Research activity per year

Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline


Dr Stephen Day is the Head of the Division of Education. Prior to joining the University in May 2012, he was a secondary school biology teacher. Before entering the teaching profession, Stephen worked on a number of biomedical research projects at the University of Glasgow, based at Glasgow Royal Infirmary within the Departments of Cardiac Surgery and Pathological Biochemistry (now Vascular Biology).

Dr Day received his PhD from the University of Strathclyde in 2010, which focused on the development of pupils’ scientific literacy through socio-scientific discussion using co-operative learning.

Stephen is a Science tutor for PGDE Science within the Division of Education.

Stephen is an active member of the educational research community in Scotland where he was vice-president (2015 - 2017) and president (2017 - 2019) of the Scottish Educational Research Association. In addition, he is a member of the British Educational Research Association where he is an active member of the Science Education special interest groups as well as being a member of the Association for Science Education.

My main area of research focuses on quantitative and qualitative research in Teacher Education with a specific interest in Science Education.


Current research activities


Dr Day's research interests are as follows;

  • The handling of socio-scientific topics such as global warming, genetic modification, etc. In particular how discussion can be conducted usefully in science lessons;
  • Effectiveness and efficacy of pedagogical approaches in learning and teaching;
  • Science misconceptions;
  • Constructivist approaches to learning and teaching and the ideas which pupils find difficult in the secondary sciences, particularly in biology and chemistry;
  • More humanistic approaches to science teaching and the resistance to it in so many scientific quarters, including the school curriculum;
  • The application of Complex Adaptive Systems theory to education;
  • The development of pre-service primary and secondary teachers’ scientific literacy and professional identity;
  • Concept and skill acquisition and how these are intertwined – the science knowledge of young people and how it develops.
  • Developing criticality in Masters and Doctoral students.


Desired research direction

Over the last year I have been involved in assessing Education and Nursing students Mental Health and Well-Being as they progress through their programmes of study. I am interested in extending this work to other interested Universities in Scotland and more widely across the United Kingdom.

In addition, I am interested in moving my research into developing research informed pedagogical practice in Higher Education. At present, I am working with a PhD student within the School of Engineering and Computing focused upon investigating the implementation of problem-based learning into the undergraduate engineering degree programme.

I am also actively seeking collaborations with the School of Science to focus on how criticality is fostered through engagement with research in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.


Target collaborative companies

Education Scotland

Local Authorities (Learning and Education departments)


Target collaborative organisations

Scottish Educational Research Association

British Educational Research Association

European Educational Research Association

Nordic Educational Research Association

Other areas of expertise available for knowledge exchange


Over the last year I have worked closely with South Ayrshire Council to develop and manage professional learning opportunities for school teachers. This work has focused on the development of a cross section (Primary and Secondary) Numeracy community of practice. The puropse of this work was to support the teaching and learning of numeracy across the curriculum and to up-skill classroom practitioners to equip them with the skills and competences to carry out small scale action research projects focused on providing evidence of effective practice.

I am particularly keen to expand this work further in the area of primary science.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

External positions

President Scottish Educational Research Association

Nov 2017Nov 2019

Vice-President , Scottish Educational Research Association

Nov 2015Nov 2017


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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