Dr Emma Coonan

Research fellow

Location: Cambridge

Emma is Research Fellow at the Centre for Innovation in Higher Education at Anglia Learning & Teaching. She carries out individual and collaborative research into innovative pedagogic approaches including design thinking in teaching and learning, pedagogies of inclusion, and research ethics.

01223 692890
Google Scholar profile


Emma’s background is in academic, digital and information literacies in higher education. Her experience includes eLearning course design, leading professional workshops, and developing a highly-cited information literacy curriculum. Her chief research interests are in the field of applied pedagogic research and the scholarship of teaching and learning. As Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Information Literacy and Associate Editor of the Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, she also has a keen interest in scholarly communications practices.

In her role as Research Fellow for the Centre for Innovation in Higher Education, she is looking forward to forging strong collaborative partnerships with ARU colleagues to explore new approaches to designing inclusive and inspiring teaching.

Research interests

  • Learning development, academic literacies, and academic practices
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL)
  • Pedagogic theories and models
  • Learner identity and agency
  • Critical information literacy theories and praxis


  • PhD English literature and literary theory
  • MSc Information and Library management
  • MSt Modernist literature

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Information Literacy 
  • Advisory board member, Studies in Arts and Humanities
  • Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Committee member, CILIP Information Literacy Group
  • Member, Society for Research into Higher Education
  • Peer reviewer for:
    • Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education
    • Journal of Creative Library Practice
    • Journal of Information Science 
    • Journal of Documentation
    • Innovations in Education and Teaching International

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • External examiner, University of Liverpool EdD thesis (2015); Middlesex University DProf Public Works joint project (2015) 
  • External reviewer, Carnegie Mellon University senior librarian application (2016)
  • Open Access Transition Project, Cambridge University Library (2013)
  • Arcadia Research Fellowship, Wolfson College Cambridge (2011)

Selected recent publications

Coonan, E., 2018.  SoTL research. In: The Grounded Instruction Librarian: Participating in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Chicago: ACRL (forthcoming).

Secker, J. and Coonan, E., 2018. Pocket Study Skills: Finding and Using Information. London: Palgrave (forthcoming).

Coonan, E., 2017. Foreword. In: Global Perspectives in Information Literacy: Fostering a Dialogue for International Understanding. Chicago: ACRL.

Coonan, E., 2016. The problem with peer review. Guest blog post also used in York University’s MOOC Becoming a Digital Citizen.

Coonan, E., ed., 2014. Teaching, not telling: proceedings of the 2nd UK Information Literacy and Summon day. Cambridge: ProQuest.

Coonan, E., ed. and intro, 2013. 'Only Connect ...': discovery pathways, library explorations, and the information adventure. Huddersfield: Innovative Libraries.

Coonan, E., ed. and intro, 2012. Rethinking Information Literacy: a practical framework for teaching. London: Facet.

Coonan, E., 2011. Navigating the information landscape. Serials Librarian, 61(3-4) Oct 2011, pp323-333.

Coonan, E., 2011. Teaching learning: perceptions of information literacy. Cambridge: Arcadia Project.

Recent presentations and conferences

Aston, S., Coonan, E. and Walton, G. ‘Writing successful conference proposals’. LILAC conference, Liverpool, April 2018 (invited session).

Coonan, E. ‘New tricks? Negotiating the librarian identity’. CONUL Teaching and Learning Annual Seminar, Trinity College Dublin, November 2017 (conference keynote).

Coonan, E. ‘Learning to fail’. i2c2 conference, Scarborough, November 2017 (conference keynote).

Hollister, C.V., Coonan, E., Brower, S. and Schroeder, R. ‘A tale of two journals’. European Conference on Information Literacy, St. Malo, September 2017.

Coonan, E. ‘Bookending HE: supporting transition and transformation at both ends of the curriculum’. CILIP Conference, Brighton, July 2017.

Coonan, E. and Walton, G. ‘Writing research bids’. Information Literacy Group Research Day, June 2017.

Coonan, E. ‘Designing for digital literacies from the pedagogic shadows’. Society for Research into Higher Education, May 2017.

Coonan, E. ‘The underside of the carpet: can superheroes fail?’ Cambridge Libraries conference, Cambridge, January 2017 (conference keynote).

Coonan, E. ‘Getting your research published’. Research-Based Practice in Libraries Summit, Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar, April 2016.

Coonan, E. ‘Tips for aspiring authors’. LILAC conference, Dublin, March 2016 (invited workshop).

Coonan, E. ‘If you can’t be kind, be scholarly: constructive peer reviewing’. LILAC conference, Dublin, March 2016 (invited workshop).

Coonan, E. ‘Publication without tears’. iDocQ conference, Robert Gordon University, 22 June (conference keynote).

Secker, J., Coonan, E., Hensley, M.K., McNicol, S. and Shields, E. Symposium: ‘Information literacy: the relevance of theories and models to practice’. LILAC Conference, Newcastle, April 2015.

Coonan, E. and Shahabudin, K. ‘Dilemmas of difference in an age of convergence: co-working for librarians and learning developers’. ALDinHE conference, Southampton March 2015.

Smart, D., Walton, G. and Coonan, E. CILIP debate: ‘This house believes that the role of the librarian should be that of teacher’. Speaker for the motion. Library of Birmingham, February 2015.