For over 30 years he has been engaged in research, teaching and publication.
In particular, he is interested in qualitative research methods generally and has published books on methodology with the OU Press, 2002 and 2006 and with Routledge 2008 and 2010 that develops several innovative approaches to doing research in multi-professional and multidisciplinary contexts.
His research career began when in 1979 he became a fulltime doctoral student at the Centre for Applied Research in Education (CARE), University of East Anglia.
His first supervisor was Lawrence Stenhouse who was CARE's first director and along with Barry Macdonald founded CARE.
Following his studentship in 1983 he became a senior research associate at CARE, moved through the ranks to become a professor and in 1999 to became Director of CARE. He moved to Manchester Metropolitican University in 2003.
During his career he has been involved in around 70 funded research projects most of which have focused on innovation, curriculum processes and workplace learning. One of his most recent projects was with Andy Ramwell, also at MMU, which involved researching a major national project called Barclays' Spaces for Sports programme that looked at the potential impacts on local communities of investments in deprived areas.
Following the successful development of a 'quasi-distance learning' masters course for the Enquiry Learning Unit which he directed at UEA between 1992 and 1996 he placed the core materials of the course on-line. From this the on-line website still called the Enquiry Learning Unit (ELU) has been supplemented by a large number of working papers. This is an entirely free resource which many have found useful over the years.
With Jill Schostak he is continuing to explore emancipatory research methodologies and in the early stages of developing alternative approaches to writing and research at Imaginative Spaces.