Research activity per year

Personal profile


I am Principal Lecturer in English Language & Communication, and Associate Professor in Teaching and Learning. I am also Principal Investigator on several current projects.

Sample of Research Projects

Does Gender Matter? An investigation of proactive and reactive classroom management strategies 

Collaborative work with the University of Hildesheim, Germany.

Funded by Santander Collaboration Grant, UH.


The language used by men in primary school teaching has rarely been addressed in linguistic study. This work addresses this gap. Moreover, it will investigate potential links between teacher gender and pupil’s notions of achievement in core subjects and future occupational goals.  The project is building links, strengthening external partnership and knowledge transfer; potential input into future teacher training policy and curriculum (understanding if teachers' speech style/ gender has significant effect on how children learn). It will ccontribute to the production of teaching training manuals/workshops for teachers/teacher educators; offer a cross-cultural comparison of teaching styles; ccontribute to campaigns to de-gender occupations, increase men in AHSSBL occupations in line with the Equality Challenge Unit expansion in 2015 to include AHSSBL jobs.


CLASA: A study of Classroom Language and Student Aspirations in the UK 

Funded by SSAHRI grant, UH.


This project is linked to the above project, examining men in primary school teaching. It pieces together two unique areas of research of classroom linguistics and student aspirations, positioning UH as a lead institute in the understanding of gender linguistics and future career choice.  It will provide novel insight in to the national/ international debate on the impact of gender role in job choice (male primary school teachers/ nurses or women in directorships or STEM subjects); ccontribute to campaigns to de-gender occupations, increase men in AHSSBL occupations in line with the Equality Challenge Unit expansion in 2015 to include AHSSBL jobs, and result in a Corpus publicized on Corpus Resource Database (currently, few databases exist in this area making it difficult for researchers to find such annotated texts).


The Efficiency of Teaching Assistants: Striving for Task Completion Or Task Understanding? 

Collaborative work with School of Education, UH.

Funded by SSAHRI grant.


This project compares the teaching strategies of teaching assistants to those of fully qualified teachers to examine the role that teaching assistants play in the classroom. This work will contribute to the understanding of teaching and learning through the linguistic analysis of empirical data (spontaneous classroom interaction) to generate findings that focus on the linguistic behaviour of TAs and teachers and how this may relate to learning in order to create the impact-rich potential of developing the training of TAs; build multidisciplinary links  with the School of Education (UH), School of Humanities (UH), practitioners, schools and the University of Hertfordshire which will strengthen the community partnership and knowledge transfer work of the University



Research interests

Dr Joanne McDowell's specialises in the research areas of language and gender; identity construction; discourse analysis, interactional sociolinguistics; classroom linguistics; Community of Practice; enthography; workplace discourse; politeness.

Teaching specialisms

Teaching areas includes Gender in Language and Communication; Research Methods in Linguistics; Forensic Linguistics; Grammar and Phonology; Sociolinguistics; The Evolution of Language; Approaches to discourse analysis; Critical Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics. 

Commercial and public engagement

Dr McDowell is currently working on several projects concerning primary school classroom teaching. This involves working with local primary schools, head teachers and practitioners in Hertfordshire. Her work will inform education policy and be used to develop teacher training workships. 

Education/Academic qualification

Sociolinguistics, Ph.D, Investigating the language of men in non-traditional occupations., Ulster University

Award Date: 30 Jun 2009

Applied Linguistics, MA, Queen's University Belfast

Award Date: 31 Aug 2002

Linguistics and Social Anthropology, BA with Hons (Joint Hons), Queen's University Belfast

Award Date: 30 Jun 2001

External positions

Consultant, Pearson UK (Edexcel)

1 Mar 201330 Jun 2014


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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