Tom Fryer


Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


I'm a lecturer at the Manchester Institute of Education. My research and teaching focuses broadly on education, inequality, and social justice. 

As a mixed methods researcher, I have a particular interest in evaluation and research methods, and their underlying philosophical foundations. My work aims to provide accessible accounts in this area, including A Short Guide to Ontology and Epistemology, with a specific focus on critical realism. 

Research interests

My various research interests are united by a focus on equitable education systems. In particular, I explore the ways that education systems can reproduce inequalities, as well as the opportunities for transformation. 

My recent work has included a number of strands: 

  • Access to university, with a focus on UCAS personal statements. 
  • Graduate outcomes from HE (students' political attitudes and graduates' job quality).
  • Elite private education and its impact. 

In addition, I am active in publishing on critical realism, and its implications for research designs and methodologies. 


I teach on MSc Research Methods, MA International Education, PGR Training Programme, and BSc Education. Although my teaching commitments vary from year to year, I have a particular focus on research methods. The following are indicative of my contributions: 

  • EDUC 60011 Engaging with Education Research
  • EDUC 71331 Concepts and Practices of International Education
  • EDUC 60452 Research Methods II
  • EVDV 70022 Quantitative Research
  • EDUC 71232 Intercultural Engagement at Work and in Communities

I also supervise dissertation projects for both MA International Education and BSc Education. 


I am a Fellow of Advance HE (awarded in 2023). 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Areas of expertise

  • LB2300 Higher Education
  • Graduate Outcomes
  • Critical Realism
  • Social Justice
  • Widening Participation
  • Higher education
  • Access


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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