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Dr Emma Dobson

Postdoctoral Research Associate

BA (Hons) MA, PhD, Associate Fellow of the HEA

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Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of EducationED226 


Dr Emma Dobson is a Research Associate at Durham University’s School of Education. Working as part of the team that maintains and develops the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Toolkit, Emma’s work focuses on evidence synthesis of educational interventions, including systematic reviews and meta-analysis of existing randomised and non-randomised studies.

Her research interests include the use of evidence from research to support policy and practice decisions in education, with a particular interest in Realist Evaluation and the development of programme theory to support intervention implementation and identify essential mechanisms/contexts that moderate intervention effects. To this end, she is currently collaborating with eBase on a CEDIL and UKAID funded project to contextualise the Toolkit for the Chad Basin.

In addition to her work with the EEF, Emma is interested in sex education research; particularly studies that explore Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) as practiced in UK-based schools. Her previous work has focussed on peer education and how this approach is used to deliver adolescent health interventions.

After achieving a first-class degree in Education from Durham University, Emma was awarded a scholarship by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to complete an MA in Research Methods and PHd. Her PhD thesis investigated the communicative process between adolescents within the context of peer-led Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) and whether the use of peers as educators in the SRE classroom can encourage the adoption of positive attitudes towards sexual health and contraception. 

Emma is passionate about engaging youth in research and using young people's experiences and perspectives to influence policy and practice. As a result, she has experience of working closely with a number of youth advisory groups. She currently teaches across a number of modules at Durham University with undergraduate, MA and PGCE students.

Research interests

  • Sex education
  • Evidence-informed education
  • Participatory education/practice (youth-led)
  • Literature reviews
  • Peer Education
  • Social Learning
  • Health education/ promotion
  • Sexual attitudes and behaviour of young people

Research Projects

  • Development of the Teaching and Learning Toolkit , the EEF Database and NPD Analysis and Data Archive 2018-2021


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