Dr Michael Wigelsworth

Senior Lecturer in Psychology of Education

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I am a senior lecturer in the Psychology of Education within the Manchester Institute of Education at the University of Manchester. I arrived at the University in 2007 where I completed an M.Ed in Psychology of Education and subsequent PhD Education in 2010. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2015.  I mainly teach on the M.Ed 'Psychology of Education' a responsibilities for quantitative methods and statistics, and current issues in special educational needs.

My work explores ways in which to improve child mental health and well-being through school based settings, typically in the form of empirical testing of theoretically derived interventions in schools.  As the projects are typically large and complex, I often work collaboratively within a team, providing a specific and unique contribution in the assessment of outcomes and impact.  For instance, advising on appropriate data collection, the construction of statistical models of analysis, and the interpretation and discussion of results.  I see my research agenda as broadly encapsulate by the question, “what works in improving child mental health, in which circumstances, and for whom?” I have used this to challenge the orthodoxy by which interventions are implemented and considered ‘successful’.  Accordingly, a portion of my work is within a realist evaluation paradigm, although I expand beyond this by informing advances in theory, practice and policy outside of specific interventions. For instance, I have challenged the convention of ‘universal gains’ in school-based programmes, in favour of a ‘diminishing effects’ model, questioned how well we can assess impact in relation to the quality of available measurement (and further developed my own measurement tools), debated the importance of wider ecological factors such as school context when assessing impact, and have argued for the examination of additional contextual factors in future research.

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