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 Leade​rship

As Graduate Studies Lead (Health Sciences) Jenny has responsibility for the governance of all doctoral programmes within the school.


Jenny delivers various sessions to doctoral researchers and supervisors primarily at Cardiff Met, (she has also run workshops and given presentations to students and staff from Aberystwyth University, Cardiff University, the University of Almeria, the University of South Wales and to doctoral researchers from Bangor, Swansea and Cardiff Universities as part of the ESRC Doctoral Research Training Programme.) Selected examples include:

For Doctoral Researchers

  • Applying qualitative approaches for your research project
  • How to chair a conference session
  • How to be an effective researcher
  • “It’s a marathon not a sprint” wellbeing as an integral part of the doctoral journey
  • Navigating the doctorate as an academic member of staff
  • Preparing for viva voce examination
  • Skills for thriving as a doctoral student
  • Spinning Plates: juggling the demands of a doctorate
  • View from the other side of the table: perceptions of those who examine doctoral vivas
  • Who to turn to: wellbeing resources and support during your doctorate
  • Verbal presentation workshop
  • Your critical literature review


For Supervisors

  • Facilitating an environment conducive to progression and cohort building amongst academic staff enrolled onto doctoral programmes
  • PGR Wellbeing: Demands, Resources and Current Initiatives
  • Supervisor guidance: the Professional Doctorate context and phase one of the programme
  • Supporting Supervisors in Fostering Doctoral Students’ Wellbeing
  • The Doctoral Programme portfolio in CSSHS: structure, supervision and lesser-known programmes
  • Viva examining training


Research Degree Supervision (Current)

N=4 (3 as DoS)

  • PhD: Nicky Saddington: Mapping the spaces of the university: A multi-modal analysis of doctoral researchers’ constructed identity and experiences.
  • DProf: Amber Dean: Coach Wellbeing in Elite Basketball.
  • DForenPsy: Libby Payne. Pastures New: An exploration of dairy cattle work on the rehabilitation of individuals working on a prison farm.
  • PhD: Ria Bayliss: ‘What's in a voice’? An exploration of the lived experience of adult AAC users.


Research Degree Supervision (Completed)

  • 2023: PhD: Katharine Tucker: An Exploration of Early-Stage Professional Identity Development: the being and becoming of first year speech and language therapy students.
  • 2023: MPhil: Sylvia Ademu: The Psychosocial factors that affect Nigerian offshore workers and their families when engaged in offshore tour shift.
  • 2021: DProf: Lindsay Cordery Bruce: Cross Pollinating the evidence: Does bee keep​ing provide a therapeutic benefit for people seeking recovery from substance misuse issues?
  • 2020: DForenPsy: Kaye Thomas: An Offence Process Model for male perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence: A preliminary exploration of offending pathways for men in custody. pathways model of intimate partner violence.
  • 2020: DProf: Joanne Fawcett:Perfect Timing’: Pedagogic clinical teaching within the podiatric setting: creating an evidence informed approach.
  • 2019: 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.
  • 2019: PhD: Alison Walker: ‘Through Ourselves We Become Ourselves’: A qualitative evaluation of the opportunities and challenges of participating in a service-learning module in a Welsh HEI’.
  • 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.


60+ MSc and MRes dissertations. (Health Psychology, Forensic Psychology and Interprofessional Practice)​



Mercer, J. & Clayton, D. (2012) Social Psychology Pearson Education

*2nd Edition currently commissioned

Book Chapters

  • Walker, A, Mercer, J & Etheridge, L (2023) Through Others We Become Ourselves: How service-learning develops graduate pp188- 207in Sage Handbook of Graduate Employability, Edited by Tania Broadley, Yuzhuo Cai, Miriam Firth, Emma Hunt & John Neugebauer, Sage Publications, UK
  • 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
  • Mercer, J (2005) ‘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 University of Valleys Partnership (Published as a chapter in an edited eBook ISBN 978-1-9000346-95-5)

 Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Mercer, J & Thomas, J (In press) How Understanding Doctoral Researchers’ Coping Strategies Can Inform Higher Education Institutions’ Response to Their Stress, Research in Post Compulsory Education DOI: 10.1080/13596748.2023.2285632
  • Snell, GE, Seage, CH, Mercer, J (2023) A phenomenological study on the lived experience of men with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Journal of Health Psychology. 2023;0(0) doi:1177/13591053231186385
  • Mercer, J, Williams Davies, E, Cook, M, Bowes, NJ (2022) “I feel happier in myself with the dogs”: the perceived impact of a prison animal programme for well-being. Journal of Forensic Practice 24 (2), 81-94. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFP-11-2021-0057
  • Payne, L, McMurran, M, Glennan, C, & Mercer, J (2022) The Impact of Working with Farm Animals on People with Offending Histories: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.https://doi.org/10.1177/0306624X221102851
  • Walker, A, Mercer, J, & Freeman, L (2021) The doors of opportunity: How do community partners experience working as co-educators in a service-learning collaboration? Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, Vol. 18(7), 56-70. https://doi.org/10.53761/
  • Wren, G & Mercer, J (2021) ‘Dismissal, distrust and dismay: a phenomenological exploration of young women’s diagnostic experiences with endometriosis and subsequent support.’ Published online first Journal of Health Psychology.https://doi.org/10.1177/13591053211059387
  • 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-Inj​ury 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
  • 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 Psychology Published online before print March31, doi10.1177/13591053145271
  • Street, R., & Mercer, J.(2014) Coping with Relationship Change: A 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 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
  • 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. (2007) Re-negotiating the self through educational development: mature students’ experiences. Research in Post-Compulsory Education 12(1) p19-32

Other research dissemination

Invited speaker

  • ‘Cultivating the next generation of researchers’ Thissession will feature shortlisted individuals who have created the most supportive, stimulating and inspirational research environment for doctoral students. Times Higher Education Campus Live UK&IE, AAC Liverpool, December 6- 7th 2023
  • Keynote speaker: ‘Supporting doctoral wellbeing: developing a Wales wide approach’ Supervisor Training Symposium. Aberystwyth University. April 20th, 2023
  • ‘Wellbeing in weird places: understanding stress amongst doctoral students.’ University of Almeria, Guest lecture to staff and post graduate students. Oct 13, 2022
  • ‘How Green Space Promotes Wellbeing’, Positively Rural webinar series. Talk and Q&A session. (with Clayton, D) Online July 14, 2022
  • ‘The doors of opportunity: How do community partners experience working as co-educators in a service-learning collaboration?’ International Symposia between Calgary, New York and UK on Collaboration in Higher Education. (with Walker, A) Online April 7th 2022
  • ‘Coping with Stress in the PhD Process: Interview with Dr Jenny Mercer.’ Podcast for the PhD Life Raft series. https://thephdliferaft.com›coping-with-stress-in-the-phd-process. Available since Feb 8, 2021
  • ‘Applying Qualitative Analysis.’ Talk and Q&A to doctoral researchers in the Mental Health Research and Application laboratory (mentallab.ku.edu.tr) about using qualitative methods to analyse their research on bereavement through suicide. Online Koc University, Istanbul 29th July 2021
  • ‘The Doctoral Academy: designing, development and initiatives for wellbeing’ QAA Evolving Student Engagement Conference Presentation and plenary panel discussion session. (with Neil, R) Online June 29th 2021
  • “It’s a marathon not a sprint”: wellbeing as an integral part of the doctoral journey. Presentation to doctoral students for the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, Online 2nd Nov 2021

Conference presentations

  • Mercer, J (2022) Adaptive or maladaptive? Doctoral researchers’ reported coping strategies when stressed. 3rd International Conference on the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Postgraduate Researchers, UK Council for Graduate Education, 3-4th November 2022, Brighton
  • Mercer,J & Glennan, C (2022)Progressing through a doctorate: the use of photo elicitation to explore the enablers and barriers. (with Glennan, C) 3rd International Conference on the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Postgraduate Researchers, UK Council for Graduate Education, 3-4th November 2022, Brighton
  • Crone, D, Sellars, P, Clayton, D & Mercer, J (2022) ‘This has just given me life back’ mixed method evaluation of the Wild Skills, Wild Spaces ecotherapy project, Wales, UK , HEPA Europe Conference An Ecosystem Approach to Health Enhancing Physical Activity Promotion. Theme: Settings-based physical activity interventions, Nice, France. August 31st, 2022
  • Snell, G, Seage, H & Mercer, J (2022) The lived experience of men with chronic fatigue syndrome. BPS Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference (with & Seage, H) Bristol,28-29th, June 2022
  • Sellars, P, Clayton, D, Crone, D & Mercer, J (2021) Rural wild skills, wild spaces: An evaluation of an ecotherapy programme. Health and Care Wales conference. (with) Builth Wells, 10th November 2021
  • Mercer, J (2019)‘Sometimes healthy, sometimes not: doctoral level students’ accounts of dealing with stress.’ British Psychological Society Qualitative Methods in Psychology and History and Philosophy of Psychology Conference, Cardiff, 3-5 July 2019
  • Mercer, J, Harper, M & Clayton, D (2019) The contribution of a walking group to the psychological and social wellbeing of older people: participant perspectives, British Psychological Society Qualitative Methods in Psychology and History and Philosophy of Psychology Conference, Cardiff, 3-5 July 2019
  • Round Table discussion:Coping and not coping: exploring doctoral candidates’ perceptions of stress.’ Wrote and led round table discussion at the 1st International Conference on the Mental Health & Well-being of Postgraduate Researchers, Brighton, 6-17th May 2019
  • Mercer, J (2015) An exploration of a prison-based animal programme with males offenders, Qualitative Methods in Psychology conference, September 3rd-5th, 2015, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
  • Mercer, J, Clay, J & Etheridege, L (2015) Non-traditional Aged Students’ Accounts of Studying and Term Time Employment, The British Psychological Society, Welsh Branch Annual Conference, 12th September, 2015, Glyndwr University, Wrexham
  • 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, 8-10 April 2014
  • Street, R, Thirlaway, K, Mercer, J, Mills-Bennett & O’Leary, C. (2013) Experiences of physical activity: A phenomenological study of individuals with cystic fibrosis. 36th European Cystic Fibrosis Conference, ‘Nursing/Psychosocial Issues’. 12th-15th June, 2013, Lisbon, Portugal

External Funding

  • 2023: Evaluation of ‘Wild Skills, Wild Spaces’ Phase 2. An Ecotherapy project delivered by Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, funded by the Lottery. (Crone, D, Sellars, P, Mercer, J & Clayton, D.) £15,000
  • 2023: HEFCW Strategic Insight Fund. Funding to develop a digital platform to support wellbeing for doctoral research students (Mercer, J (P.I) & Phillips, N (Cardiff Met), Zwiggelaar, R (Aberystwyth University) £71,000
  • 2022: HEFCW Training Fund for PGR students. Funding for two writing retreats and to deliver a stress and resilience training course for doc students. £6,735
  • 2019: Evaluation of ‘Wild Skills, Wild Spaces’ an Ecotherapy project delivered by Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, funded by the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme, Sustainable Management Scheme (Crone, D, Sellars, P, Mercer, J & Clayton, D.) £30,000
  • 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)



Dr Jenny Mercer is a Reader in Qualitative Approaches to Applied Psychology and the Graduate Studies Lead for Health Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University. She has extensive experience and expertise in doctoral education:

Jenny has held a senior role as the Graduate Studies Lead ​for Health Sciences since 2015, with responsibility for operation and governance of doctoral programmes, students, and supervisors. She chairs the School’s Research Degree Sub-Committee and is a member of the University’s Research Degree Committee.

Her profile includes multiple completions (see ‘Teaching’ for supervisory profile), chairing of vivas and examining doctoral theses at a variety of UK HEIs. Jenny delivers training courses and workshops to both doctoral researchers and supervisors covering many aspects of the doc​toral journey.

In 2020 she set up the Doctoral Wellbeing Initiative at Cardiff Met, which offers bespoke resources, clear signposting and conducts research to further understand and enhance the student experience. Currently, she leads a pan Wales HE initiative, ‘Researcher Wellbeing Cymru’, developing a digital wellbeing platform. Her work to improve the environment for doctoral researchers at Cardiff Met was recognised with the ‘Doctoral Researcher Community Impact of the Year’ award in 2023. Jenny describes supervising doctoral students as the most fulfilling part of her job.

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, education and social psychology. Her current focus is on two broad areas of wellbeing and student experience:

Wellbeing: the role that outdoors, connecting to nature and animals may play in enhancing health and wellbeing. She has secured external funding for several evaluation of green care initiatives. Jenny is theme lead for ‘Connecting to Nature and Green Spaces’ within the Public Health and Wellbeing Research Group in CSSHS.

Student experience: since completing her own doctoral study entitled ‘Access and Beyond: mature students’ transitions into and through higher education’ Jenny has maintained a keen interest in student experience of higher education. Much of her work focuses on under-represented groups with publications on non-traditional aged learners, international students, males who study psychology and doctoral researchers. She is Affiliated Research Lead of CSESP’s Applied Psychology in Education and Community Settings.

More recently these two areas have merged, with a focus on wellbeing amongst doctoral researchers, and the strategies they use to cope with stress.

Further details of Jenny’s research can be found under ‘Publications’.