Dr Jenny Mercer



   Position: Reader in Qualitative Approaches to Applied Psychology,
   Principal Lecturer and Graduate Studies Co-ordinator
   School: Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences
   E-mail: jmercer@cardiffmet.ac.uk
   Telephone: +44 (0)29 2041 6862
   Room No: D3.10


Programme Leadership

  • Joint Programme Director, Doctorate in Forensic Psychology (D Foren Psy)
  • Pathway leader for Health Sciences, Doctorate in Professional Practice (DProf)

Module Leader
  • Dissertation and Proposal modules: MSc Health Psychology, MSc Forensic Psychology
  • Pathway leader for the Doctorate in Professional Practice

  • Dissertation and Proposal modules: MSc Health Psychology, MSc Forensic Psychology
  • Research Methods and Design: MSc Health Psychology, MSc Forensic Psychology
  • Doctoral level teaching includes: Presenting Your Research, Writing a Critical Literature Review, Being an Effective Researcher

Research Degree Supervision - Current
As director of studies:
  • PhD: Alison Walker: How does service learning impact on students and placement providers?
  • PhD: Ria Bayliss: Community & Inclusion: lived experiences of adult voice-output communication aid (VOCA) users.
  • PhD: Kate Tucker: Developing Professional Identity: Exploring the Lived Experience of Speech and Language Students.
  • Doctorate in Forensic Psychology: Kaye Thomas: A Descriptive Model of the Offence Process for Imprisoned Adult Males who have been Violent Towards an Intimate Partner: A Preliminary Pathways Model of Intimate Partner Violence.
  • Doctorate in Forensic Psychology: Elizabeth Payne: Going it alone: Why are prisoners unrepresented at Parole Board Oral Hearings?
As supervisor:
  • Doctor of Professional Practice: Joanne Fawcett: Pedagogic Teaching within the Podiatric Setting: Creating an evidence-informed approach.
  • Doctor of Professional Practice: Lindsay Cordery Bruce: Cross Pollinating the evidence: Does bee keeping provide a therapeutic benefit for people seeking recovery from substance misuse issues?
  • PhD: Megan Cook: Evaluation of interventions which aim to increase well-being and reduce suicide and self-harm behaviours in offenders
  • PhD: Sylvia Ademu The psychosocial impact of shift work and associated absence on the Nigerian oil and gas offshore and terminal employees and families.

Research Degree Supervision - Completed
  • 2018 PhD: Nicole Burchett: Receiving a Mental Health Diagnosis: Self Perception and its Impact on Recovery.
  • 2017: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClin) at Cardiff University): Della Nicolle ‘Experience of Recovery: An interpretative phenomenological study of people who have been diagnosed with anti-nmdar encephalitis.
  • 2017: PhD: Rose O Driscoll: “I Was Looking For Something Different And I Found It”: A constructivist grounded theory study with women who choose not to have children.
  • 2016: PhD: Abdul Seckam: Knowledge, attitudes and beliefs in using topical antimicrobial interventions in wounds.
  • 2016: PhD: Cordelia Green Jervis: Identifying and Exploring the Subject Positions of Young Working Class Fathers.
  • 2015: PhD: Honor Young: Teenagers’ attitudes towards unprotected sex and pregnancy
  • 2013: PhD: Clare Elmi-Glennan: Influences of past and present relational processes when entering higher education post 30 years: experiential accounts of foundation and year one students.
  • 2012: MPhil: - Fflur Rees “It’s good to hear it from somebody that’s got the experience”; the experiences and outcomes of young people supported by a homeless organisation.

Masters Supervision
  • Jenny supervises numerous MSc dissertations across the Forensic and Health courses, with a focus on qualitative methods, experiential accounts and process evaluations.

Undergraduate Supervision
  • BSc Psychology: Applied qualitative approaches in: Social Psychology, Educational Psychology, Health Psychology.



  • Mercer, J. & Clayton, D. (2012) Social Psychology Pearson Education
  • O’Driscoll, R. & Mercer, J. (2018) Is loneliness and regret the inevitable outcome of ageing and childlessness? Book chapter in Natalie Sappleton (Ed.) Voluntary and Involuntary Childlessness: The Joys of Otherhood? p173-192

Published articles
  • Seage, C.H., Glover, E., & Mercer, J. (2019). Receiving a Diagnosis of Pernicious Anaemia: Exploring Experiences of Relationships With Health Professionals, Journal of Patient Experience. Published online first November, 2019, DOI: 10.1177/2374373519883497
  • John-Evans, H., Davies, B.E.L., Sellen, J. & Mercer, J. (2018) Functions of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Prisoners with Mental Health Diagnoses, Mental Health Practice. Published online: 21 June 2018, doi: 10.7748/mhp.2018.e1282
  • Seckam, A, M. & Mercer, J. (2018) Older patients’ experiences and perceptions of having their wounds treated with medical grade honey. British Journal of Nursing, Special Supplement on Tissue Viability, August 2018, pS22-S28
  • Glennan, C. & Mercer, J. (2018) Incorporating a visual method into an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) study: A practical guide. Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin, Issue 25, p15-23
  • Carr,D.J. & Mercer,J. (2017) Young people’s experiences of fashion modelling: An exploratory phenomenological study. International Journal of Fashion Studies, Vol 4(1), p51-68 doi: 10.1386/infs.4.1.51_1
  • McGregor, G., Nichols, S., Hamborg, T., Bryning, L., Tudor-Edwards, R., Markland, D., Mercer, J., Birkett, S., Ennis, S., Powell, R., Begg, B., Haykowsky, M.J., Banerjee, P., Ingle, L., Shave, R., & Backx, K. (2016) High intensity interval training versus moderate intensity steady state training in UK cardiac rehabilitation programmes (HIIT or MISS UK): study protocol for a multi-centre randomised controlled trial and economic evaluation. British Medical Journal Open 2016;6:e012843 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012843
  • Mercer,J., Clay,J., & Etheridge,L. (2016) Experiencing term-time employment as a non-traditional aged university student: a Welsh study. Research in Post-Compulsory Education Published online first DOI: 10.1080/13596748.2016.1195168
  • O’Driscoll,R. & Mercer,J. (2015) Women who choose not to have children: A preliminary study. Psychology of Women Section Review 17, 21-30
  • Mercer,J., Gibson,K. & Clayton,D. (2015) The therapeutic potential of a prison-based animal programme in the UK. Journal of Forensic Practice, 17 p43-54
  • Street, R.D., Mercer, J.,Mills-Bennett, R., O’Leary,C & Thirlaway,K.(2014) Experiences of physical activity: A phenomenological study of individuals with cystic fibrosis. Journal of Health PsychologyPublished online before print March31, doi10.1177/13591053145271
  • Street, R., & Mercer, J. (2014) Coping with Relationship Change: A Phenomenological Study of Relatives of People with Dementia. Health Psychology Update, 23 p3-10
  • Hawkins, J.L., Mercer, J., Thirlaway, K.J. & Clayton, D.A. (2013) ‘Doing’ Gardening and ‘Being’ at the Allotment Site: Exploring the benefits of allotment gardening for stress reduction and healthy ageing. Ecopsychology, 5, 110-125.
  • Mercer,J. , Sander, P., Williams,S. & Jones,T. (2013) Emotions or Science? Pre-tertiary males’ accounts of psychology as a subject choice. Psychology Teaching Review Vol. 19 (1) 9-20
  • Hawkins, J.L., Thirlaway, K.J., Mercer, J., Backx, K., Milbourne, P & Clayton, D.A. (2012) Evaluating the impact of allotment and community gardening for older people's health and well-being. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 20, S101.
  • Demery, R., Thirlaway, K.J. & Mercer, J. (2012) The experiences of university students with a mood disorder. Disability and Society, Vol 27(4) 519–533
  • Hilgart,J., Thirlaway, K.J & Mercer, J. (2012) Individuals’ experiences of, and responses to, a negative genetic test for Familial Hypercholesterolaemia. Journal of Health Psychology. DOI: 10.1177/1359105312443403, published online 19 April 2012
  • Mercer,J (2012) Reflecting on the use of focus groups for interpretative phenomenological analysis, BPS, Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin 14,53-59
  • Mercer, J., Green-Jervis,C. & Brannigan,C. (2012) The legacy of a self-reported negative birth experience. British Journal of Midwifery, Vol 20 (10) 717-722
  • Mercer, J. & Heggs,D (2011)“…it’s difficult to study psychology in a different way”: reflections of Polish ERASMUS students on a year of a psychology degree in the UK. Polish Journal of Applied Psychology Vol 9 (2) p7-26
  • Heggs,D.A., Mercer,J. & Durniat,K. (2011) ERASMUS partners in conversation: Psychology at the University of Wroclaw and University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. Psychology Teaching Review, Special Edition on Internalisation Vol.17 (2)p 38-46
  • Mercer,J (2011) Experiencing ERASMUS: Reflections on integrating Polish psychology students onto a year of a degree in the UK. Psychology Teaching Review Vol. 17 (1) p13-22
  • Mercer, J (2010) Exploring the process of self-development encountered by adult returners to higher education: A lifespan psychology perspective. Psychology Teaching Review, 16 (1) p24-36
  • Sanders, L, Sander, P. & Mercer, J. (2009) Rogue Males? Approaches to Study and Academic Performance of Male Psychology Students. Psychology Teaching Review 15(1)p3-17
  • Mercer, J. & Feeney,J. (2009) Re-presenting Death in Psychology: hospice nurses’ lived experiences. Mortality 14(3) p245-264
  • Mercer,J. (2008) ‘I feel that I’ve grown as a person’: exploring the wider impact of returning to education amongst a population of mature students Changing Landscapes Community University of Valleys Partnership (ebook ISBN is 978-1-9000346-95-5)
  • Mercer, J. (2007) Re-negotiating the self through educational development: mature students’ experiences. Research in Post-Compulsory Education 12(1) p19-32
  • Sander, P, Sanders, L & Mercer, J. (2007) Blending Research & Teaching in the Classroom: Teaching Research Methodology Using Staff Research Examples. Higher Education Academy - http://www.psychology.heacademy.ac.uk/html/linking_teaching_and_research.asp

External Funding
  • 2015: Evaluation of ‘Changing Gear’, Lottery funded Project. Pedal Power, £6000 (Mercer, J. & Clayton, D.)
  • 2014: Evaluation of GreengAge Older Persons Befriending and Wellbeing Service. Gofal, £20,174.09 (Mercer, J. & Clayton, D.).
  • 2012 Waterloo Foundation grant for research project: “The Functions and Benefits of Volunteering in a Care Farm Setting” . £18,900 (Mercer,J. & Clayton,D.)
  • 2011 NISCHR award “Growing a Health Population in Wales”. £150,000 (Clayton D, Thirlaway KJ,Backx K, Mercer J, Hawkins J & Middleton P).
  • 2011 Strategic Insight Programme Award with the Amelia Trust Farm £2,500 (Mercer, J)
  • 2010 Beacons for Wales funded Public Engagement Project. Our Place in the Future: What ‘works’ in a care farm environment with excluded young people? £7,000, (Bowes, N. Mercer,J, & Clayton, D. (UWIC) and Brown,L (Amelia Trust Farm)
  • 2010 Higher, Education Academy Mini Project Exploring the roots of male (dis)engagment in Psychology £5,000 (Sander,P & Mercer,J (UWIC) Williamson, S. (Newman College) & Jones, T (University of Worcester)

Examples of research conferences and public engagement events:
Selected Conference Presentations (last 5 years)
  • Mercer, J (2017) Enhancing wellbeing through nature: the benefits of volunteering in ‘green care’ settings. Part of a symposium: Qualitative explorations of the impact of physical exercise and nature on wellbeing and identity. British Psychological Society Annual Conference, 3-5 May, 2017, Hilton Brighton Metropole.
  • Mercer, J & Clay, J (2015) Non-traditional aged students experiences of term-time employment and full time academic study. British Psychological Society, Welsh Branch Conference Wrexham, 12th September, 2015.Glyndwr University
  • Mercer,J (2015) Convenor of symposium entitled: A qualitatively different view of relationships and parenting across the lifespan. Paper delivered: Identifying and exploring the subject positions of young fathers. British Psychological Society, QMiP Conference. Anglia Ruskin University, 2-4th September, 2015.
  • Mercer,J, Street, R & Thirlaway,K. (2013) Experiencing physical activity with cystic fibrosis: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Poster Presentation. Qualitative Methods in Psychology Conference, ‘Making a difference, making ourselves known’. 4–6th September, 2013. Huddersfield University
  • Mercer,J, & Gibson,K. (2013) Prison-based Animal Programmes: A qualitative evaluation of therapeutic potential. Poster Presentation. Qualitative Methods in Psychology Conference, ‘Making a difference, making ourselves known’. 4–6th September ,2013. Huddersfield University.
  • John-Evans, H., Sellen, J.L. & Mercer, J. (2012). Understanding the functions of self-harm in male, mentally disorders offenders: A qualitative study. British Psychological Society, Division of Forensic Psychology. Cardiff, UK. June.
  • Mercer,J. & Williams,S. (2012) Exploring Male (dis)Engagement in Psychology. The British Psychological Society Annual Conference 2012, 18-20 April 2012, Grand Connaught Rooms, London
  • Glennan,C & Mercer,J. (2012) The Photograph Speaks Volumes: exploring the use of auto driven photo elicitation as a tool to enable communication between researcher and participant.The British Psychological Society Annual Conference 2012, 18-20 April 2012, Grand Connaught Rooms, London

Public engagement events – related to the Centre for Outdoor Activity and Leisure research
  • Clayton, D. & Mercer, J. (2014) Growing a Healthy Older Population: how do we encourage, empower and facilitate physical activity in older adults? Older People and Physical Activity Network. Invited workshop at The Physical Activity and Nutrition Networks Wales conference, Physical Activity and Ageing – moving in the right direction? October 2014, Cardiff City Stadium.
  • Mercer, J. & Clayton, D. (2014) The Benefits of Care Farms. Invited talk at the Natural Resources Wales Stand, Welsh Royal Agricultural Show, Builth Wells, July 2014.
  • Clayton, D. & Mercer, J (2014) Growing a Healthy Older Population, invited conference presentation National Parks and Wildlife as Natural Health Service Providers, Plas Tan y Bwlch, National Park Centre, April 2014. This was a collaborative venture between the Snowdonia National Park and the UK Wildlife Gardening Forum attended by practitioners, community groups and representatives from Public Health Wales.
  • Mercer, J. & Clayton, D. (2013) The Psychology of Green Care, Invited Presentation. The British Psychological Society Welsh Branch, ‘Psychology in the Pub’ series. Fino Lounge, Cardiff Nov 2013. These free events are held in the community and open to all.
  • Mercer, J & Clayton, D. (2011) Care Farms Work – but how do we know? The importance of evidence based research. 1st All Wales Care Farm Conference, Cardiff, 19th May, 2011.

Presentations as invited speaker at education symposia:
  • Mercer, J. & Heggs, D. (2011) What have we learned from ERASMUS exchange programmes with Poland? Invited symposium on Internationalisation in Psychology, EUROPLAT at The European Congress of Psychology:Istanbul Convention & Exhibiiton Centre, Istanbul, July 4th-8th
  • Mercer, J. (2010) Does a Psychology degree in Poland work like it does here? The experiences of Polish ERASMUS exchange students on the final year of a UK Psychology course. Invited to contribute to the symposium for the Division for Teachers and Researchers in Psychology, The British Psychologcial Society's Annual Conference, Holiday Inn, Stratford Upon Avon, 14th – 16th April 2010
  • Mercer, J. (2009) Using Psychological Perspectives to Facilitate an Understanding of Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds. Part of symposium led by the Division for Teachers and Researchers in Psychology. British Psychologcial Society's Annual Conference, Holiday Inn, Brighton, 1st-3rd April 2009


Dr Jenny Mercer is Reader in Qualitative Approaches to Applied Psychology, and a Principal Lecturer within the Department of Applied Psychology, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a BPS Chartered Psychologist. She has a background in Social Psychology, and is co-author of the Psychology Express text book on this topic. Her main teaching responsibilities relate to qualitative research methods, post-graduate dissertation modules and supervision of doctoral candidates (see ‘Teaching’ for full supervisory profile).

She plays a key role in the management of the University’s research degree programmes as Cardiff School of Health Sciences (CSHS) Graduate Studies Co-ordinator. This involves: chairing the School’s research Degree Sub-Committee; membership of CSHS Ethics and Research and Enterprise committees and contributing to the University’s Research Degree Committee; chairing viva voce examinations and being independent assessor for transfer interviews. She is responsible for overseeing the provision for over 50 research degree students from application to completion, establishing supervisory teams and ensuring that appropriate and robust procedures are followed.

Jenny is an enthusiastic advocate of qualitative research methods within Psychology and has developed and contributed to a number of modules relating to this, both within Cardiff Met and in other universities. At a national level this is evidenced by sitting on the committee of the British Psychological Society’s Qualitative Methods in Psychology (QMIP). She regularly examines PhD theses utilising such approaches at universities across the U.K.

Her research involves numerous qualitative approaches (e.g. thematic analysis, grounded theory, interpretative phenomenological analysis, participatory designs). Outputs are of relevance to the sub-disciplines of health, forensic, sport, education and social psychology, and influence the work and practice of many of the community groups and stakeholders involved. Her current focus is on two key areas:

  1. Centre for Outdoor Activity and Leisure research (COAL): an interdisciplinary research group which works collaboratively with other Cardiff Met Schools and external stakeholders. The purpose of COAL is to evaluate and understand the role that the outdoors, volunteering and purposeful leisure may play in enhancing health and well-being. Within this remit we are interested in how people connect with nature, the role animals might play, the therapeutic potential of green spaces, green exercise and other green interventions (such as care farms, animal assisted programmes and green exercise). Jenny leads this together with Debbie Clayton: refer to www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/coal for further details of the externally funded projects and work that COAL has been engaged in.
  2. Student experience: since completing her own doctoral study entitled ‘Access and Beyond: mature students’ transitions into and through higher education’ Jenny has had a keen interest in student experience of higher education. She is specifically interested in under-represented groups and has published articles on non-traditional aged learners, international students and males who study psychology. She is a member of the Departmental Research group Research In Student Experience (RISE)

For further details of Jenny’s research outputs and publications see ‘Publications’.