University of Hertfordshire

Dr Karen Smith BA, PgCert L&T, MA, PhD, PFHEA


Karen Smith

Dr Karen Smith BA, PgCert L&T, MA, PhD, PFHEA


Postal address:
University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Hertfordshire
United Kingdom


I am Reader in Higher Education. My research is centred around how higher education policies and practices impact on those who work and study within the university system. My work has focused specifically on transnational educators, international students, educational developers and innovative practitioners and has demonstrated how their experience of university is shaped by its policies, procedures and initiatives.

My work draws on a range of research methods (e.g. in-depth interviewing, activity-based focus groups, questionnaires) but I am particularly interested in drawing on relatively underused methods within higher education research (i.e. the biographical narrative interpretive method (BNIM) and critical discourse analysis (CDA)) and exploring their potential for this field.

I am programme director for the Professional Doctorate in Education. The EdD is a research-based programme, which will enable you to develop a range of research skills and strategies to support practice-based research. The research programme is supported by a series of Study Days that take place at UH;  individual supervision from a supervisory team; and a range of opportunities offered by UH’s Researcher Development Programme. To find out more about the programme, please see:

I lead collaborative research and development in the School of Education. My role focusses on supporting collaborative research with external partners (local authorities, public services, and other organisations). The research projects are designed to impact directly on policy and practice. My work involves drawing on research approaches and innovative research methods and methodologies which are appropriate for sensitive subjects and vulnerable groups. Research is designed collaboratively between the University and the sponsor and seeks to provide evidence that organisations can use, contribute to the personal development of the people involved, and be responsive to complex and changing contexts.



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