Mrs Anita McGowan

Research project: How do Teachers in Further Education Construct their Professional Identity?


My doctoral research focuses upon Further Education teachers' understandings of their professional identity and examines the factors which influence this process.  Given the nature of the research, a constructivist ontological stance was adopted which focuses on how people make meaning in relation to their experiences and ideas.  The interpretivist approach was adopted using social theory as a base on which to build this research.  The use of FE teachers' own stories help provide rich data to gain an empathetic (Verstehen) understanding of how they see the world in which they inhabit.  A case study method was chosen which includes the use of semi-structured interviews and a diary maintained by each of the teachers for (4 weeks during September 2018) as the key primary data tools. Legislative and policy documents as secondary data provided a means of analysing the context in which the teachers work.  The theoretical work of Bourdieu relating to the concepts of habitus, capital and field offered a useful means of examining and interpreting the data.

  • Research degree: EdD
  • Title of project: How do Teachers in Further Education Construct their Professional Identity?
  • Research supervisor: Dr Ruth Wood
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Christos Dimitriadis


Anita McGowan MBE is in the final stages of her EdD with an end date of .October 2020  Her experience of working as a Human Resource (HR) professional in City Law Firms led her into sharing that knowledge and experience into working as a Further Education College (FEC) lecturer for over 13 years.  Anita's experience of working in a FEC has helped identify some of the particular contextual aspects of her research within Further Education which has ignited her research question.  She is currently working as a Lecturer at Roehampton University and Greenwich University and is a caseworker for a large teaching union.  

Areas of research interest

  • Further Education
  • Professionalism
  • Human Resource Management


  • MSc Human Resource Management, South Bank University, London
  • MA Education Professional Development, Kingston University, London
  • Certificate in Education,
  • Advanced Teacher Status, College of Teachers, London
  • PGDip HRM, University of Sussex, Surrey