Dr Sarah McGeown

Co-Depute Head of Institute for Education, Community & Society (IECS) / Lecturer in Developmental Psychology


  • MA (Hons) Psychology, University of Aberdeen, 2002
  • MRes Psychology, University of Aberdeen, 2003
  • PhD Psychology, University of Hull, 2008
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education, 2010
  • Higher Education Academy Teaching Fellow, 2011

Responsibilities & affiliations

Membership of Professional Bodies

British Psychological Society, United Kingdom Literacy Association, Society for the Scientific Studies of Reading and the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction.

Editorial/reviewer activities

  • Ad hoc reviewer for: Learning and Individual Differences, Journal of Research in Reading, Child Development, Educational Psychology, Educational Review, Scientific Studies in Reading, European Journal of Psychology of Education, Dyslexia, Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Cambridge Journal of Education, Learning and Instruction, Research in Developmental Disabilities and the British Educational Research Journal.
  • Member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology
  • Member of the Editorial Advisory Group for the Journal of Research in Reading
  • Editor of: Psychology of Gender Differences (2012) Nova Science Publishers

Undergraduate teaching

Education Studies 2 A

Cognitive and Social Development in Education

Postgraduate teaching

Courses taught:

Child and Adolescent Development (MSc Education)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I would be interested in supervising doctoral research students in the areas listed in the research tab.

Current PhD students supervised

  • 2013 - present: Jennifer Salfen. Thesis: Extracurricular activities and PYD in adolescence. 
  • 2013 - present: Matluba Kahn. Thesis: Designing for change: Developing design guidelines for the outdoor environment of primary schools to enhance children's learning and attitudes to school (with Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture)
  • 2014 - present: Xiaoyi Hu. Thesis: Foreign language learning, anxiety and motivation among primary school aged children
  • 2014 - present: Thalia Theodoraki. Thesis: Executive functions and academic attainment among adolescents (with Department of Psychology)

Research summary

  • Reading development: I am interested in the influence of cognitive skills and motivation on children’s reading development, and identifying ways to boost children's motivation to read.  Further interests include investigating the influence of method of reading instruction on children’s reading strategies and attainment.
  • Sex differences and gender identity: Examining the extent to which gender identity explains sex differences in education.
  • Mental toughness in education: Studying the relationship between mental toughness and attainment among primary and secondary school aged pupils and mental toughness among teachers. 

Project activity

Past and ongoing research projects involve the study of children's language and literacy development.  I am interested in crossing disciplinary boundaries and working with other professionals (e.g., teachers, external organisations) with shared interests in this area.

Current project grants

2017: ESRC KE Placement: Scottish Book Trust and Book Trust

2016: Save the Children/Hackney Learning Trust: Evaluation of an early language app

2016-2017: ESRC Impact: Improving children's reading: Research informing practice

Past project grants

2011: Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Research Bursary. Individual differences in the cognitive and behavioural predictors of reading skill

2010 - 2011: HEFCE UnLtd Catalyst Award.  Reading For Fun - A Pupil Led Project to Boost Reading Motivation

2010 - 2011: British Academy Small Research Grant. Investigating sex differences in reading strategies and the effectiveness of different strategies on early reading and spelling

2010:  Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Research Bursary. Sex differences in reading strategies

2009:  Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Research Bursary. Effects of reading instruction on children’s reading strategi

View all 38 publications on Research Explorer