Associate Professor Lisa Emerson

Associate Professor Lisa Emerson staff profile picture

Associate Professor

School of English & Media Studies

Telephone: +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 81997

Other contact details

Room Building 9, Colombo Village, Turitea
Ph: 81997


Professional Biography

My scholarly work falls into two categories.

1. Science writing. My doctoral thesis focused on the integration of writing into the science curriculum in higher education, and this has led to a career teaching science writing (to undergraduate and graduate students) and researching scientists as writers. I was awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholarship in 2012 to develop scholarly work on mathematicians and senior scienitsts as writers. I am currently investigating the beleifs, attitudes, experiences and development of scientists and mathematicians as writers.

2. Tertiary teaching. As an award winning teacher (including the Prime Minister's Supreme Teaching Award 2008), I focus the second strand of my research on the effective teaching of writing, and especially the transition of students in low decile schools into academic literacy. My teaching related research also investigates attitudes to plagiarism, New Zealand writing programmes, infomration literacy, learning advising, writing centres, peer tutoring, and the attitudes of tertiary teachers. I was awarded a TLRI grant in 2012 to integrate academic literacy into the senior curriculum of 5 low decile schools in the Palmerston North-Whanganui regions.

My primary interests are science writing, scientists as writers, academic writing, plagiarism, and transitions to academic literacy. As well as this, I have interests in New Zealand writing programmes, and learning advising in New Zealand. I have supervised PhD theses on Writing Centres in Malaysia, Integrating Information literacy into the tertiary curriculum, Supporting mature students into academic literacy, and Learning Advising within disciplines.


Research Expertise

Research Interests

Science writing

scientists as writers

mathamtics and writing


writing centre theory and practice

academic literacy

transitions to academic literacy

information literacy

mature students in higher education

learning advising in New Zealand

New zealand writing programmes

metaphors in tertiary teaching

integrating writing into the curriculum

writing in the disciplines

writing across the curriculum

Research Opportunities

  • Transitions to academic literacy  (1/1/2013) We are working on a project which aims to support students from low decile schools transition into academic literacy. This project is funded by the TLRI.


21st Century Citizenship

Area of Expertise

Field of Research Codes
Communication and Media Studies (200100): Communication Studies (200101):
Curriculum and Pedagogy (130200): Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202): Education (130000): Education Systems (130100): English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL) (130204): Higher Education (130103):
Languages, Communication And Culture (200000): Organisational, Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication (200105):
Other Education (139900): Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212): Technical, Further and Workplace Education (130108)


Academic writing

Science writing

Scientists as writers

Writing in mathematics

Writing Centers

Academic writing


Transitions to academic literacy

information literacy

learning advising in New Zealand

New Zealand writing programmes

metaphors in tertiary teaching

Research Projects

Completed Projects

Project Title: Developing the science writer

This project investigates scientist as writers. Most scientists spend most of their day writing and communicating with others, and scientific knowledge is developed through writing. But almost no research has been conducted which investigates scientists' beliefs, attitudes, experiences and development as writers. This project addresses this gap in the literature. I have conducted interviews with 135 scientists in four countries, from 16 research institutions. These scientists come from a range of scientific disciplines, and are at different stages of their careers - senior scientists, emerging scientists, and graduate science students. From these interviews, I am creating literacy narratives, which describe scientists' different experiences and views about writing. The book that emerges from this research provides valuable insights for scientists who wish to develop a deeper understanding of their own writing, and for writing teachers who need to understand the lived experiences of scientists as writers.
Read Project DescriptionHide Project Description

Date Range: 2009 - 2012

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Supervision and Teaching


My teaching areas are very varied. I teach science writing and sceince communication, academic writing, and writing centre theory and practice. I have taught academic writing in all disciplines (business, education, social sciences, sciewnce and technology).

Papers Coordinated

Current Postgraduate Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Martin McMorrow - PhD
    Is writing across the curriculum, with a disciplinary focus, an appropriate framework for a collaborative project between student learning and an academic programme.

Completed Postgraduate Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • 2014 - Angela Feekery- PhD
    Conversation and Change: Integrating Information Literacy to Support Learning in the New Zealand Tertiary Context
  • 2007 - Bee Tan- PhD
    On-line Writing Laboratories and their application to ASEAN countries

Media and Links

Other Links

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