A day in the life: James McNaughton

 In A day in the life, Headline

What’s your name?

James Andrew McNaughton

Where are you from?


What do you do?

I’m a research associate and developer.

How did you get into this job?

I got involved in research work during my time as a Computer Science undergraduate where I started working with the Technology Enhanced Learning group.  I chose to work with this group as it was a chance to use the Computer Science skills I was learning to help research supporting Education, a subject close to my heart.  I was very disengaged during a lot of my early education and did poorly as a result.  It was only later when I went to a secondary school with a better approach to learning that I found myself interested in the subject matter and managed to excel.  I believe there are a lot of students in similar circumstance who could excel with the right support which is why I now take any opportunity that allows me to aid in furthering research that could improve the quality of education and support to learners.

How are you involved with evidencebased.education?

I am currently building an online assessment which supplies users with rich feedback about their assessed abilities as part of the Research Engagement Framework.

What motivates you when things get tough?

The thought that there is always a solution to any real problem.

How would your colleagues describe you?

Full of surprises.

When you’re not working, how do you switch off?

I go walking, and if that’s not possible I practice my guitar.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

I was able to present some of my work at the Royal Society to many well-respected Education researchers and ministers in 2012.

If you could change one thing in your career, what would it be?

I would have preferred to have started on my PhD earlier so that I could have continued my work as a full-time Research Associate.



Quick-fire round:

Up with the larks, or burning the midnight oil?
Both, but I prefer burning the midnight oil.

Relaxing beach break or activity holiday?
Activity holiday, beaches are boring.

Tea or coffee?
Tea, I’m the only developer in the world who doesn’t drink coffee it seems.

City or country?
Country (better walking).

Board game or movie?
Movie, though I love some board games… and at least don’t always lose when watching movies.

What song would be the soundtrack to your life?
Work is Never Done – The Futureheads


And finally, tell us one interesting fact about yourself.

I run two blogs, one about my research work (jamcnaughton.com) and one about walking (northernpaths.com).

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German translation