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Welcome to WELS research

Research in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies is concerned with enabling people and communities to thrive within an increasingly complex, insecure and unequal world. We recognise that having a voice and experiencing agency is vital for personal wellbeing and democratic renewal and we work both in the UK and in broader global development contexts to ensure that excluded, vulnerable and complexly disadvantaged people are enabled to shape the research that impacts their lives.

Find out more about our REF results.


Research areas

All of our research interests are united by a strong commitment to interdisciplinarity - drawing strength from the breadth of our academics' experience and specialisms. We are also strongly driven by the OU's social justice ethos and our research aims to enable communities and individuals to thrive in an increasingly demanding and unequal world.



How our research is making a real difference to people's lives.


Research highlights

Read more about some of our award-winning and pioneering research projects.


Research degrees

Join our vibrant community of PHD and Professional Doctorate students.

PRAXIS Center for Scholarship and Innovation  


Our scholarship and innovation centre PRAXIS brings together all our academic expertise to undertake sustained and intentional inquiry into learning, teaching and assessment practices in higher education.

Knowledge exchange  

Partner with us

Whether you are looking to train and develop your staff, or need access to an academic consultant to develop new solutions, we offer a wide variety of ways for organisations to harness our expertise.

Research news

Woman holding a homemade cardboard sign saying my body, my choice. It's partially covering her face.

Researchers find more support needed for self-managed abortions

Researchers from the OU's Faculty of WELS are investigating how self-managed abortions relate to social connectedness and issues of reproductive control and autonomy. A new paper examines the experiences of self-managed abortion during the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to support available from professionals, family and friends. 

28th March 2024
Person sitting while using laptop computer and green stethoscope near

New research investigates services for bereaved families

The Open University (OU) has embarked on a groundbreaking study examining the impact of the Medical Examiners Service on families coping with loss.

6th March 2024
Joyful woman in sport clothes dancing at home

Online dance sessions beneficial to unpaid carers

Research at the OU finds that online dancing for unpaid adult carers proves beneficial to their mental and physical health.

6th March 2024
An elderly lady wearing a pink sweater is holding a remote personal alarm. It's around her neck with a lanyard and she's pressing a large red button.

OU research finds gap in smart home technology for older people

The search for innovative solutions to cater for the UK’s population is on the rise as our healthcare systems experience ever increasing pressure. Researchers at the OU have called for further exploration in assisting older people in their daily lives, specifically via the use of remote monitoring technologies and smart homes.

31st January 2024