559704; -2.87388
+44(0)1695 575171
+44(0)1695 579997