PhD Students & Completions


Lucy Moore (supervisors Professor Ben Oakley and Dr Alex Twitchen) is studying her PhD part time, researching sociological approaches to high performance sport policy development and implementation in the UK, whilst also working full time in that setting. Lucy’s PhD title is ‘Implementing High-Performance Sports Policy in the UK: A Process Sociological Perspective’.

Lauren Rose (supervisors Dr Alex Twitchen, Dr Jim Lusted and Dr Victoria Cooper) is studying her PhD with The Open University. Lauren’s research aims to delve deeper into the positive association between physical activity and mental health in disadvantaged youth.

Lorna Sams (was Mackay) (supervisors Dr Ben Langdown, Dr Joan Simons, Dr Jitka Vseteckova) is studying her PhD part time with The Open University alongside her personal training business. Lorna is researching the use of percussive therapy to improve perceptions of chronic non-specific musculoskeletal pain in strength and conditioning settings.


Dr Candice Lingam-Willgoss (supervisors Dr Caroline Heaney, Dr Sam Murphy, Dr Karen Howells, and Prof Martin Pulley) completed here PhD in 2023 at The Open University. Her research focused on risk and transitional experiences of elite sports women. Candice’s PhD title was ‘Negotiating identity: how elite athlete mothers navigate their journey through sport’.

Dr Jess Pinchbeck (supervisors Dr Alex Twitchen, Dr Sam Murphy and Dr Martin Toms) completed her PhD in 2021 at The Open University. Her research  followed the journey of a small sample of women from one netball club located in the East of England to provide an insightful analysis into their childhood experiences of sport, exploring the extent to which this may have shaped their adult participation and the complexities of this connection.  The study was conducted from an interpretivist perspective and used an ethnographic approach to examine how the women think and act in different situations, and how this develops over time as a result of previous experiences.

Dr Linda Plowright-Pepper (supervisors Dr Grace Clifton, Prof Kieron O’Sheehy and Ben Oakley) completed her PhD in 2020 at The Open University. Her research comprised a phenomenological study of how a group of 7-11 year old co-researchers experience physical activity in their free choice time. She is particularly interested in their sources of enjoyment and the potential for fresh insights that might be gained by taking an embodied approach to physical activity.

Dr Dave Scott (supervisors Dr Helen Owton, Prof Kath Woodward and Ben Oakley) completed his PhD in 2017 at the Open University which was a phenomenologically-inspired exploration of individuals’ experiences of sport-for-development courses.

Dr Caroline Heaney (supervisors Dr Claire Rostron, Dr Alison Greene and Dr Natalie Walker) completed her PhD in 2015 at the Open University which was focused on the psychological aspects of sports injury, with a particular focus on the education and training of sports injury rehabilitation professionals such as physiotherapists.

Zainab Yusuf (@ZainabPhD) (supervisors Dr Helen Owton (Open University) and Dr Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson (University of Lincoln)). Zainab completed her PhD at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK in 2019. Her doctoral thesis is exploring the life world of South Asian people with asthma and their sporting and / or exercise experiences and perceived barriers, using a phenomenological approach. Her research interests lie in the qualitative investigations of chronic illnesses, specifically respiratory conditions and ethnic minority health, using critical health psychology to improve cultural competence in healthcare.