Professor Lynn McAlpine

The major thrust of my work, with teams in Canada and the UK, has been a qualitative longitudinal narrative research program (2006-2016).

During this time, we documented the career trajectories of 48 individuals who began their participation in the study in either Canada or the UK. We began to follow more than half as PhD students, but the remainder began participating in our research as post-PhD researchers or beginning in research-teaching positions. From this research emerged the notion of identify-trajectory. This notion is a view of identity that is single not plural. It recognizes the centrality of individual agency and personal lives, past and present, to investment in and progress in work and careers, and in identity development. Alongside this research, I have been involved in a number of other studies of shorter duration but always focused on the identity development of early career researchers. Most recently, this work is with European colleagues on a comparative mixed methods study of PhD and post-PhD experience in different European countries. A major focus of all this work is its developmental implications and we are constantly working through workshops and online resources to make the results accessible to early career researchers and those who support them.


Lynn’s research is principally longitudinal, qualitative and narrative-based.


  • McAlpine, L., Wilson, N., Turner, G., Saunders, S., & Dunn, B. (in press). How might we better design our support for postdocs? International Journal for Academic Development
  • Inouye, K., & McAlpine, L. (in press). Developing scholarly identity: Variation in agentive responses to supervisor feedback. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice.
  • Skakni, I., & McAlpine, L., (in press). Post-PhD researchers’ experiences: an emotionally rocky road. Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education.
  • Emmioglu, E., McAlpine, L., & Amundsen, C. (2017). Doctoral students’ experiences of feelıng (or not) like an academic. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 12, 73-90.
  • Castello, M., McAlpine, L., & Pyhältö, K. (2017). Spanish and UK post-PhD researchers: Writing perceptions, well-being and productivity. Higher Education Research and Development.;
  • McAlpine, L., Turner, G., Saunders, S., & Wilson, N. (2016). Becoming a PI: Agency, persistence, and some luck! International Journal for Researcher Development. 7 (2), 106 – 122.
  • McAlpine, L., & Amundsen, C. (2016). The challenges of entering ‘mid-career’: Charting a balanced future. Higher Education Review. 48 (2), 5-30.
  • McAlpine, L. (2016). Post-PhD non-academic careers: Intentions during and after degree. International Journal for Researcher Development. 7 (1) DOI:10.1108/ijrd-04-2015-0010.
  • McAlpine, L. (2016). Why might you use narrative methodology? A story about narrative. Eesti Haridusteaduste Ajakiri. Estonian Journal of Education, 4 (1), 32-57.
  • McAlpine, L. (2016). Becoming a PI: Shifting from ‘doing’ to ‘managing’ research. Teaching in Higher Education, 21 (1), 49-63.
  • Akerlind, G., & McAlpine, L. (2015). Supervising doctoral students: variation in purpose and pedagogy. Studies in Higher Education10.1080/03075079.2015.1118031.
  • Pleschova, G., & McAlpine, L. (2015). Helping teachers to focus on learning and reflect on their teaching: What role does teaching context play? Studies in Educational Evaluation. DOI: 10.1016/j.stueduc.2015.10.002.
  • McAlpine, L., & Mitra, M. (2015). Becoming a scientist: PhD workplaces and other sites of learning. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 10, 111-128.
  • Ashwin, P., Deem, R., & McAlpine, L. (2015). Newer researchers in higher education: Policy actors or policy subjects? Studies in Higher Education.
  • Chen, S., McAlpine, L., & Amundsen, C. (2015). Postdoctoral positions as preparation for desired careers: a narrative approach to understanding postdoctoral experience. Higher Education and Development. 34 (6), 1083-1096.
  • McAlpine, L., & Amundsen, C. (2015). Different data collection tools: Different insights into academic experience. Studies in Continuing Education, 37 (1), 1-17.
  • McAlpine, L.& Emmioglu, E. (2015). Navigating careers: The perceptions of sciences doctoral students, post-PhD researchers, and pre-tenure academics. Studies in Higher Education, 40 (10) 1770-1785. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2014.914908.


  • McAlpine, L., & Amundsen, C. (in press). Identity-trajectories: Ways of understanding post-PhD career choices. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • McAlpine, L., & Amundsen, C. (2016). Researcher development and career trajectories: Career planning, intention and decision-making. Basingstoke: Palgrave Pivot.
  • McAlpine, L., & Amundsen, C. (2011). Supporting the doctoral process: Research-based strategies for doctoral students, supervisors and administrators. Amsterdam: Springer.


  • Honorary Research Fellow

Research groups

  • Higher Education
  • OSAT