SEARCH: a meta-framework and review of the field of positive education

Available under license: Creative Commons Attribution

Waters, L and Loton, Daniel ORCID: 0000-0003-4106-0555 (2019) SEARCH: a meta-framework and review of the field of positive education. International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 4 (1-2). pp. 1-46. ISSN 2364-5040


This paper presents a data-driven, meta-framework to support evidence-based decisions for researchers and practitioners when designing, investigating and implementing positive education interventions: the SEARCH framework. SEARCH was developed through a two-stage process. Stage one comprised a large-scale bibliometric review and thematic grouping of topics based on natural language processing of over 18,403 positive psychology studies. Stage two involved action-research with ten schools testing the practical validity of the wellbeing themes identified in stage one with educators. The result of these two stages identified six overarching pathways to wellbeing that formed the SEARCH framework: 1) strengths, 2) emotional management, 3) attention and awareness, 4) relationships, 5) coping and 6) habits and goals. The aim of this current review paper was to examine the existing educational and psychology literature for evidence of whether each SEARCH pathway has been found to successfully foster student wellbeing. Seventy five peer-reviewed studies (total student N = 35,888) were reviewed from North America, Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Results demonstrate the value and applicability of the SEARCH framework. The comprehensive review conducted in this paper is then used to discuss current gaps in positive education research as well as present the utility of SEARCH as a framework to support positive education science and practice.

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Item type Article
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3904 Specialist studies in education
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords SEARCH, positive education, education, psychology
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