Dr Patrick White

Associate Professor

BSc (Bristol), PGCE[FE] (Wales), DipRes (Wales), PhD (Wales)

Room: 1.13 Astley Clarke Building, University of Leicester, Leicester, LE1 7RH
Tel: +44 (0)11-6223-1450
Email: patrick.white@le.ac.uk

Personal details

BSc (Bristol), PGCE[FE] (Wales), DipRes (Wales), PhD (Wales)


I am a teacher and researcher who is passionate about developing students’ understanding and engagement with quantitative data and statistical analysis, and who is committed to conducting high quality research that is relevant to policymakers and practitioners.

I have specialised in teaching research methods and quantitative analysis to students in higher education for almost two decades. In that time, I have written, convened and taught on modules aimed at students from many different disciplines, at various educational levels, and in several institutions. I have also published key textbooks, articles and chapters on methods and teaching statistics. My YouTube channel containing SPSS tutorial videos has attracted more than 750,000 views.


My research is primarily in the area of educational and labour market participation, but I have also worked on two projects focussing on research methods. My key areas of research can be summarised as follows:

The Career Trajectories of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Graduates
I have most recently worked on the supply of STEM graduates, following an award from the Nuffield Foundation. This project was based on the analysis of large-scale secondary data sets and led to a series of journal articles, conference presentations and invited written commentaries, as well as a guest speaker slot at the Women into Science and Engineering annual conference.

Patterns of Participation in Lifelong Learning
This work was based on gaining access to large scale secondary data sets collected by the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) and resulted in international collaboration on publications.

The Teaching Labour Market
I have worked on secondary data analyses funded by both the Graduate Teacher Training Agency (TTA) and by the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) looking into the issue of teacher ‘shortages’.

Educational and Occupational Choice
I have worked on an ESRC-funded project on school choice and segregation, and my ESRC-funded doctoral research was on students’ post-16 educational and career choices. These projects were conducted using a range of methods, including interviews and documentary analysis.

Building Research Capacity and Teaching Research Methods
I was employed on the ESRC’s first research capacity building project and on a study of research capacity in education in Wales. I have since created resources for, and commentaries on, teaching research methods to social scientists.

Funded research projects

  • The Employment Trajectories of STEM Graduates (Nuffield Foundation, £46,214)
  • Evaluation of the 'Youth United' Social Action Trial (Education Endowment Foundation, £101,879)
  • Evaluation of the 'Children's University' Social Action Trial (Education Endowment Foundation, £152,484)
  • Replication of Work Reported in ‘Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India (International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3IE) US$15,000)
  • A Critique of DFE Research Report DFE-RR149 ‘PISA 2009 Study: How Big is the Gap? A Comparison of Pupil Attainment in England with the Top Performing Countries (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) £7,480)
  • Indicators of Urban Drawing Power: Exploratory Data Collection (Comedia £2,000)
  • Research into Ethnic Minorities in Monmouthshire (Monmouthshire County Council £5,000)
  • Teacher Shortages, Morale and Commitment: An International School-Level Analysis (Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) £1,900)
  • Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Wales (General Teaching Council, Wales (GTCW) £10,000)


Over the past 18 years the majority of my teaching has focused on making statistical analysis accessible and enjoyable for social science students. I teach at various levels, from undergraduate to post-doc, and have also given many guest lectures in schools, colleges and other universities. I have taught students from a wide range of social science backgrounds including: sociology, criminology, politics, media, education, law and social work.

I have developed a series of SPSS tutorial videos hosted on YouTube which have proved hugely popular for students and many others. My forthcoming textbook, Straightforward Statistics, builds on the approach used in my teaching and videos.

My textbook, Developing Research Questions was one of the first texts on the topic and is the only one to have been published as a second edition.




I am interested in supervising postgraduate students in the area of educational participation and inequality. I have particular expertise in the following areas: Education and career choice; further and higher education; lifelong learning; and education, training and the labour market. I am especially interested in supervising studies using large-scale secondary data sources and mixed methods approaches.

Find out more about applying for a PhD

YouTube SPSS video tutorials

I have made some YouTube videos to introduce students to conducting basic statistical analyses using the SPSS software package. They can be viewed here.




  • White, P. (2017) Developing Research Questions (2nd Edn.) (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).
  • White, P. (2009) Developing Research Questions: A Guide for Social Scientists (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).
  • White, P. (2007) Education and Career Choice: A New Model of Decision Making (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).
  • Gorard, S., See, B.H., Smith, E. and White, P. (2006) Teacher Supply: The Key Issues (London: Continuum).

Journal articles

  • White, P. and Smith, E. (accepted) 'Female STEM graduates in the UK labour market: from subject choice to career path', Oxford Review of Education.
  • Smith, E. and White, P. (in press) 'Moving along the STEM pipeline? The long-term employment patterns of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths graduates in the United Kingdom', Research Papers in Education. DOI: 10.1080/02671522.2020.1849374.
  • Smith, E. and White, P. (2019) 'Where do all the STEM graduates go? Higher education, the labor market and career trajectories in the United Kingdom', Journal of Science Education and Technology. 28, pp. 26-40. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-018-9741-5
  • White, P. and Gorard, S. (2017) 'Against inferential statistics: how and why current statistics teaching gets it wrong.', The Statistics Education Research Journal. 16(1), Special Issue on Statistical Literacy. Available online: https://goo.gl/8Ugrwq
  • Gorard, S. and White, P. (2017) 'Still against inferential statistics: a reply to Nicholson and Ridgway', The Statistics Education Research Journal. 16(1), Special Issue on Statistical Literacy. Available online: https://goo.gl/oe2d2g
  • Smith, E. and White, P., (2016): A ‘great way to get on’? The early career destinations of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates, Research Papers in Education, 32(2), pp. 231-253. DOI: 10.1080/02671522.2016.1167236
  • Smith, E. and White, P. (2015) 'What Makes a Successful Undergraduate? The relationship between student characteristics, degree subject and academic success at university', 41(4), pp. 686-708. British Educational Research Journal. Available online. DOI: 10.1002/berj.3158.
  • White, P. (2014) A Response to Gorard: The widespread abuse of statistics by researchers: What is the problem and what is the ethical way forward?', The Psychology of Education Review38(1), pp. 24-28.
  • White, P. (2013) 'Who’s Afraid of Research Questions? The Neglect of Research Questions in the Methods Literature and a Call for Question-led Methods Teaching', International Journal of Research and Method in Education36(3), Special Issue: Teaching and Learning Research Methodology, pp. 213-227. <DOI:10.1080/1743727X.2013.809413>. [Click on this link for online research access via publisher]
  • White, P. and Selwyn, N. (2013) 'Moving Online? An Analysis of Patterns of Adult Internet Use in the UK, 2002 to 2010', Information, Communication and Society16(1), February, pp. 1-27. <DOI:10.1080/1369118X.2011.611816>. [Click on this link for online access via publisher]
  • White, P. (2012) 'Modelling the 'Learning Divide': Predicting Participation in Adult Learning and Future Learning Intentions, 2002 to 2010', British Educational Research Journal38(1), February, pp. 153-175, <DOI:10.1080/01411926.2010.529871>. [Click on this link for online access via publisher]
  • White, P. and Selwyn, N. (2012) 'Learning Online? Educational Internet Use and Participation in Adult Learning, 2002 to 2010', Educational Review64(4), November, pp. 451-469, <DOI:10.1080/00131911.2011.626123>. [Click on this link for online access via publisher]
  • Smith, E. and White, P. (2011) 'Who is Studying Science? The Impact of Widening Participation Policies on the Social Composition of UK Undergraduate Science Programmes', Journal of Education Policy26(5), pp. 677-699, <DOI:10.1080/02680939.2010.540676>. [Click on this link for online access via publisher]
  • Gorard, S., See, B.H., Smith, E. and White, P.(2007) 'What Can We Do to Strengthen the Teacher Workforce?', International Journal of Lifelong Education26(4), pp. 419-437.
  • White, P. (2007) 'Choosing at School: A Model of Decision-making Behaviour within Compulsory Education', Evaluation and Research in Education20(1), pp. 32-52.
  • White, P., Gorard, S.and See, B.H. (2006) 'What Are the Problems with Teacher Supply?', Teaching and Teacher Education22, pp. 315-326.
  • White, P. and Smith E. (2005) 'What Can PISA Tell Us About Teacher Shortages?', European Journal of Education40(1), pp. 92-112.
  • See, B.H., Gorard, S., White, P. and Roberts, K. (2004) 'Teacher Demand: Crisis, What Crisis?', Cambridge Journal of Education, 34(1), pp. 103-123.
  • White, P., Gorard, S., Fitz, J. and Taylor, C. (2001) 'Regional and Local Differences in Admission Arrangements', Oxford Review of Education27(3), pp. 317-337.
  • White, P.(2001) 'A Review of Educational Research in Wales', The Welsh Journal of Education10(2), pp. 105-110.
  • White, P.and Gorard, S. (1999) 'Ethnicity, Attainment and Progress: A Cautionary Note Regarding Percentages and Percentage Points', Research in Education62, pp. 66-69.

Book chapters

  • White, P.(2016) 'Research Questions in Education Research: their neglect, role and development', in Wyse, D. et al. (Eds.) The BERA/Sage Handbook of Educational Research. London: Sage.
  • White, P.(2002) 'They Told Me I Couldn't Do That: Ethical Issues of Intervention in Careers Education and Guidance Research', in Welland, Trevor and Pugsley, Lesley (eds.) Ethical Dilemmas in Educational Research, Cardiff Papers in Qualitative Research (Aldershot: Ashgate), chapter 3, pp. 32-41. [Click on this link for more information via publisher]

Official reports and related publications

  • Smith, E. and White, P. (2018) The employment trajectories of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics graduates. Full Report. Executive Summary.
  • Smith, E. and White, P. (2012) A critique of DFE Research Report DFE-RR149 PISA 2009 Study: How big is the gap? A comparison of pupil attainment in England with the top performing countries (NASUWT).
  • White, P. and Smith, E. (2003) Teacher Shortages, Turnover and Morale: An International Analysis of their Perceived Impact on Student Learning (London: UCET). [Click this link to go to UCET]
  • White, P. and Welland, T. (2003) The Ethnic Minority Population of Monmouthshire: Analysis of Secondary Data and Exploratory Fieldwork (Cwmbran: Monmouthshire County Council).
  • White, P., See, B.H., Gorard, S. and Roberts, K. (2003) Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Wales (Cardiff: General Teaching Council Wales). [Click this link to download as PDF]
  • Gorard, S., See, B.H. and White, P. (2003) 'Teacher Supply and Retention', submission to House of Commons Select Committee Inquiry into Teacher Retention.
  • Furlong, J. and White, P. (2001) Educational Research Capacity in Wales: A Review (Cardiff: Cardiff University/UCET).

Other publications

  • White, P. (2019) ‘There’s no shortage of female STEM graduates, so why do most never work in science?’, King’s College London New Centre, https://bit.ly/39ZTV1p
  • White, P. (2019) ‘Why good research always starts with a good research question’, Macmillan International Higher Education, https://bit.ly/3xoN9fi
  • White, P. (2019) ‘Do STEM employers need female graduates more than women need careers in science?’ Women into Science and Engineering, https://bit.ly/3dQcx58
  • White, P. (2006) 'Crisis, What Crisis? Research and Education', Sociology Review16(2), pp. 8-11.
  • White, P. (2005) 'Heads Crisis Case Unproven', Times Educational Supplement, 30 September, p. 26.
  • White, P. (2004) 'Quality Counts: The Use of Numbers in Social Research', Sociology Review14(2), pp. 14-16.
  • White, P. (2004) 'Missing Comparators', letter to Significance, September 2004 issue.
  • White, P., Gorard, S., See, B.H. and Roberts, K. (2003) 'Review of Teacher Recruitment, Supply and Retention in Wales', School of Social Sciences Working Papers Series Number 41, Cardiff University. [101 pages, ISBN 1 904815 01 4]
  • White, P., Taylor, C. and Gorard, S. (2002) 'Building Research Capacity', Learning and Skills Research Nework5(3), Summer, p. 53.
  • Fitz, J., Taylor, C., Gorard, S. and White, P. (2001) 'Local Educational Authorities and the Regulation of Educational Markets: Four Case Studies', Occasional Paper 41, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. [48 pages, ISBN 1 872330 46 0]
  • White, P., Gorard, S. and Fitz, J. (1999) 'An Analysis of Local School Admission Arrangements', School of Social Sciences Working Paper Series Number 35, Cardiff University. [23 pages, ISBN 1 872330 26 6]
  • White, P. , Gorard, S. and Fitz, J. (1999) 'The New Legislation on School Admissions', School of Social Sciences Working Paper Number 32, Cardiff University. [17 pages, ISBN 1 872330 29 0]

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