Portrait of Dr Jane Tobbell Dr Jane Tobbell

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j.tobbell@hud.ac.uk | 01484 472588


University Teaching Fellow
Department of Behavioural and Social Sciences
Date of appointment: 01 July 2006

Past employment

  • Open University 2002 – present
    Supervisor – Doctorate in Education
    Associate Lecturer - 1997 – 2004
  • University of Bradford
    Senior Lecturer, 01.05.2005 – 30.06.2006
  • Leeds Metropolitan University
    Senior Lecturer, 01.05.2003 – 30.04.2005
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
    Senior Lecturer, 01.09.1996 - 31.03.2003
  • Bradford Learning Disabilities Trust
    Assistant Psychologist, 01.07.1994 – 30.06.1994
  • The Open University
    PhD – Transition from primary to secondary school: communities, practice and participation
  • University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST)
    MSc – Organisational Psychology
  • The Open University
    BSc (Hons) Psychology, First Class Honours

Professional body memberships

  • HEA – Senior Fellow
  • British Educational Research Association

Research and Scholarship

University research group memberships

Research interests

My research interests centre on learning in educational institutions and organisations. I work with socio-cultural theory and take a qualitative approach to research.

Research grants

  • Principal Investigator
    Higher Education Academy - £50,390, 2012 – 2014
    Social Justice Law Provision in undergraduate and postgraduate study: the implementation and evaluation of clinical legal education in a British Law School
  • Principle Investigator
    Higher Education Academy - £28,882, 2006 – 2007
    Exploring practice and participation in transition to post-graduate social science study – an ethnographic study

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Ashton-Goldthorpe, L., Lewis, K. and Tobbell, J. (2017) ‘Talking about Taekwon-Do’. In: Early Career Researcher Conference, 5th July 2017, Edge Hill University, UK

Turner, L. and Tobbell, J. (2017) ‘Learner Identity and Transition; an Ethnographic Exploration of Undergraduate TrajectoriesJournal of Further and Higher Education . ISSN 0309-877X

Williams, G. and Tobbell, J. (2017) ‘Effecting change in local government: local authority chief executives as emotional actorsPolicy Studies , 38 (4), pp. 392-409. ISSN 0144-2872

Turner, L. and Tobbell, J. (2017) ‘Researching educational transition using ethnographySAGE Research Methods Cases . ISSN 9781473986749


Bland, A. and Tobbell, J. (2016) ‘Towards an understanding of the attributes of simulation that enable learning in undergraduate nurse education: A grounded theory studyNurse Education Today , 44, pp. 8-13. ISSN 0260-6917


Bland, A. and Tobbell, J. (2015) ‘Developing a multi-method approach to data collection and analysis for explaining the learning during simulation in undergraduate nurse educationNurse Education in Practice , 15 (6), pp. 517-523. ISSN 1471-5953

Tobbell, J. and Burton, R. (2015) ‘Identity and Participation in UK Universities: An Exploration of Student Experiences and University PracticesThe International Journal of Diversity in Education , 15 (4), pp. 21-32.

Tobbell, J. and O'Donnell, V. (2015) ‘Transition to postgraduate study: overlooked and underestimated’. In: Masters Level Teaching, Learning and Assessment: Issues in Design and Delivery. : Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 57-60. ISBN 9781137399366

Schofield, K. and Tobbell, J. (2015) ‘Embracing Diversity in Organisations by Promoting Identity’. In: Fifteenth International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations, 15th -17th July 2015, Hong Kong

Walker, A. and Tobbell, J. (2015) ‘Lost Voices and Unlived Lives: Exploring Adults' Experiences of Selective Mutism using Interpretative Phenomenological AnalysisQualitative Research in Psychology . ISSN 1478-0887


Turner, L. and Tobbell, J. (2014) ‘Hide and seek: how implicit and explicit practices shape learner identity during transition to Higher Education’. In: BERA Annual Conference, 23rd-25th September 2014, Institute of Education, London

Tobbell, J. and Turner, L. (2014) ‘Transforming pedagogy: an exploration of the relationship between academic performance and participation in professional activity in H.E. students’. In: BERA Annual Conference, 23rd-25th September 2014, Institute of Education, London

Bland, A., Topping, A. and Tobbell, J. (2014) ‘Time to unravel the conceptual confusion of authenticity and fidelity and their contribution to learning within simulation-based nurse education. A discussion paperNurse Education Today , 34 (7), pp. 1112-1118. ISSN 0260-6917

Turner, L. and Tobbell, J. (2014) ‘How practices shape identity: an exploration of transition for undergraduate psychology students’. In: HEA STEM Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2014: Enhancing the STEM Student Journey, 30th April - 1st May 2014, University of Edinburgh

Tobbell, J. and O'Donnell, V. (2014) ‘A socio-cultural exploration of the mechanisms underpinning performance dips following transition from primary to secondary schoolJournal of Education and Human Development , 3 (1), pp. 159-176. ISSN 2334-296X

Tobbell, J (2014) ‘Transition from primary to secondary school: a case study from the United Kingdom’. In: Facetten von Übergängen im Bildungssystem Nationale und internationale Ergebnisse empirischer Forschun. Münster, Germany: Waxmann. pp. 251-264. ISBN 978-3-8309-3063-1


Tobbell, J. and O�Donnell, V. (2013) ‘Transition to postgraduate study: postgraduate ecological systems and identityCambridge Journal of Education , 43 (1), pp. 123-138. ISSN 0305-764X

Tobbell, J. and O'Donnell, V. (2013) ‘The formation of interpersonal and learning relationships in the transition from primary to secondary school: students, teachers and school contextInternational Journal of Educational Research , 59, pp. 11-23. ISSN 0883-0355

Tobbell, J. and O'Donnell, V. (2013) ‘Transition to postgraduate study : postgraduate ecological systems and identityCambridge Journal of Education , 43 (1), pp. 123-138. ISSN 0305-764X

Tobbell, J. and O'Donnell, V. (2013) ‘Entering Postgraduate Study: A Qualitative Study of a Neglected TransitionInternational Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education , 4 (1). ISSN 2042-6364


O'Donnell, V., Tobbell, J., Bradshaw, C. and Richmond, E. (2012) ‘Participation in inclusive learning and teaching practices in higher education : a qualitative study of academic staff identity and changeInternational Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education , 1 (2). ISSN 2042-6364

Toddington, S., Drake, P. and Tobbell, J. (2012) ‘The ethical dynamics of learning: empowerment and responsibility in clinical legal education’. In: IJCLE The International Journal of Clinical Legal Education Conference, 10th-13th July 2012, Durham, UK


Bland, A., Topping, A. and Tobbell, J. (2010) ‘Learning through Simulation in Undergraduate Nurse Education – It’s All About the Action. Data Collection & Analysis Using Video to Explore the Visual and the Narrative.’. In: 5th International Nurse Education Conference, 22-25 June 2014, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands

Tobbell, J., O'Donnell, V. and Zammit, M. (2010) ‘Exploring transition to postgraduate study: shifting identities in interaction with communities, practice and participationBritish Educational Research Journal , 36 (2), pp. 261-278. ISSN 0141-1926


O'Donnell, V., Tobbell, J., Lawthom, R. and Zammit, M. (2009) ‘Transition to postgraduate study: Practice, participation and the widening participation agendaActive Learning in Higher Education , 10 (1), pp. 26-40. ISSN 1469-7874


Tobbell, J., O'Donnell, V. and Zammit, M. (2008) Exploring practice and participation in transition to postgraduate social science study HEA


Tobbell, J., O'Donnell, V., O'Neill, M. and Lawthom, R. (2007) ‘Transition to postgraduate study: practice, policy and experience’. In: The Times They are a Changin: Researching Transition in LIfelong Learning 4th International Conference, 22-24 June 2007, Stirling, Scotland

Tobbell, J. and O'Donnell, V. (2007) ‘Understanding adults’ transitions to Higher Education through a university access course: community, practice and participation.’. In: The Times They are a Changin: Researching Transition in LIfelong Learning 4th International Conference, 22-24 June 2007, Stirling, Scotland

O'Donnell, V. and Tobbell, J. (2007) ‘The Transition of Adult Students to Higher Education: Legitimate Peripheral Participation in a Community of Practice?Adult Education Quarterly , 57 (4), pp. 312-328. ISSN 07417136


Tobbell, J. and O'Donnell, V. (2005) ‘Theorising educational transitions: communities, practice and participation’. In: Conference on Sociocultural Theory in Educational Research and Practice, 8th – 9th September 2005, University of Manchester

Tobbell, J (2005) ‘Including myself out: children talking about educational and social practices in UK primary and secondary school’. In: Community, Work and Family Conference, 16th - 18th March 2005, Manchester Metropolitan University

Tobbell, J. and Lawthom, R. (2005) ‘Dispensing with labels: Enabling children and professionals to share a community of practiceEducational and Child Psychology , 22 (3), pp. 89-97. ISSN 0267 1611

Stivaros, H., Tobbell, J. and Hardman, M. (2005) ‘‘If you don’t understand this don’t worry, for the rest of you I will go on’: Deconstructing children’s opportunity to participate in the classroom community of practice’. In: Developmental Psychology Section Annual Conference., 2-5 September 2004, Leeds Metropolitan University , p. 41


Tobbell, J (2003) ‘Students experiences of transition from primary to secondary schoolEducational and Child Psychology , 20 (4), pp. 4-14. ISSN 0267 1611


Journal editorial boards

  • Journal of Education and Learning (2012 – present)

Journal reviewer

  • International Journal of Educational Research (2012 – present)
  • Psychology Learning and Teaching (2012 – present)
  • British Educational Research Journal (2009 – present)
  • Community, Work and Family (2001 – present)

Invited speaker

  • Ethnography Workshop: Introducing Pedagogic Research Methods and Raising Pedagogic Capacity, CETL Pedagogic Research Capacity, Higher Education Academy, December 2006

External examining

  • 2014 – present University of Winchester – BSc Psychology
  • 2008 – 2012 – University of West of Scotland – BSc/BA Psychology
  • 2005 – 2008 – University of Greenwich – BSc Psychology

Doctoral examining

  • 2015 – Leeds Becket University, Darren Hill, From policy to practice: How do community drug workers interpret and work with the contemporary UK Drug Strategy?
  • 2013 – University of Glasgow, Douglas Sutherland, The Transition of Adults into Higher Education

Research Degree Supervision


  • Eleano Kitto - An Investigation in to classroom practices and educational trajectories within a year one classroom from a socio-cultural perspective (EdD - awarded 2015)
  • Beverley Hirst - Relationships and learning in Higher Education (Completed 2015) [Director of Studies]
  • Graham Williams - Organisational Learning in English Local Authorities: the effects of the modernisation agenda (Completed 2015) [Director of Studies]
  • Lynda Turner - An ethnographic study of transition in to Higher Education for undergraduate psychology students (EdD - awarded 2013)
  • Keith Schofield - People Learning in Organisations: a socio-cultural approach (Awarded 2013) [Director of Studies]
  • Gloria Seruwagi - Examining the agency and construction of ‘Orphans and Vulnerable Children’ in rural Uganda (Awarded 2013)[ Director of Studies]
  • Dennis Hyams-Ssekasi - (EdD – awarded 2012) The Transition of Sub-Saharan African Students to Higher Education study in the UK [Director of Studies]
  • Ena Trottman Jemott - (PhD – awarded 2012) A Grounded Theory to Understanding Police Officers and Child Care Officers Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Barbados
  • Thanos Saviddis - Leadership and multicultural education: an ecological systems exploration of a leader in a multicultural Cypriot primary school (EdD – awarded 2012) [Director of Studies]
  • Sally Thomas - An Investigation into how KS3 girls’ peer group activities during break times influence teachers and student behaviour and learning in lessons. (EdD – awarded 2012) [Director of Studies]
  • Helen Stivaros - An ecological perspective of children’s school experiences and educational outcome (PhD - awarded 2008) [Director of Studies]
  • Ian Barron - Exploring the emergence of ethnicity in nursery school children (EdD – awarded 2008) [Director of Studies]

Current supervision

  • Kirsty Snape – Learning and placements in Computing and Engineering undergraduate studies [Director of Studies]
  • Tianna Myers – Transition to postgraduate study in applied sciences [Director of Studies]
  • Sarah Passmore - Participation and learning in Further Education [Director of Studies]
  • Andrew Bland - Learning and simulation in an HE nursing context
  • Andrew Hooton - An exploration of transition to professional sports psychologist
  • Rebecca Murray - Identity, participation and chronic fatigue syndrome [Director of Studies]

Postgraduate research opportunities with Dr Jane Tobbell


MSc by Research

Enterprise Activities

Consultancy projects

  • Morris Hargreaves McIntyre – advisor on ‘Their Past, Your Future’ with Imperial War Museum (2008)
  • NHS – design and implementation of training evaluation document (2005)
  • Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service – design and implementation of assessment centre programme for selection and promotion (1999 – 2002)
  • University of Central Lancashire - Student engagement and satisfaction review (2004)
  • University of Manchester Post Graduate Dental School - Managing Diversity Writing and delivery of course, Continuing Professional Development (2002 – 2006)
  • Cardiff County Council - Selection and Assessment, Design of selection system for housing department, Managing and running assessment centres (1999)
  • GE Lighting - Pan-European Job Satisfaction Survey Design, Implementation, Analysis, Presentation of Results (1997)

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Stategic Lead for Implementation of Peer Mentoring for all students in the University
  • Ethics representative on the University Teaching and Learning Committee
  • School representative for the Teaching and Learning Festival
  • Lead for Teaching and Learning Seminars in the School
  • Member of School Teaching and Learning Committee
  • Member of the School Ethics committee

Teaching and Professional Activities

Module leader for:

  • HHB1052 – Psychology of Education
  • HMB1027 – Psychology of Education

I contribute to:

  • HIB2003 – Developmental and Social Psychology

Teaching and Learning Working Groups

  • From Monologue to Dialogue: change programme surrounding delivery of feedback in the Department of Behavioural and Social Sciences (2012 – present)
  • Chair, Inclusivity in Human and Health Sciences:  working group to enable engagement for all in Human and Health Sciences