Inequality in Education – Innovation in Methods: Reflections and Considerations


  • Siobhan Dytham University of Warwick
  • Carli Ria Rowell University of Warwick
  • Siobhan Dytham Department of Sociology, University of Warwick
  • Carli Ria Rowell Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick



Inequality, Education, Innovation, Research Methods, Ethics, Visual Methods


Against a backdrop of metamorphosis in the UK educational landscape and the increased focus on ‘innovation’ in research funding and postgraduate programmes, a conference entitled ‘Inequality in Education – Innovation in Methods’ (IEIM) was held at the University of Warwick in November 2014 to offer space to reflect on ‘inequality in education’ as a field of research and the impact, and future prospect for ‘innovation in method’ in this field. This article offers reflections and considerations based on the IEIM conference and the articles contained in the resulting special section published in this journal. The article argues that innovation in methods offers new and exciting directions in terms of increased understanding of inequality in education. The article also discusses the possibilities that innovative methods offer in terms of including a wider range of participants in research and increasing opportunities for participants to be involved with the research process and communicate effectively. The article ends with some ethical considerations in relation to new and innovative research methods before drawing to a conclusion.


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Author Biographies

Siobhan Dytham, University of Warwick

Siobhan Dytham is a PhD Researcher in the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick completing a thesis titled ‘Popularity and Social Status in Secondary School: Young People’s Constructions and Experiences’. She is a member of, and Research Assistant for, the Warwick Observatory for Social Mobility and Principle Investigator for the PhD SPACEs Project.

Carli Ria Rowell, University of Warwick

I am an Economic and Social Research Council doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at The University of Warwick, a Post Graduate Ambassador for the British Sociological Association, a member of The British Sociological Association and also serves as first year ESRC Student Representative on the Doctoral Training CentreManagement Committee. I graduated from Loughborough University in July 2013 with a first-class BSc (Honors) in Sociology after my passion for the social sciences was so prevalent that it led me to transfer from BSc Economics in 2010. My final year dissertation Working-Class and Educationally Successful: Reconciling The Dichotomy gained a mark of 85(%), was awarded the Professor Albert Churns Memorial Prize, was publicised by the British Sociological Association and forms the basis of my PhD thesis. In addition, I recently  I recently wrote a short essay for the LSE’s Academic Inspiration Series entitled The Books That Inspired Me to Pursue Sociology again demonstrating my commitment to the social sciences alongside the capacity to secure external publication. You can read the essay here:

You can view my e-portfolio here:

You can view my personal blog here: 


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Ingram, N. (015), ‘Boundary Drawing: art meets research’, Exchanges, 2(2), 228-230

Nind, M., Wiles, R.A., Bengry-Howell, A. and Grow, G.P. (2013) ‘Methodological Innovation and Research Ethics: Forces in tension or forces in harmony?’, Qualitative Research 13(6), 650–667

Nind, M., (2015), ‘Changing the social relations of research – innovation and orthodoxy’, Exchanges, 2(2), 230-233

Shepherd, J., (2015), ‘Interrupted Interviews’: listening to young people with autism in transition to college’, Exchanges, 2(2), 249-262

Syyeda, F.B., (2015), ‘A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Examining learners’ illustrations to understand Attitudes towards Mathematics’, Exchanges, 2(2), 234-248

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Inequality in Education – Innovation in Methods