Dr. Dean Cairns

Dr. Dean Cairns

Dr. Dean Cairns

Associate Professor in Science Education


  • PhD in Polymer Chemistry, Sussex University, United Kingdom
  • MSc in Polymer Science, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
  • BSc in Chemistry, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Secondary Science Education, Advanced Skills Teacher Accreditation, Southampton University, United Kingdom
  • NCFE CACHE Level 3 Cert in Assessing Vocational Achievement, UAE


Dr. Dean Cairns is an Associate Professor in Science Education at the Emirates College for Advanced Education. He holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Sussex, an MSc in Polymer Science from Lancaster University, a BSC in Chemistry from Lancaster University, a PGCE in Secondary Science Education from the University of Southampton and is currently completing an EdD in Education from the University of Bath.

Prior to his current role, he has worked as a research scientist in various European countries, a science teacher and education advisor in the UK for several years, and more recently, as a science education advisor for the Abu Dhabi school system.

His research has transitioned from pure science research to science pedagogy, with a current focus on instructional methods such as inquiry learning and direct instruction, and the underlying epistemological assumptions inherent in science learning. He predominantly works with international large-scale datasets and has a number of publications in this area that employ hierarchical linear modelling and structural equation modeling methods.


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Research Journals

  • Cairns, D. & Areepattamannil, S. (2022). Teacher-Directed Learning Approaches and Science Achievement: Investigating the Importance of Instructional Explanations in Australian Schools. Research in Science Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-021-10002-0
  • Dickson, M., McMinn, M. & Cairns, D. (2021). Children’s perceptions of Scientists and themselves as Scientists in the Classroom. International Journal on Math, Science and Technology Education. https://doi.org/10.31129/LUMAT.9.1.1605
  • Cairns, D., Dickson, M., & McMinn, M. (2021). “Feeling Like a Scientist”: Factors Affecting Students’ Selections of Technology Tools in the Science Classroom. Journal of Science Education and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-021-09917-0
  • Cairns, D. & Dickson, M. (2021). Exploring the Relations of Gender, Science Dispositions and Science Achievement on STEM Career Aspirations for Adolescents in Public Schools in the UAE. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40299-020-00522-0
  • Balala, M., Cairns, D. & Areepattamannil, S. (2021). Investigating the Associations of Early Numeracy Activities and Skills with Mathematics Dispositions, Engagement, and Achievement among Fourth Graders in the United Arab Emirates. Large-scale Assessments in Education. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40536-021-00106-4
  • Areepattamannil, S., Cairns, D., & Dickson, M. (2020). Teacher-Directed Versus Inquiry-Based Science Instruction: Investigating Links to Adolescent Students’ Science Dispositions Across 65 Countries.  Journal of Science Teacher Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/1046560X.2020.1753309
  • Cairns, D. (2019). Investigating the relationship between instructional practices and science achievement in an inquiry-based learning environment. The International Journal of Science Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2019.1660927
  • Areepattamannil, S. & Cairns, D. (2019). Examining the psychometric properties of a modified Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale: A Rasch measurement approach. Psychological Studies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12646-019-00510-5
  • Cairns, D. & Areepattamannil, S. (2017). Exploring the Relations of Inquiry-Based Teaching to Science Achievement and Dispositions in 54 Countries. Research in Science Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-017-9639-x

Books, Chapters in Books and Other Book Chapters

  • Dickson, M., Fidalgo, P. & Cairns, D. (In-press). The ‘S’ and ‘T’ in STEM: Integrating Science and Educational Technology in UAE Schools. In Gallagher, K. (Ed.), Education in the UAE: Innovation and Transformation.

Editorial Duties

Editorial advisory board member, (2018). Interdisciplinary and International Perspectives on 3D Printing in Education. IGI Global.