• Room 02.038 - Whitla Medical Building

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Please contact Dr Johnston if you are interested in pursuing an MSc or PhD project in medical education, using qualitative methodologies.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


As a practising GP and medical educationalist, my research utilises education as a means to bring about social change. Using explorations of language, my work makes visible unseen power dynamics within healthcare and healthcare education.

Working within sociocultural and critical frameworks, I have wide experience of qualitative methodologies. Current favourites include critical discourse analysis (after Gee) and institutional ethnography. I draw on theorists including Paolo Freire, Antonio Gramsci, Dorothy Holland and Dorothy Smith.

Leading a dynamic young research group with international success, I extend a warm welcome to anyone from any background interested in undertaking healthcare education research with a social justice agenda in mind.


Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME): Best Research Paper of the Year Award, Winner 2016

Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME): Best Research Paper of the Year Award, Runner-up 2016

Queen's University Belfast School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science Award for Excellence in Medical Education Research, 2013

Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME) New Researcher Award Runner-up Prize, 2010


I bring my experience as a clinician to bear on my teaching, using a primary care perspective and generalist skills, to work with students towards a nuanced understanding of care paradigms and health inequalities. My teaching and research work are dialogic, employing social learning theories and critical pedagogy in the construction and delivery of teaching programmes.


British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) editorial committee (2015-present). 

ASME Educational Research Group (2014-15)

Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research Paper of the Year Panel (2011-12)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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