Professor Rowena Murray

Director of Research

Tel 01292 886458


Rowena Murray graduated with MA (Hons) from Glasgow University and PhD (with Distinction) from Pennsylvania State University and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is Professor of Education, Director of Research, in the School of Education at the University of the West of Scotland and Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University, Melbourne. Her teaching and research focus on academic writing, the subject of her journal articles and books, including How to Write a Thesis, Writing for Academic Journals and The Handbook of Academic Writing (co-authored with Sarah Moore). Her research has been funded by Nuffield Foundation and British Academy.

  • Qualifications

    1st degree(s):

    MA (Hons) in Scottish Literature and Fine Art, University of Glasgow,1980

    Higher degree(s):

    PhD in English, Pennsylvania State University, 1986

    Other (professional or PGCert etc.): Fellow, Higher Education Academy

  • Teaching Interests

    • Academic writing, thesis writing, writing for publication

    • Research supervision

    • Preparing for the PhD/EdD/Prof Doc Viva

  • Research Interests
    • Academic writing: academics’ and emerging researchers’ writing, writing in professional settings, transition between practice-based and research-active role
  • Research activity output book

    Eley A & Murray R (2009) How to be an Effective Supervisor. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill.

    Murray R Ed (2008) The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill.

    Murray R & Moore S (2006) The Handbook of Academic Writing: A Fresh Approach.  Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-335-21933-0. 208 pages. Indian edition published 2010.

    Morss K & Murray R (2005) Teaching at University: A Handbook for Postgraduates and Researchers. London: Sage. ISBN 1-4129-0297-5. 210 pages.

    Murray R (2005, 2nd edn 2009, 3rd edn 2013) Writing for Academic Journals. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-335-21392-8. 223 pages. Spanish edition published 2006. Chinese edition published.

    Murray R & Murray B (2004) Interrogation of Silence: The Writings of George Mackay Brown. London: John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-5929-4. 306 pages. Nominated for Saltire Award.  2nd edition published in 2008 by Savage Publishing, London.

    Murray R (2003, 2nd edn 2009) How to Survive your Viva. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-335-21284-0. 156 pages. Chinese edition published 2006.

    Murray R (2002, 2nd edn 2006, 3rd edn 2011) How to Write a Thesis. Maidenhead: Open University Press-McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-335-21968-3. 304 pages. 1st edn reprinted 3 times. Chinese edition published.

    Murray R (1997) Ethical Dilemmas in Healthcare: A Practical Approach through Medical Humanities. London: Chapman and Hall. ISBN 0-412-62430-3. 184 pages.

    Murray R (1992) Introduction to Writing Skills. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. ISBN 0-86389-045-8. 88 pages.

  • Research activity output chapters

    Murray, R (2013) Doctoral students create new spaces to write in C Aitchison and Guerin, C (Eds) Writing groups for doctoral education and beyond: Innovations in theory and practice. London: Routledge.

    Murray R (2012) Social writing in L Clughen and C Hardy (Eds) Writing in the Disciplines: Building Supportive Cultures for Student Writing. Bingley: Emerald. ISBN 978-1-78052-546-4. Pages 189-213.

    Murray R (2010) Becoming rhetorical in C Aitchison, B Kamler and A Lee (Eds) Publishing Pedagogies for the Doctorate and Beyond. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-48019-2. 159 pages. Pages 101-116.

    Murray R (2008) Innovations, activities and principles for supporting academics’ writing in S Moore (Ed) Supporting Academic Writing Among Students and Academics, SEDA Special 24. London: Staff and Educational Development Association. ISBN 978-1902435-44-2, 36 pages. Pages 21-28.

    Murray R (2007) Getting started with writing in G Hall and J Longman (Eds) The Postgraduate’s Companion. London: Sage. ISBN 978-1-4129-3026-0. 500 pages. Pages 196-210.

    Murray R (2006) Writing articles, books and presentations in N Gilbert (Ed) From Postgraduate to Social Scientist: A Guide to Key Skills. London: Sage. ISBN 0-7619-4460-5. 226 pages. Pages 149-170.

    Murray R (2006) If not Rhetoric and Composition, then what?: Teaching teachers to teach writing in a Scottish University in L Ganobcsik-Williams (Ed) Teaching Academic Writing in UK Higher Education: Theories, Practices and Models. London: Routledge. ISBN 1-4039-4535-7. 246 pages. Pages 124-133.

    Murray R (1998) Communicating about ethical dilemmas: A medical humanities approach in R Bayne, P Nicolson and I Horton (Eds) Counselling and Communication Skills for Medical and Health Practitioners. Leicester: British Psychological Society. ISBN 1-85433-256-2 226 pages. Pages 189-203.

  • Research activity output journals

    Murray R & Thow M (forthcoming) Peer-formativity: A framework for academic writing, Higher Education Research and Development (Accepted August 2013).

    Murray R (2013) It’s not a hobby: Reconceptualizing the place of writing in academic work, Higher Education, 66(1): 79-91. DOI: 10.1007/s10734-012-9591-7.

    MacLeod I, Steckley L & Murray R (2012) Time is not enough: Promoting strategic engagement with writing for publication, Studies in Higher Education, 37(6): 641-654. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2010.527934.

    Murray R (2012) Developing a community of research practice, British Educational Research Journal, 38(5): 783-800. DOI: 10.1080/01411926.2011.583635.

    Murray R, Steckley L & MacLeod I (2012) Research leadership in writing for publication: A theoretical framework, British Educational Research Journal, 38(5): 765-781. DOI: 10.1080/01411926.2011.580049.

    Murray R & Cunningham E (2011) Managing researcher development: ‘Drastic transition’?, Studies in Higher Education, 36(7): 831-845. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2010.482204.

    Moore S, Murphy M & Murray R (2010) Increasing academic output and supporting equality of career opportunity in universities: Can writers’ retreats play a role?, Journal of Faculty Development, 24(3): 21-30.

    Murray R & Newton M (2009) Writing retreat as structured intervention: Margin or mainstream?, Higher Education Research and Development, 28(5): 527-39.

    Alexander M, Lynch P & Murray R (2009) Reassessing the core of hospitality management education: The continuing importance of training restaurants, Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education, 8(1): 55-69.

    Hislop J, Murray R & Newton M (2008) Writing for publication: A case study, Practice Development in Health Care, 7(3): 143-155.

    Murray R (2008) Writer’s retreat: Reshaping academic writing practices, Educational Developments, 9(2): 14-16.

    Murray R, Thow M, Moore S & Murphy M (2008) The writing consultation: developing academic writing practices, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 32(2): 119-128.

    Murray R & Newton M (2008) Facilitating writing for publication, Physiotherapy, 94: 29-34.

    Murray R (2007) Incremental writing: A model for thesis writers and supervisors, South African Journal of Higher Education, 21(8): 1064-1074.

    Johnston B & Murray R (2004) New routes to the PhD: Cause for concern?, Higher Education Quarterly, 58(1): 31-42.

    Heron G & Murray R (2004) The place of writing in Social Work: Bridging the theory practice divide, Journal of Social Work, 4(2): 199-214.

    Murray R, Strachan R & Grierson H (2004) A web based tool for dissertation writing, British Journal of Educational Technology, 35(3): 369-375.

    Murray R (2003) Students’ questions and their implications for the viva, Quality Assurance in Education, 11(2): 109-113.

    McAteer M & Murray R (2003) The Humanities in a course on loss and grief, Physiotherapy, 89(2): 97-103.

    Murray R (2002) Writing development for lecturers: Moving from further to higher education: A case study, Journal of Further and Higher Education, 26(3): 229-239.

    Murray R (2001) Integrating teaching and research through writing development for students and staff, Active Learning in Higher Education, 2(1): 31-45.

    Thow M & Murray R (2001) Enabling student writing for undergraduate projects: A practical approach, Physiotherapy, 87(3): 134-139.

    Morss K & Murray R (2001) Researching academic writing within a structured programme: Insights and outcomes, Studies in Higher Education, 26(1): 35-52.

    Murray R, McKay E, Thompson S & Donald M (2000) Practising reflection: A medical humanities approach to occupational therapist education, Medical Teacher, 22: 276-281.

    Kerr W, Murray R, Nonhebel D & Moore B (2000) Integrated communication skills package for undergraduate chemists, Journal of Chemical Education, 77: 191-194.

    Murray R & Tavener G (1998) Medical Humanities: Implications for podiatry education, British Journal of Podiatry, 1(3): 102-105.

    Murray R (1998) Measurement of the effect of participation in a Medical Humanities group on the practice of physiotherapists, Physiotherapy, 84(10): 473-479.

    Rosie J & Murray R (1998) An evaluation of learning on clinical placements in Radiography, Medical Teacher, 20(3): 227-236.

    Murray R & MacKay G (1998) Supporting academic development in public output: Reflections and propositions, International Journal for Academic Development, 3(1): 54-63.

    Murray R, Thow M & Strachan R (1997) Visual literacy: Designing and presenting a poster, Physiotherapy, 84(7): 319-327.

    Murray R (1997) Medical Humanities and women’s health, Journal of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women’s Health, 81: 3-6.

    Murray R & Thow M (1997) Presenting a poster: Ideas into images, Journal of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women’s Health, 80: 23-6.

    Murray R & Holmes S (1997) Partnerships in staff development: An institutional case study, Studies in Higher Education, 22(1): 67-82.

    Murray R & Brightman J (1996) Interactive teaching, European Journal of Engineering Education, 21(3): 295-308.

    Murray R (1996) Littérature et médecine: Introduction pratique, Annales de Kinésithérapie, 23(2): 58-61.

    Murray R & Lowe A (1995) Writing and dialogue for the PhD, Journal of Graduate Education, 1: 103-109.

    Lowe A & Murray R (1995) Reflexivity in postgraduate research training: The Strathclyde Business faculty experience, Journal of Graduate Education, 1: 77-84.

    Murray R & Thow M (1995) A Medical Humanities roadshow: Spreading the word, Physiotherapy, 81(2): 95-102.

    Murray R (1994) Medical Humanities: A practical introduction, Physiotherapy Ireland, 15(1): 25-29.

    Murray R & Thow M (1994) Littérature et médecine en kinésithérapie: Formation et pratique, Annales de Kinésithérapie, 21(4): 191-197.

    Murray R & Robb A (1992) Medical Humanities: Thought provoking?, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 17: 1182-1187.

    Murray R & Thow, M (1991) Medical Humanities in physiotherapy: Education and practice, Physiotherapy, 77(11): 733-736.


    Peer reviewed web article


    Murray R (2004) What can I write about?: The rhetorical question for PhD students and their supervisors. The future of postgraduate supervision,


    Papers in non-refereed journals


    Murray R (1991) Women’s education in Scotland, Grassroots Education for Women in Europe, European Bureau of Adult Education, 189-190.

    Hart L & Murray R (1986) Outreach work: Strathclyde University, Scottish Journal of Adult Education, 8(2): 25-26.

    Refereed conference presentations


    European Conference on Educational Research, Fostering competency in educational research: An innovative approach to academic writing, Istanbul, 2013.

    International Conference on Enhancement and Innovation in Higher Education, Structured writing retreat: A pedagogy for students to construct scholarly writing, Glasgow, 2013.

    Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference, What is higher education for?: Shared and contested ambitions, Newport, 2012.

    Writing Development in Higher Education Conference, The Social Framework: A model for writing, Liverpool, 2012.

    Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference, Performativity or peer-formativity?: Academics’ responses to research policy and regulation, Newport, 2011.

    British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Engagement with writing for publication/disengagement from other tasks, London, 2011.

    British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, The Writing Consultation: A novel mechanism for developing academic writing practices, Warwick, 2010.

    British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Defining the leadership role in enabling academics to manage competing tasks, Warwick, 2010 (with I MacLeod & L Steckley).

    Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development, Widening participation in knowledge production: Supporting the development of researcher identities and academic and practice settings, Hong Kong, 2010 (with I MacLeod & L Steckley).

    Writing Development in Higher Education Conference, The Writing Consultation: Developing sustainable writing behaviour, London, 2010.

    British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Strategic engagement: Developing academic identities through writer’s retreat, Manchester, 2009 (with I MacLeod & L Steckley).

    British Educational Research Association Annual Conference, Moving from peripheral participation to communities of practice: Writer’s group in an Education Faculty, Edinburgh, 2008.

    Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference, ‘Writer’s Retreat: Reshaping Academic Writing Practices, Brighton, 2007.

    World Confederation for Physical Therapy International Congress, ‘The Problem of Prioritising Scholarly Writing in the Workplace’, Vancouver, 2007.

    Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference, ‘Reconfiguring Academic Writing’, Brighton, 2006.

    Writing Development in Higher Education Conference, ‘Output and Process: A Study of Academics’ Writing’, Open University, Milton Keynes, 2006.

    Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference, ‘Generic Training for Researchers’, Bristol, 2004.

    NES-NHS Education for Scotland Conference on Education Research and Development, ‘Evaluation of the long-term effects of taking part in a writing for publication course’ (poster), Glasgow, 2004 (with J Hislop & M Newton).

    Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference, ‘Learning to Move Between Worlds in the PhD Viva’, London, 2003.

    Higher Education Staff Development Agency, ‘The CAP Story: Endgame, Education and Expertise’, Essex, 2003 (with B Johnston).

    World Confederation for Physical Therapy International Congress, (1) ‘The Humanities in a Course on Loss and Grief’ and (2) ‘Abstract Writing’, Barcelona, 2003.

    Society for Research in Higher Education Annual Conference, ‘Redrawing the Doctoral Curriculum: Providing New Routes to Writing Development’, Glasgow, 2002.

    Society for Research in Higher Education Annual Conference, ‘New Routes to the PhD in a Global Market: Student Voice and Student Choice’, Cambridge, 2001 (with B Johnston).

    Canadian Society for the Study of Education, ‘Educating for Public Output’, Québec, 2001.

    Universities’ and Colleges’ Staff Development Agency Management Development Initiatives and Good Practice in HE Mini-Conference, ‘Academic Writing: The Manager’s Role in Developing and Supporting Staff’, Manchester, 2001.  Published in Workshop Reports (ISBN 1 85889 176 0), pp. 37-40.

    Improving University Teaching Conference, ‘Creative Dialogizing: An Approach to Teacher Development’, Johannesburg, 2001.

    Higher Education Staff Development Agency Annual Conference, ‘The Email Trail as a Mechanism for Interactive Staff Development’, Manchester, 2001.

    Writing Development in Higher Education Conference, ‘Where is Writing?: Situating Writing and Writing Development in Academic Careers’, Leicester, 2001.

    Teaching Writing in Higher Education Conference, ‘If not Rhetoric and Composition, Then What?: Teaching Dissertation Writing’, Warwick, 2001.

    Society for Research into Higher Education Conference, ‘Insights into Writing Development, Raising Personal and Political Questions’, Leicester, 2000.

    Universities’ and Colleges’ Staff Development Agency Conference, ‘“Those who can, do”: Management Development for Writing for Publication’, Newcastle, 2000 (published in proceedings).

    Institute for Learning and Teaching Annual Conference, ‘Integrating Development for Teaching and Research: A Case Study of the Development Process’, York, 2000.

    Writing Development in Higher Education Conference, ‘Do they know what we know?: How academics find “new directions” in student writing development’, Liverpool, 2000.

    Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference, ‘Creating Collegial Contexts for Developing the Writing Skills of Academics’, Manchester, 1999.

    Pennsylvania State University Conference on Rhetoric and Composition, ‘Enabling Public Participation through Writers’ Groups’, State College, USA, 1999.

    Writing Development in Higher Education Conference, ‘Creating Environments for Reflecting on the Psycho-social Processes of Writing a PhD’, Leicester, 1999.

    Universities’ and Colleges’ Staff Development Agency Annual Conference, ‘Writers’ Groups for Academics and Researchers’, Sheffield, 1998.

    World Federation of Occupational Therapy Conference, ‘Medical Humanities in Occupational Therapy: Sharing Perspectives’, Montréal, 1998.

    Writing Development in Higher Education Conference, ‘Lessons from the Teachers: Writer’s Support Groups’, Aberystwyth, 1997.

    National Postgraduate Committee Conference, Research Student Supervision: Management and Practice, ‘Training Supervisors in a Staff Development Unit’, Bristol, 1995.

    World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress, ‘Medical Humanities: Human Issues in Physical Therapy’, Washington DC, 1995.

    International Physiotherapy Conference (Chartered Society of Physiotherapists), ‘Medical Humanities’, Belfast, 1993.

    International Seminar on Student Well-being and Development, ‘Student Contracts and Records of Achievement: From Margins to Mainstream’ (with G Gordon) and ‘Understanding Gender’, Twente, Holland, 1993.

    Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Congress, ‘Medical Humanities’, Glasgow, 1992.

    Promoting Caring: Using the Arts and Humanities in Nursing Education and Practice Conference, ‘Medical Humanities’ (with A Robb), Glasgow, 1992.

    International Physiotherapy Conference, ‘Medical Humanities’, Dublin, 1992.

    Vocational Training for Women: Ideas, Questions, Outcomes and Perspectives for Research Work in Europe, European Bureau of Adult Education, ‘Management Development for Women: The Strathclyde Course, the Debate, the Long-term Impact’, Bonn, 1992.

    Workshop on Grassroots Education for Women, ‘The Strathclyde New Opportunities Course’, European Bureau of Adult Education, Barcelona, 1991.

    International Seminar of Student Well-being and Development, ‘Why We Need a Thesis Writing Course’, Twente, Holland, 1991.

    Standing Conference on Educational Development: Putting Students First: Improving the Experience of Higher Education, ‘Adapting Writing Tasks in the Sciences: Writing for Audience and Purpose’, Newcastle, 1990.

    CVCP/Universities’ Staff Development and Training Unit Conference, Quality Matters: Staff Development as Quality Assurance, ‘The Strathclyde Student Evaluation Questionnaire’, York, 1990 (with D Nicol).

    International Society for Studies in Educational Development Conference: Flexibility in Professional Development, ‘Women and Appraisal’, Cambridge, 1990.



    ‘Supervising the writing process’, Research Supervision Conference, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia, 2011.

    ‘Writing anywhere, any time: “snacking”, “retreating” and “advancing” in academic writing’, Writing Development in Higher Education Conference, Glasgow, 2008.

    ‘Incremental Writing: A Model for Thesis Writers and Supervisors’, International Conference on Postgraduate Supervision: The State of the Art and the Artists, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, 2007.

    ‘Enhancing the Skills of Research Inexperienced Staff’, Trinity College Dublin, 2002.

    ‘Education for Practice’, Nursing and Midwifery Practice Development Unit, Nursing Board for Scotland and Nursing Research Institute for Scotland, Ayr, 2001.

    Research Supervision Event, ‘Soft and Hard Standards in the PhD’, University College Dublin, 1997.

    A Dynamic Approach to Clinical Education, ‘Adult Learning: Theory for Practice’ and ‘Self-Directed Learning’, Dublin, 1995. 

  • Research activity output conference presentations

    Enquiring with Experts Series, ‘The Challenges of Writing as an Academic’, Centre for Higher Education Development, Coventry University, 2006.

    UK GRAD Programme, ‘Writing a Thesis’, GRADschool, Brighton, 2006.

    HEALTHQWest Graduate School Inaugural Research Student Conference, ‘Academic Writing’, Glasgow, 2006.

    Astra Zeneca, ‘Writing for Publication’, Beatson Oncology Centre, Glasgow, 2006.

    Welcome Trust, ‘Writing for Academic Journals’, Edinburgh, 2006.

    HEALTHQWest, Inaugural Conference, ‘Writing Workshop’, Glasgow, 2005.

    Missenden Centre, First National Seminar on the Doctoral Examination, ‘Preparing Students for the Doctoral Examination’, Missenden, 2004.

    UK Council for Graduate Education Symposium on Research Degree Examining, London, 2002.

    Standing Conference on Academic Practice, ‘Developing Researchers as Writers’, Warwick, 2001.

    British Educational Research Association National Event on The Assessment of the PhD in Educational Research: Supervision, Transfer and Viva Examination, ‘The Process of Examining Higher Degrees by Research’, Reading, 2000.

    UCoSDA Annual Conference, ‘Contract Research Staff’, Dunblane, 1997.

    SHEFC Contract Research Staff Initiative, Summer Residential Conference, ‘The UCoSDA Project: Supporting Contract Research Staff through Continuing Career and Professional Development’, 1997.

    UCoSDA Annual Conference, ‘Contract Research Staff’, 1996.

    SHEFC Contract Research Staff Initiative Conference, ‘UCoSDA Best Practice in Action’, 1996.

    Women’s Health Towards 2000, ‘Medical Humanities’, Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women’s Health, Glasgow, 1996.

    Special Initiatives Conference: The Paul Hamlyn Foundation National Project on Special Entry Summer Schools, ‘Study Skills in a University Summer School’, Dundee, 1995.

    Lancaster University Women’s Studies Centre, Open Seminar, ‘Medical Humanities’, Lancaster, 1994.

    EPSRC Workshop on the Training of PhD Supervisors, ‘The Staff Developer's Viewpoint’, Aberdeen, 1994.

  • Consultancy Interests

    Writing workshops, researcher development courses, writing retreats

  • Consultancy Project Details

    Lancaster University: writing retreats for postgraduates and academics

    Osaka University, Japan: intensive writing course and writing retreat for postgraduates, research collaboration and exchange

    Trinity College Dublin: writing workshops

    Strathclyde University: Researcher Development Programme

    Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia: Researcher Development, research collaborations

  • Professional Membership(s)
    Fellow, Higher Education Academy, UK