Professor Pat SikesProfessor Pat Sikes Cert. Ed.,B.Ed., Ph.D.

Professor in Qualitative Inquiry
Tel: (+44) (0)114 222 8158

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I am supervising 19 doctoral students and teach the Doctoral Studies in Education module. I do a number of lectures on the MA and the BA and I co-ordinate EdD modules on 1. Contemporary Debates in Education and 2. Processes of Educational Research.



Auto/biographical Approaches
Pat is interested in qualitative inquiry per se and especially in the use and development of auto/biographical sociological approaches to research, including life history and autoethnography. In recent years she has designed and worked on projects that have used such approaches to study:

  • The perceptions and experiences of children, adolescents and young people who have a parent with young onset dementia (funded by the Alzheimer’s Society: view their website and Pat's project page);
  • The perceptions and experiences of secondary school teachers accused of sexual misconduct which they say they did not commit (see Sikes, P. and Piper, H. (2010) Researching Sex and Lies in the Classroom: Allegations of Sexual Misconduct in Schools, London, Routledge/Falmer);
  • The perceptions and experiences of students in the Caribbean enrolled on a University of Sheffield doctoral programme (see Sikes, P. (2013) ‘Working together for critical research ethics’, Compare, 43.4, pp 516 – 536).

Pat’s previous auto/biographical work has included investigations of: how becoming a parent affects professional practices; age and the male PE teacher; being an RE teacher in a secular society; pupil teacher relationships; and how university teachers experience the imperative to publish caused by the Research Assessment Exercise.

Re-presenting Research
Pat takes the view that the ways in which researchers write about their work and how they present their findings is never a neutral or objective matter. In recent years social scientists have begun to use a range of creative approaches, including narrative, fiction, poetics, and performance and Pat is personally involved in exploring, developing, using and making the case for, alternative forms of research writing.

Research Ethics
Pat is interested in issues around research ethics; ethics and auto/biographical research; ethical review and research governance; and research ethics in the internationalised university.


Selected Activities



Click here for Journal Articles

Hall, M. & Sikes, P. (2016) ‘From ‘What the hell is going on?’ to the ‘Mushy middle ground’ to ‘Getting used to a new normal’: young people’s narratives around navigating parental dementia’ Illness, Crisis and Loss DOI:10.1177/1054137316651384 (gold access)

Sikes, P. & Hall, M. (2016) ‘“It was then that I thought 'whaat? This is not my Dad”: the implications of the ‘still the same person’ narrative for children and young people who have a parent with dementia’ Dementia Online First DOI:10.1177/1471301216637204 (gold access)

Goodson, I., Sikes, P., Andrews, M. & Antikainen, A. (Eds) (2016) The Routledge International Handbook of Narrative and Life History London, Routledge

Sikes, P. (Ed) (2013) Autoethnography Sage Benchmarks in Social Science Series – 4 volume

Sikes, P. & Piper, H. (Eds) (2011) Ethics and Academic Freedom in Educational Research London, Routledge

Sikes, P. & Piper, H. (2011) ‘Researching Allegations of Sexual Misconduct in Schools: The Need for a Narrative Approach’ Sexuality Research and Social Policy 7, 1, pp. 294 -303

Sikes P. (2010) ‘Researching Teacher-student sexual relations: Key Risks and Ethical Issues’ Ethnography and Education 5, 2, pp.143 – 157 Print 1745 7823 Online 1745 7831

Sikes, P. (2009) ‘Will the real author come forward? Questions of ethics, plagiarism, theft and collusion in academic research’ International Journal of Research & Method in Education 32, 1, pp. 13 - 24

Sikes, P. & Potts, A. (Eds) (2008) Researching Education From the Inside: Investigating Institutions From Within London, Routledge/Falmer

Sikes, P. & Sikes-Sheard, R. (2008) ‘Becoming a Doctor’ Creative Approaches To Research (online) Volume 1, Issue 2; 2008; 23-34. ISSN: 1835-9434. [cited 28 Nov 08]

Sikes, P. (2008) ‘At the Eye of the Storm: An Academic(s) Experience of Moral Panic’ Qualitative Inquiry 14, 2, pp. 235 -253

Sikes, P. (2006) ‘Scandalous Stories and Dangerous Liaisons: When Male Teachers and Female Pupils Fall in Love’ Sex Education 6, 3, pp. 265 – 280

Sikes, P. (2005) ‘Storying Schools: Issues Around Attempts To Create a Sense of Feel and Place in Narrative Research Writing’ Qualitative Research 5, 1, pp. 79 - 94

Sikes, P., Nixon, J. & Carr, W. (Eds) (2003) The Moral Foundations of Educational Research: Knowledge, Inquiry and Values Maidenhead, Open University Press/McGraw Hill Educational

Goodson, I. & Sikes, P. (2001) Life History in Educational Settings: Learning From Lives, Buckingham, Open University Press

Sikes, P. (1997) Parents Who Teach: Stories From Home and From School, London, Cassells

Sikes, P., Measor, L. & Woods, P. (1985) Teacher Careers: Crises and Continuities, Lewes, Falmer