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Dr Duna Sabri

Visiting Research Fellow


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About me

I completed my DPhil at the University of Oxford’s Department of Educational Studies in 2007, having worked at the Oxford Learning Institute for 9 years as an Educational Development Adviser. I have since taught on Masters’ programmes at both King’s and Oxford, and continue to undertake commissioned research and development projects. In particular I have undertaken a range of institutional research projects for the University of the Arts, London.


My research is in the sociology of higher education, pedagogy and institutional and (inter)national policy relating to HE. I am interested in the use of social theory in higher education research, and developed a theory of assumptive worlds (building on the work of Ken Young, Anthony Giddens and others) to analyse the values, experiences and inter-actions of students, academics and policy-makers.  

I use this interest in the interplay between macro structures and day-to-day practices to explore the reproduction of social inequalities and the nature of agency. For example, I explore the interplay between institutional structures and students’ decisions to persist with or leave higher education in a project based at the University of the Arts, London (2010) Student Departure and Persistence in Art and Design, UAL. Website:

My current research includes:

  • An analysis of the UK National Student Survey as a social and political object, drawing on the sociology of statistics
  • A longitudinal study of race, ethnicity and identity in art and design

I am a member of the Centre for Public Policy Research within DEPS.  I am also a member of the British Educational Research Association, the British Sociological Association, the Society for Educational Studies and the Society for Research into Higher Education



In preparation: Student Evaluations of Teaching as ‘fact-totems’: The case of the UK National Student Survey

Under review: Revisiting assumptive worlds: A theoretical framework

(2011) What’s wrong with ‘the student experience’? Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 32(5)

(2010) Absence of the academic from higher education policy, Journal of Education Policy 25(2) pp 191-205.

(2008) Faith in academia: integrating students’ faith stance into conceptions of their intellectual development (with Christopher Rowland, Jonathan Wyatt, Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Sarita Cargas and Helenann Hartley), Teaching in Higher Education, 13(1).


Most recent Reports:

(2011) Assumptions, habits and omissions in relation to the National Student Survey: Report for an art and design college.

(2010) National Student Survey at the University of the Arts, London: Voice, Interpretation and Context

(2010) Student Departure and Persistence in Art and Design, UAL. Website:

(2008) Student Retention: A Policy and Literature Review, PDF available from the above website.

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