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Dr Dave Middleton

Profile summary

  • Regional Academic Staff
  • Staff Tutor & Senior Lecturer (Wales)
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Polis, Phil, Econ, Dev, Geog
  • Politics
  • dave.middleton

Professional biography

Dave Middleton entered higher education as a mature student in 1985, aged 27. He spent two years at Coleg Harlech studying Economics and History. His interest switched to Sociology when he went to Cardiff University and he graduated with a first class honours degree in 1990.

After a brief period as a contract researcher, Dave worked for Mid Glamorgan County Council on a project looking at the implications of the European market for training amongst employers and employees in South Wales. Following this he joined TeamCare Valleys, a primary care initiative funded by the Welsh Office. Dave was a Research Officer working with the Postgraduate General Practitioner Group. Whilst there he developed a distant learning package entitled Community and Public Health in the Valleys.

After a brief stint at Gwent County Council analysing census returns in 1994 Dave acquired his first academic post with London Guildhall University teaching research methods. After completing his Masters in Research Methods at Cardiff University in 1994, he embarked upon a Ph.D. in 1997 under the tutelage of Professor John Edwards and Jonathan Seglow, at the University of London, Royal Holloway. He completed his thesis Respect: the moral infrastructure of justice in January 2004.

In 2005 Dave was the principle applicant on a successful bid to the HEFCE Fund for the Development of Teaching and Learning to develop a multi-media learning resource for politics postgraduate students. The resulting DVD ‘Doing Political Research’ was launched at the House of Commons in July 2008 and has since been used in over 20 UK University Departments. As a direct result of this project Dave wrote a number of papers on aspects of e-learning (see below).

Between 2006 and 2008 Dave was seconded to the University’s Research School where, as Academic Coordinator, he helped to reshape the postgraduate training curriculum across the University. He also completed a short secondment to the Centre for Learning and Professional Development where he produced a number of innovative multi-media modules.

Research interests

After spending some time looking at e-learning and innovative approaches to teaching, I have recently decided to return to my roots in political philosophy.

I am currently revamping my PhD thesis with the intention of publishing a book on the moral foundations of social justice. In the interim period, whilst I update my knowledge, I am planning to write a regular blog on respect, human dignity, morality, social justice.

PhD supervision

Dave Middleton welcomes PhD applications on the development of teaching and learning, especially the impact of e-learning, in politics; and the uses of innovative research methods in the study of political systems.

‘Putting the Learning into E-learning’ European Political Science (2010) 9, 5–12. doi:10.1057/eps.2009.37

There has been an increase in the use of e-learning as a form of delivering higher education. Much of the innovation has gone hand in hand with what has been called an ‘evaluation bypass’ and has seemingly been popular because of its economic efficiency. The literature on new technologies tends to be written by those committed to the innovation. They tend to present innovation as a good, regardless of what the innovation is, and ‘resistors’ as in some senses deviant. Using the example of the Higher Education Funding Council for England-funded multimedia project, ‘Doing Political Research’, this paper argues that some degree of scepticism about innovation can be seen as a positive response. Furthermore, the paper argues that the cost-saving arguments put forward by proponents of innovation are illusory. E-learning can be as costly as other means. However, it does offer alternative ways to teach and can be particularly effective at reaching isolated learners. The conclusion is that for e-learning to be effective it must place learning first.

‘When Eric met Sally: putting the drama into ethics teaching’ ELiSS, Vol 1 Issue 3, April 2009

This paper considers the use of a scripted drama in the teaching of ethics to postgraduate research students. The drama was developed as part of a suite of research training materials called Doing Political Research. These materials were developed with the purpose of using multimedia within an active learning environment. The paper argues that the approach is based on an appreciation of the role of film drama in teaching contexts. Whilst those who have used commercial films in their teaching have questioned the authenticity of the materials, it is argued that a specially scripted drama turns the relationship around. Instead of learning being implied through drama, the drama is constructed specifically to facilitate learning. This use of drama is based on aspects of role-play theory. Students are asked to empathise with the characters in the drama and to draw conclusions about the appropriateness of the characters’ actions.

‘Multimedia Learning: Lessons from the PARLE Project’ Dave Middleton and Karen Bridge European Political Science (2008) 7, 144–152. doi:10.1057/eps.2008.9

The Politics Active Research Learning Environment (PARLE) was a £250,000 project to develop multimedia learning materials aimed at politics postgraduate students. Although the project fulfilled all its ambitions, a number of lessons have been learned that might inform others wanting to use the multimedia route for their teaching. This paper considers some of the mistakes made, how they could have been avoided and lessons for the future production of collaborative projects such as PARLE.

Older publications

(2004) 'Why we should care about respect', Contemporary Politics Vol 10, 227-241.

(2002) 'Een "framing" analyse over de Kosovo-oorlog in de Nederlandse pers (vergeleken met de Brits en Italiaanse pers)', Tiddschrift voor Sociologie 3 / 4, 403-438 (with Jerry Palmer & Christ'l deLandtsheer).

(2000) 'Labour Market Flexibility, Security and Self-Respect', in Edwards J & Revauger J P (2000) Employment and Citizenship in Britain and France (Aldershot : Ashgate).

(2000) 'The press reporting of European Economic and Monetary Union in four European countries: A comparative analysis', in Baerns B & Raupp J (2000) Transnational Communication in Europe (Berlin : Vistas) (with Jerry Palmer & Marianne Law).

(1995) ‘In what ways can lone parents be regarded as peripheral in British society?', Health and Social Care in the Community; 3 (3) May 1995, p.151-61.

A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.


From despair to somewhere: activating students in a distance learning environment (2015-01)
Foley, Karen; Middleton, Dave and Fribbance, Ian
Practice and Evidence of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 9(1) (pp. 18-32)
Putting the learning into e-learning (2010-03-01)
Middleton, Dave
European Political Science, 9(1) (pp. 5-12)
When Eric met Sally: putting the drama into ethics teaching (2009)
Middleton, Dave
Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences, 1(3)
Multimedia learning: lessons from the PARLE Project (2008)
Middleton, Dave and Bridge, Karen
European Political Science(7) (pp. 144-152)
Three types of self-respect (2006-04)
Middleton, David
Res Publica, 12(1) (pp. 59-76)
Why we should care about respect (2004-12)
Middleton, David
Contemporary Politics, 10(3-4) (pp. 227-241)
Een 'framing' analyse over de Kosovo-oorlog in de Nederlandse pers (vergeleken met de Britse en Italiaanse pers) (2002)
De Landtsheer, Christ'l; Palmer, Jerry and Middleton, Dave
Tijdschrift voor Sociologie, 23(3-4) (pp. 403-438)
The loneliness of the long distance student: supervising students you rarely see (2012-03-09)
Middleton, Dave
In: Gormley-Heenan, Cathy and Lightfoot, Simon eds. Teaching Politics and International Relations
ISBN : 9780230300019 | Publisher : Palgrave MacMillan