Martin Willis

Dr Martin Willis


, School of Psychology

As a social psychologist, Martin is particularly interested in ways in which subjectivity involves relationships between our bodies and social and material contexts.

Areas Of Interest

Martin's main research interests fall within the area of social psychology. He is particularly interested in how experience or subjectivity involves relationships between our bodies and social and material contexts and the role of these relationships in shaping how people experience and manage their lives and act in contemporary society. Particular topics of interest include feelings and emotions, morality, identities, collective decision making. He has also worked on projects exploring decision-making in mental health care and occupational health psychology (specifically, workplace stress and distress).

Martin is also keenly interested in research methodologies and methods (particularly qualitative), including ontological, epistemological, and axiological issues. He has recently been working in the area of analytical pluralism in qualitative research. Martin is also interested in the history and philosophy of psychology, including a concern for the contexts, applications and consequences of psychological knowledge and techniques; process philosophy (particularly that of Alfred North Whitehead) and enactivist approaches to mind and cognition and how these ideas can be utilized and developed in (social and applied) psychological theory and methodology.


On This Page


Martin joined the School of Psychology at UEL in September 2015 where he teaches research methods and social psychology for BSc Psychology and MSc Psychology. He also supervises student research for these programmes.

Martin gained an HND in Professional Sound and Video Technology from the University of Salford in 1999 and then worked as a freelance sound technician until 2007. He then re-entered full-time education at the University of Northampton and was awarded a first class BSc Psychology (Hons) in 2010. Martin worked at Northampton as part-time lecturer and Lead Mentor for the School of Social Sciences for a year before moving to Loughborough University in 2011 to begin his PhD, which was awarded in July 2015 for his thesis exploring nurses' distress resulting from moral dilemmas.

Other roles 

Peer reviewer for:

  •  Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise & Health
  • New Media & Society


Martin's current research explores how process philosophy (especially that of Alfred North Whitehead) can be applied in social psychology to theorise human subjectivity. It has a particular focus on relationships between bodies (particularly emotions and feelings), thinking and socio-material contexts.

He is also working (with the Critical Values Based Practice Network) on shared decision-making in inpatient mental health care.


Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Cromby, J. & Willis, M.E.H. (in press). Affect - or feeling (after Leys)? Theory & Psychology.
  • Stacey, G., Felton, A., Morgan, A., Stickley, T., Willis, M., Diamond, B., Houghton, P., Johnson, B. & Dumenya, J. (2016). A critical narrative analysis of shared decision-making in acute, inpatient mental health care. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 30(1), 35-41. doi: 10.3109/13561820.2015.1064878
  • Stacey, G., Felton, A., Hui, A., Stickley, T., Houghton, P., Diamond, B., Morgan, A., Shutt, J. & Willis, M.  (2015). Informed, involved and influential: Three Is of shared decision making. Mental Health Practice, 19 (4), 31-35. DOI: 10.7748/mhp.19.4.31.s20
  • Clarke, N.J., Willis, M.E.H., Barnes, J., Caddick, N., Cromby, J., McDermott, H., & Wiltshire, G. (2015). Analytical pluralism in qualitative research: A meta-study. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 12(2), 182-201. DOI: 10.1080/14780887.2014.948980
  • Cromby, J. & Willis, M.E.H. (2014). Nudging into subjectification: Governmentality and psychometrics. Critical Social Policy, 34(2), 241-259. DOI: 10.1177/0261018313500868
  • Barnes, J., Caddick, N., Clarke, N.J., Cromby, J., McDermott, H., Willis, M.E.H., & Wiltshire, G. (2014). Methodological pluralism in qualitative research: Reflections on a meta-study. QMiP Bulletin, 17, Special Issue: The Place of Qualitative Methods in Mixed Methods Research, 35-41.
  • Cromby, J., & Willis, M. (2013). England's dreaming? UK critical psychology, 2011. Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 10, 932-951.

Conference Presentations

  • Willis, M.E.H. (2015). Discussing Ellis and Tamboukou. Discussant paper presented at Thinking with Whitehead. Centre for Narrative Research, London, 30 November.
  • Willis, M.E.H. (2015). Organising feelings: Past, present and future. Invited presentation for QuAFE: Emotional Experience Across Time and In Space. London, 8 May.
  • Willis, M.E.H. (2015). Nurses' feelings in the context of systemic barriers to care. Paper presented at Psychology of Emotions and Feelings. Northampton, 8 April.
  • Clarke, N., Willis, M., Barnes, J., Caddick, N., Cromby, J., McDermott, H., & Wiltshire, G. (2014). A meta-study of methodological pluralism in qualitative research. Paper presented as part of the 'Pluralistic qualitative data analysis in theory and practice' symposium at the 4th International Conference on Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise. Loughborough, 1-3 September.
  • Stickley, T., Willis, M., Felton, A., Stacey, G., Diamond, B., Johnson, B., Morgan, A., Houghton, P., Dumenya, J., & Shutt, J. (2014). Shared decision making in mental health practice. Paper presented at Qualitative Research in Mental Health 5th Annual Conference. Chania, Crete, 2-4 September.
  • Willis, M.E.H. & Cromby, J. (2014a). Nurse moral distress: Contexts and coping strategies. Poster presented at Nottingham University Hospitals Annual Research Festival, "Engage, Enthuse, Empower". Nottingham, 12 June.
  • Willis, M.E.H. & Cromby, J. (2014b). (Re)Enacting distress in the research interview: An affective textual analysis. Paper presented at 29th Annual PsyPAG Postgraduate Student Conference. Cardiff, 23-25 July.
  • Willis, M., Lazard, L., & Callaghan, J. (2010) In Britain's best interests? Discourses of race, place and identity in British party-political manifestos. Paper presented as part of a symposium at Qualitative Methods in Psychology Conference. Nottingham, 23-25 August.

PhD Thesis

  • Willis, M.E.H. (2015). Moral decisions, moral distress, and the psychological health of nurses. Unpublished PhD, Loughborough University, Loughborough.


  • Houghton, P., Stacey, G., Felton, A., Morgan, A., Stickley, T., Willis, M., Diamond, B., Johnson, B., Dumenya, J. & Shutt, J. (2014). Power and decision making on acute wards. Clinical Psychology Bite-Size, 40. Nottingham: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
  • Stacey, G., Felton, A., Morgan, A., Stickley, T., Willis, M., Diamond, B., Houghton, P., Dumenya, J., Johnson, B. & Shutt, J. (2014). Shared decision making in mental health in-patient settings: Implications for practice. Nottingham: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.


BSc (Hons) Psychology

You will develop a good knowledge of the influences on, and factors involved in, human functioning in all the core areas of psychology.

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MSc Psychology

This is a conversion course for students with a first degree in another subject area. It means you could go on and train to be a professional psychologist – for example, by studying for a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

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  • PY5201 Researching Psychological Worlds 2 (qualitative methods component)
  • PY5202 Applications of Psychobiology, Individual Differences & Social Psychology (social psychology component)
  • PY6301/6321/6322 Psychological Research Project (project supervisor)
  • PY6317 Psychology, Identity & Society
  • PY7153 Conceptual & Historical Issues in Psychology (CHiPs) & Social Psychology (seminar leader)
  • PY7155 Independent Research Thesis (project supervisor)