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Emma Vardy

Senior Lecturer

School of Social Sciences

Staff Group(s)


Dr Vardy joined Nottingham Trent University as a Lecturer in Developmental Psychology from Coventry University in August 2019. Dr Vardy teaches on several undergraduate modules including first year developmental psychology and second year research methods. She is the module leader for the third year Professional Practice module. Dr Vardy supervisors both undergraduate and masters dissertation projects.

Career overview

Emma Vardy received her BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Sociology from Coventry University in 2008 and her PhD from the University of Worcester in 2014. She worked as a Research Assistant and Hourly Paid Lecturer at Coventry University and a Widening Participation Researcher at the University of Hertfordshire before re-joining Coventry University in 2013 as a Research Associate at the Centre for Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement at Coventry University where she worked on a number of externally funded projects.

Research areas

Dr Vardy's research interests are in the area of psychology of education with an interest in children’s literacy specifically attitudes to reading, reading motivation and reading for pleasure in primary and secondary school students. Her research focuses on exploring the factors that impact on educational achievement and by doing so devise and robustly evaluate strategies that schools can use. Having always had a love of books underpins her interest in children’s literacy development. Literacy skills are essential; thus, it is important to understand children’s attitudes and motivations towards reading to help unlock their potential. The aim of Dr Vardy's research is to conduct robust evaluations including process evaluations and share evidence-based approaches to schools to improve students’ educational experiences. She is currently the PI of an EEF funded evaluation of a paired reading intervention for year 5 pupils PALS-UK, more information can be found here:

Area of Expertise: Process Evaluation, Reading for Pleasure, Reading Attitudes and Reading Motivation in adolescents and children.

External activity

Dr Vardy has acted as an independent evaluator for the National Literacy Trust, the BookTrust and the Reading Agency. She is also a school governor for a primary school in Coventry.

Sponsors and collaborators

Dr Vardy has received funding from the following organisations:

    • Education Endowment Foundation. To conduct a large- scale evaluation of Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS).
    • Education Endowment Foundation. Evidence based literature review of literacy development (reading, writing, speaking and listening)  from early years to secondary school.
    • Coventry University Undergraduate Research Experience (CUURE) Scheme. Print Exposure Measurement Evaluation.
    • Research Pump Prime Scheme (Coventry University). To conduct a pilot evaluation of ‘ThinkSmart’; an intervention to improve motivation, self-esteem and confidence with Year 7 pupils using CBT.
    • The Story Museum. To evaluate the Extreme Readers programme.
    • Research Pump Prime Scheme (Coventry University). To pilot a USA paired reading project with Year 5 pupils.
    • BookTrust. To evaluate the Beyond Booked Up programme and devise a measure of reading for pleasure.
    • National Literacy Trust. To evaluate the impact on practitioners and parents of the HELLO tool.
    • National Literacy Trust. To evaluate the impact of the Books about Town project on teachers and pupils
    • National Literacy Trust. To evaluate the impact on children and families who participated in the Early Words Together programme.

Key collaborators include Prof Kristen McMaster (University of Minnesota) and Dr Helen Breadmore (Coventry University)


Peer reviewed Journal Articles

Vardy, E., Upton, P., & Upton, D. (2020). Development of SITU: a survey to measure the impact of outreach activities. Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning.

Wood, C., Clark, C., Teravainen-Goff, A., Rudkin, G., & Vardy, E. (2020). Exploring the literacy related behaviours and feelings of pupils eligible for free school meals in relation to their use of, and access to, school libraries. School Library Research

Wood, C., Meacham, S., Bowyer, S., Jackson, E., Tarczynski-Bowles, M. Luisa., and Plester, B. (2011). A longitudinal study of children’s text messaging and literacy development’. British Journal of Psychology, 102 (3), 431-442.

Wood, C., Jackson, E., Hart, L., Plester, B, and Wilde, L. (2011). The Effect of Text Messaging on 9 and 10 Year-Old-Children’s Reading, Spelling and Phonological Processing Skills. Special Edition of Journal of Computer Assisted Learning,27, 28–36.

Wood, C., Pillinger, C.L., and Jackson, E. (2010). Understanding the nature and impact of young readers’ literacy interactions with talking books and during adult reading support. Computers and Education, 54, 190-198

Peer reviewed Reports and other publications

Breadmore, H.L., Vardy, E.J., Cunningham, A.J., Kwok, R.K.W. & Carroll, J.M. (2019). Literacy Development: A Review of the Evidence. Literature review prepared for the Education Endowment Foundation.

Vardy, E. J. & Waldron, S. (2016). Research and Evaluation: Beyond Booked Up (BBU) Investigating the Delivery and Impact of BBU.

Vardy, E. J., Waldron, S., & Johnson, H. (2016). Process Evaluation of HELLO: A tool to improve communication, language and literacy practice in early years settings.

Waldron, S.,Vardy, E. J.& Johnson, H. (2016). Evaluation of HELLO: A tool to improve communication, language and literacy practice in early years settings.

Wood, C. P., Vardy, E. J., & Tarczynski-Bowles, L. (2015). Early Words Together: Impact on Families and Children.

Vardy, E. J.,& Waldron, S. (2015). Evaluation of Chatterbooks in Primary School Settings.

Jackson, E.J., & Davies, E.L. (2014). Reflecting on the postgraduate experience: Teaching research methods and statistics. Review of the DART-P sponsored workshop at PsyPAG 2013. Psychology Teaching Review 20 (1), 21-23

Davies, E.L., & Jackson, E.J. (2014). Some students really want to know obscure facts about chi-square but others will pass out in terror if you mention it’: Psychology postgraduates’ experiences of teaching research methods. Psychology Teaching Review 20 (1), 2-11

Davies, E.L., & Jackson, E.J. (2013) ‘DART-P report: Teaching and Career Development workshop’. Psychology Teaching Review 19 (1), 71-73

Jackson, E., Davies, E.L., & Neale, L. (2013). Snapshots of the PsyPAG 2012 Workshops: Tips, Advice and Benefits. PsyPAG Quarterly (86), 5-7.

Bartlett, K.E. & Jackson, E. (2012). Science and Technology Committee Inquiry into Peer Review: Responses from postgraduates. PsyPAG Quarterly (83), 33-39.

See all of Emma Vardy's publications...