Richard Kimbell

Staff details

Position Emeritus Professor of Design Education
Department Design
Email r.kimbell (
Phone +44 (0)20 7919 7780


BAEd, PGCE, MA and PhD supervision concerning teaching learning and assessment

Areas of supervision

I have successfully completed supervisons with 12 PhD students since 1994, with two currently underway. My research student supervision is located in the following broadly defined areas:

  • design teaching and learning
  • performance assessment
  • national policy in curriculum and assessment)
  • creativity, imagination and design
  • learning spaces and resources
  • design practice notation and analysis
  • research methods in practice domains

Research Interests

In 1990 I founded the Technology Education Research Unit (TERU) and have since directed research projects for Research Councils (eg ESRC), government departments (eg DfID, DfES, DCSF), industry (eg LEGO), charitable bodies (eg NESTA), Design and Science museums in London and professional organisations (eg Engineering Council). Projects have also been run with overseas agencies including the National Science Foundation in the USA, the National Academies in Washington, the North West Province Curriculum Council in South Africa, and the West Australia Curriculum Council.

The projects I have directed in the last RAE round (2001-2007) are listed below (see Grants and Awards) and are typically centred on aspects of curriculum and assessment in schools. The most recent focus of our work (project e-scape) is based on the dynamic creation of e-portfolios - using hand-held digital devices – and in several subjects (science and geography as well as design & technology). The web-based nature of the portfolios has subsequently enabled us to develop a radical new assessment methodology based on Thurstone pairs-wise comparisons. The methodology enables far higher reliability than is possible with conventional assessment approaches for portfolios. We are negotiating the replication of this work in parallel projects elsewhere – including West Australia.



Kimbell, Richard and Stables, Kay. 2007. Researching Design Learning: Issues and findings from two decades of research and development. Springer, p. 326. ISBN 9781402051142

Conference or Workshop Item

Stables, Kay and Kimbell, Richard. 2007. 'Evidence through the looking glass: developing performance and assessing capability.'. In: 13th International Conference on Thinking: Curious Minds Think and Learn by Exploring the Unknown. Norrköping, Sweden June 17-21, 2007.


Stables, Kay and Kimbell, Richard. 2001. Technology Education in South Africa: Evaluating an Innovative Pilot Project. Research in Science Education, 31(1), pp. 71-90. ISSN 0157244X

Book Section

Kimbell, Richard and Stables, Kay. 2009. Research as a design task. In: Alister Jones and Marc de Vries, eds. International Handbook on Research and Development in Technology Education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp. 599-614. ISBN 978-90-8790-878-2

Kimbell, Richard and Stables, Kay. 2008. Designerly Thinking Beyond Design. In: Kajsa Borg and Viveca Lindberg, eds. Kunskap, lärande och bedömning i estetiska och praktiska ämnen [Knowledge, learning and assessment in aesthetical and manual school subjects]. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press, pp. 188-198. ISBN 9789176566565

Kimbell, Richard. 2007. Project e-scape: A Web-based Approach to Design and Technology Learning and assessment. In: B. Choksi and C. Natarajan, eds. epiSTEME-2 Proceedings. 2: Res India: MacMillan India Ltd, pp. 173-190. ISBN 97802306306

Stables, Kay and Kimbell, Richard. 2006. Unorthodox methodologies: Approaches to understanding design and technology. In: M. deVries and I. Mottier, eds. International handbook of technology education: Reviewing the past twenty years. Sense Publishers, pp. 313-330. ISBN 9077874062

Kimbell, Richard. 2006. Innovative Technological Performance. In: J. Dakers, ed. Defining Technological Literacy: towards an epistemological framework. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 159-179. ISBN 1403970378

Kimbell, Richard. 2004. Design and Technology. In: John White, ed. Rethinking the School Curriculum: Values, Aims and Purposes. Falmer: Routledge, pp. 45-57. ISBN 0415306795


Miller, Soo; Kimbell, Richard; Wheeler, T. and Pollitt, A.. 2007. E-scape Portfolio Assessment - a research and development project for the Department of Education and Skills (DfES) and the Qualifications Curriculum Authority (QCA). Phase 2 report. Project Report. Technology Education Research Unit.

Miller, Soo; Kimbell, Richard; Wheeler, T. and Shepherd, T.. 2005. E-scape Portfolio Assessment Project e-scape: Phase 1 report. Project Report. TERU, London.

Bain, Jennifer; Kimbell, Richard; Miller, Soo and Stables, Kay. 2004. Assessing Design Innovation: a research & development project for the DfES and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Project Report. Technology Education Research Unit, UK.