Dr Nalita James

Nalita (new)

BA (Staffs), MA (De Montfort), EdD (Leicester)

Honorary Associate Professor in Education


Email: nrj7@leicester.ac.uk



Nalita was Director of Learning and Teaching, and Acting Head of Department in the Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning between October 2013-2016. In Autumn 2016 the University of Leicester closed the Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning. Nalita is now Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Education She also worked  as a Lecturer and Head of Postgraduate Studies for the Centre for Labour Market Studies, in the School of Management for nearly ten years. Nalita's earlier roles have included  being an educational manager at Nottingham Trent University, and later for the British Psychological Society where she was responsible for training and standards in psychology education. She has a BA Hons in Sociology from Staffordshire University, an MA in Human Resource Management from De Montfort University and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Leicester. Nalita is also Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and an Academic Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). She is currently  Chair and Council member of the Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA). In 2016 she was elected on to the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) Executive Committee in recognition of her contribution to adult education and lifelong learning.  She is also a member of EPALE European Stakeholder Reference Group in Adult Education.  She is  an active researcher and advocate of lifelong learning and adult education.

Research Interests

Nalita's research interests lie in the sociology of education and include: access to higher education; adult education; changing patterns of education, work and identity; lifelong learning; and education policy. Finally, her methodological research interests include the use of the internet and online research methods in qualitative research

Current Research

Nalita was awarded funding from the Department for Local Government and Communities (September 2017) to examine the impact of adult education on migration and integration in Leicester.

Recent Research

Nalita has worked with Dr Vanessa Beck in the School of Management, University of  Bristol to explore  “older learners” in higher education and their understandings and perceptions of what it means to be an older learner within current educational discourse. She also led on a research project called “Never Too Late To Learn” with Olivia Harrison, Dr Diana Pinto and Farhat Syyeda from the Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning to examine the impact of part-time study on adults lives and how career decisions are made and assisted in the course of their studies.

Nalita has also conducted major research with Dr Hugh Busher, in the School of Education, funded by the British Academy and Aim Awards, between 2011-2014 on the learning transitions of Access to Higher Education (HE) students. The study came at a time when shifting education policy was emphasising the need for HE to recruit and retain students to deliver future economic growth and social mobility, rather than creating opportunities for students to 'participate' in HE.


External Activities

  • External Examiner: University of Cardiff, Centre for Lifelong Learning (2015-18)
  • External Examiner University of Sheffield, Department for Lifelong Learning (2016-19)
  • External Examiner, University of Glasgow, School of Education (2017-2020
  • CIPD Academic Assessor
  • Chair and Council Member of SCUTREA
  • UALL Research Committee Member
  • UALL Executive Board Member and member of the Finance Committee
  • Editorial Board Member: Studies in the Education of Adults
  • Co-convenor (With Dr Hugh Busher) of the QAA Access to HE Research Network
  • Book reviewer for British Educational Research Journal

PhD Supervision and Interests

Nalita is supervising PhD students in the following areas:

  • Adult education
  • Education to work transitions
  • Lifelong learning
  • Teaching and learning in higher education


Full List of Publications


Boeren, E. and James, N. (2018 forthcoming) Being an Adult Learner in Austere Times, London: Palgrave.

James, N. and Busher, H. (2018 in press) Opening Doors?  A Study of Access to Higher Education, London: Routledge.

James, N. and Busher, H. (2009) Online Interviewing. London: Sage Publications.

Journal Articles

Lokhtina, I. and James, N. (2018 in press) 'Feeling on the periphery? The challenge of supporting academic development and identity through communities of practice, Studies in the Education of Adults

' Boeren, E. and James, N. (2017)  Guest Editors, Special Issue Advancing Theory and Research in Widening Participation, Studies in Continuing Education, 39 (2): 117-119.

Busher, H., James., N. and Piela, A. (2016) "On Reflection: Mature Students’ Views of Teaching and Learning on Access to Higher Education Courses,” International Studies in Sociology of Education http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09620214.2015.1083405

James, N. (2015) "You've got mail...!" Using email interviews to gather academics'  narratives of their working lives, International Journal of Research and Method in Education, DOI:10.1080/1743727X.2015.1056136

Busher, H., James, N. and Piela, A. (2015) "I always wanted to do second chance learning" Identities and Experiences of tutors on Access to HE courses," Research in Post-compulsory Education, 20(2): DOI: 10.1080/13596748.2015.1030235

James, N and Busher H. (2015) Guest editorial: Ethical issues in online research, Special Issue, Educational Research and Evaluation: An International Journal on Theory and Practice. 21 (2): 89-94.

Busher, H. and James, N. (2015) In pursuit of ethical research: Studying hybrid, communities using online and face-to-face communications, Special Issue, Educational Research and Evaluation: An International Journal on Theory and Practice, 21 (2): 168-181

James, N. Suttill, B. and Busher, H. (2015) Using habitus and field to explore Access to Higher Education Students' identities and careers, Studies in the Education of Adults.47 (1): 4-20.

James, N. (2015) Creating space to think and time to talk. Using email interviews to gather academic narratives, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, DOI: 10.1080/09518398.2015.1017848

James, N. Busher, H., and Suttill, B. (2015) "We all know why we're here": Learning as a Community and Practice on Access to HE courses, Journal of Further and Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2015.1014319

Busher, H., James, N., Piela, and A. Palmer, A.M. (2014) Transforming marginalized adult learners' views themselves: Access courses in England, British Journal of Sociology of Education (Special Issue), 35 (4) : 800-817.

James, N. (2013) Research on the ‘inside’: The challenges of conducting research with young offenders, Sociological Research Online, 18 (4): hhtp://www.sourceonline.org.uk/18/4/14.html

James, N, and Busher (2013) Researching hybrid learning communities in the digital age through educational ethnography, Ethnography and Education, Special Issue, 8 (2): 194-209. DOI 10.1080/17457823.2013.792509

James, N. (2007) The use of email interviewing as a qualitative method of inquiry in educational research, British Educational Research Journal 33(6): 963-976.

James, N. and Busher, H. (2007) Ethical issues in online educational research: protecting privacy, establishing authenticity in email interviewing, International Journal of Research & Method in Education 30(1): 101-113.

James, N. and Busher, H. (2006) Credibility, authenticity and voice: dilemmas in online interviewing, Qualitative Research 6(3): 403-420.

Book Chapters

Busher, N. and James, N (2016) Social Mobility and Access to Higher Education, in R.Waller (eds) Class and Higher Education, London, Routledge

James, N. and Busher, H (2016) Online Interviews, D.Silverman (eds) Qualitative Research, London, Sage Publications

Piela, A., Busher. H., James, N. and Palmer, A-M (2014) Agency and Future Life Trajectories in Accounts and Access to Higher Education students in England, I B. Kapplingter, N. Lichte, E. Haberzeth, C.Kulms (eds) Changing Configurations of Adult Education in Transitional Times. Proceedings of the ESREA Friennial Research Conference 2013. Humboldt University of Berlin: Germany ISBN: 978-3-8600-297-7

James, N. and Busher, H. (2012) 'Credibility, Authenticity and Voice: Dilemmas in Online Research', in C.Hine (ed) Virtual Research Methods, London: Sage Publications.

James, N. and Busher, H. (2012) 'Epistemological Dimensions in Qualitative Research' in J.Hughes (ed) SAGE Internet Research Methods, London Sage.

James, N. and Busher, H. (2012) 'The Displacement of Time and Space in Online Research' in J.Hughes (ed) SAGE Internet Research Methods, London Sage.

James, N. and Busher, H. (2012) ' Engaging with Research Participants Online' in J.Hughes (ed) SAGE Internet Research Methods, London Sage.

James, N. and Busher, H. (2012) 'Credibility, Authenticity and Voice: Dilemmas in Online Interviewing' in J.Hughes (ed) SAGE Internet Research Methods, London Sage.

Busher, H. and James, N. (2012) 'Being there.' Reconceptulisations of space, time and place for ethographers in hybrid and virtual educational contexts' in S. Marques da Silva and P. Landr (eds) Rethinking Education Ethnography: Researching Online Communities and Interactions. Available online at:www.ethnographyandeducation.org/documents/portocall.doc

Busher, H. and James, N. (2012) 'Qualitative interviewing in cyberspace', in S. Delamont (ed.) Handbook of Qualitative Research. Edward Elgar.

James, N. and Busher, H. (2012) 'Internet Interviewing', in J. Gubrium, J. Holstein, A. Marvasti and K. McKinney Marvasti (eds.) Handbook of Interview Research (2nd edn.). New York: Sage.

Busher, H. and James, N. (2012) 'The ethical framework of research practice', in A. Briggs, M. Coleman and M. Morrison (eds.) Research Methods in Educational Leadership and Management (3rd edn.). London: Sage.

Abusidalaghoul, V., Goodwin, J., James, N., Rainnie, A., Venter, K., and White, M. (2009) 'Sitting on a wall in Northumberland crying: The realities of semi-structured interviews', in Townsend, K. and Burgess, J. (eds.) (2009) Method in the Madness? Research Stories You Won't Find in a Textbook. Oxford: Chandos.

James, N. and McNeil, B. (2009) 'The Impact of Drama on Young Offenders' Learning Identities and Careers', in B. Merrill (ed.) Learning to Change? The Role of Identity and Learning Careers in Adult Education. Oxford: Peter Lang Publishing.

James, N. (2008) 'Authenticity', in L. M. Given (ed.) The Sage Encyclopaedia of Qualitative Research Methods. London: Sage Publications.

Busher, H. and James, N. (2007) 'Ethics and access in research education', pp. 106-122 in A. Briggs and M. Coleman (eds.) Research in Educational Management. London: Paul Chapman.

James, N. (2007) 'The learning trajectories of old-timers: academic identities and communities of practice in higher education', pp. 131-142 in J. Hughes, N. Jewson and L. Unwin (eds.) Communities of Practice: Critical Perspectives. London: Routledge.

James, N. (2006) 'Actup! Theatre as education and its impact on young people's learning', pp. 153-162 in J. Somer and M. Balfour (eds.) Drama as Social Intervention. Canada: Captus University Publications.


James, N. Busher, H. Piela, A, Palmer, A-M (2014) Access to Higher Education Students' Learning Transitions, Phase 2 Report, Aim Awards and British Academy.

James, N., Busher, H. and Suttill, B. (2012) Access to Higher Education Students Learning Transitions Phase 1 Report, University of Leicester.

Other Publications

James, N. (2014) “Consuming Higher Education: Why Learning Can’t be Bought”, Book Review, Studies in the Education of Adults, 46 (11): pp 224-228

James, N. (2014) Lifelong Learning and Social Justice. Work and identities in a globalised world, Book Reviews, British Educational Research Journal, 40 (3) 581-582

James, N (2012) Five Ways of Doing Qualitative Analysis, Book Reviews, British Educational Research Journal, 38 (5): 883-884

Walford, G., Redword, Sa., Abbott, L., James, N., Chadderton, C., and Giles, D. (2009) Book Reviews, British Educational Research Journal, 35 (6) 926-937.












































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Share this page:

Keep up-to-date with latest from the School of Education by following us on Twitter:


Contact Us

School of Education
University of Leicester
21 University Road

Telephone: 0116 252 3688

Email: EducationDept@le.ac.uk

Student complaints procedure


AccessAble logo

The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for 21 University Road.