Dr P. O'Connor: a Doctorate in Education


Our very own Dr P. O’Connor embarked on the Doctorate in Education, Christianity and Faith in Education degree in January 2012 as part of the specially chosen ‘Jubilee cohort’ of about 20 students selected from across the United Kingdom. This degree was created specifically to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Canterbury Christ Church University. Under the theme of Personal values, beliefs and Professional Identity and Practice, He chose his research title: Illuminating the place of personal values and Christian beliefs in teaching sensitive and controversial issues in Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) in South East England: A Life History Approach.

This Doctorate in Education (EdD) degree lasted 5 years part time and included 7 taught modules (30,000-40,000 words) over 3 years, and a further 2 years of independent research (thesis 55,000 words). He submitted 95,000 words. His examiners concluded that:
“We found this a well-written, thoughtful and original thesis, on a topic of some significance to the teaching profession – and beyond about the particular experiences of teachers of PSHE who have strong Christian beliefs and convictions, which have various origins and are in transition, and which sometimes present these teachers with dilemmas in their working lives. They adopt a range of strategies for resolution or compromise. It was evident that great care had been taken in the writing of the thesis, which was clear in its presentation of the literature, methodology and, to a large extent, the data and conclusions from the research. There is a great deal of valuable material throughout the thesis. Phillip O’Connor was thoughtful and articulate throughout the defence of his thesis (viva voce). His ability to pinpoint specific arguments and to refer the Examiners to precise page numbers in his thesis was most impressive and indicated that he was extremely well rehearsed in the discussion of his work and prepared for its defence.”
On the whole, the Examiners (Professors J. Stern and S. Powell) agreed that the study was of a doctoral standard and commended and congratulated Phillip O’Connor on his work..

A note from Dr P. O’Connor:
Special thanks to colleagues, parents and students, who occasionally asked about my progress and sent messages and cards of congratulations.