Dr Malcolm Thorburn

Honorary Fellow


After teaching extensively in secondary schools and occupying a number of curriculum development roles at local authority and national level, my Ph.D research focus was on the conceptual, pedagogical and assessment issues associated with examination awards in physical education. Part of the research involved analysing the coherence of the rationales advanced for examination awards as these were often based on a rather untested series of assumptions. This research triggered a wider interest in philosophical ideas in education and the extent to which coherent ideas and values underpin policy aspirations and pedagogical advice.

My current research is on reviewing experiential learning opportunities in outdoor learning and the nature of the integration between physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing in physical education and education in general. Additionally, I have a research interest on the lives and careers of veteran teachers in terms of understanding better the factors influencing their resilience and commitment, and their views on professional development more widely.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss associated research ideas with students considering Ph.D awards and with colleagues interested in shared writing projects.


BEd (Hons) Physical Education (Jordanhill College; Scottish School of Physical Education)

  • MEd Education (Aberdeen University)
  • PhD Physical Education (University of Edinburgh)

Responsibilities & affiliations

I have peer reviewed papers for the following journals (among others).

British Educational Research Journal

Cambridge Journal of Education

Curriculum Journal

Educational Review

Environmental Education Research

European Physical Education Review

International Journal of Inclusive Education

Irish Educational Studies

Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning

Journal of Curriculum Studies

Journal of Education Policy

Journal of Pedagogy

Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy

Research Papers in Education

Scottish Educational Review

Sport, Education and Society

Undergraduate teaching

MA Physical Education

  • Research Methods
  • Research Dissertations
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy

Postgraduate teaching

MEd Educational Research

  • Research Methods

Areas of interest for supervision

I welcome the opportunity to discuss associated research ideas with students considering Ph.D awards.

Current PhD students supervised

  • Kotryna Grinkeviciutes- The effect of formal leadership on board on developing interpersonal skills among trainees during sail training

Research summary

  • conceptions of well-being and their implications for education
  • values in education
  • knowledge representation in practical learning environments
  • the aims and intentions of physical education in schools
  • outdoor learning in schools
  • the careers of veteran teachers
  • curriculum change in physical education and health and wellbeing
  • John Dewey, reconstructing John Dewey

View all 128 publications on Research Explorer