Associate Professor Lisa Emerson staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 84547

Associate Professor Lisa Emerson

Director, Teaching and Learning

CoHSS - Deputy PVC's Office

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.

More about me...View less...


Contact details

  • Ph: 84547
    Location: Room 3.16, SGP Building
    Campus: Turitea

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

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 1 6

Current Projects

Project Title: Transforming information literacy space(s) to support student learning

This project aims to improve students' information literacy (IL) competencies and learning within programmes/disciplines across the senior secondary and tertiary sectors. In partnership with seven secondary schools and four tertiary institutions, we are using participatory action research/mixed methods to develop new ways for teachers and librarians, as embodiments of disciplinary knowledge and IL expertise, to collaboratively plan and implement instructional approaches that prioritise critical use of IL skills to learn disciplinary content knowledge. Outputs include a set of IL progressions (NZQF Levels 1-3 in schools and 4-7 in tertiary institutions) and teaching resources for use in schools and tertiary institutions. We are also conducting a national survey of information literacy in secondary and tertiary education, which will be of use to policy makers, schools and tertiary institutions across the country.
Read Project Description Hide Project Description

Date Range: 2016 - 2020

Funding Body: New Zealand Council For Educational Research

Project Team:

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 Description Hide Project Description

Date Range: 2009 - 2012

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 2 2


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).

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Martin McMorrow - PhD
    How can a tertiary learning advisor, working as an informal writing consultant to a disciplinary programme, contribute to positive changes in attitudes and practices in writing development and address the perceived marginalisation of tertiary learning advice within a New Zealand university?
  • Prue Fry - PhD
    Acquiring a new discourse: Using action research to explore a study group for mature-aged open entry students in their first semesters at university

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

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

Media and Links

Other Links

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5:00pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey