Imperial College London

Dr Órla Meadhbh Murray

Central FacultyCentre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship

Research Associate







Sherfield BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Órla is a postdoctoral research associate in the Centre for Higher Education Research and Scholarship (CHERS) working on the SIDUS Project (Supporting the Identity Development of Underrepresented Students). Her research focuses on feminist sociology, inequalities in higher education, audit culture, and Institutional Ethnography. She is currently writing a monograph - Abolish Audit: A Feminist Institutional Ethnography of UK Universities - based on her PhD thesis (forthcoming Bristol University Press 2022) and running Institutional Ethnography training workshops as part of the UK and Ireland Institutional Ethnography Network with Dr Adriana Suárez Delucchi (University of Bristol) and Dr Liz Ablett (UCD).

Prior to joining Imperial, Órla was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Edinburgh Sociology Department supporting the development of impact case studies for REF2021. She completed her PhD in the same Department, focusing on UK university audit processes - the National Student Survey (NSS), UK research council funding applications, and the Research Excellence Framework (REF) - using the work of feminist sociologist Dorothy Smith and Institutional Ethnography (IE) to explore feminist concerns about how power works in institutions, textually-mediate relations of ruling, and how to negotiate these as a feminist researcher. Órla also taught extensively at the University of Edinburgh between 2013 and 2020, tutoring and lecturing across sociology, human geography, qualitative methods, and sustainable development.


(2020) Text, Process, Discourse: Doing Feminist Text Analysis in Institutional Ethnography. International Journal of Social Research Methodology. Available online.

(2020) Beyond Confession: Doing Holistic Reflexivity and Accountability. In: R. Govinda, F. Mackay, K. Menon & R. Sen eds., Doing Feminisms in the Academy: Identity, Institutional Pedagogy and Critical Classrooms in India and the UK. New Delhi: Zubaan/Chicago: Chicago University Press. pp. 222-232.

(2018) Feel the Fear and Killjoy Anyway: Being a Challenging Feminist Presence in Precarious Academia. In: Y. Taylor & K. Lahad, eds., Feeling Academic in the Neoliberal University: Feminist Flights, Fights and Failures. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 163-189.

(2018, with Lisa Kalayji) Forging Feminist Futures Through Discomfort: Vulnerability, Authority, and Labour in the Queer Feminist Classroom. Journal of Applied Social Theory. 1(2), pp. 12-34. Available online.

(2016, with Muireann Crowley & Lena Wånggren) Feminist Work in Academia and Beyond. In: R. Thwaites & A. Pressland, eds., Being an Early-Career Feminist Academic: Global Perspectives, Experiences, and Challenges. London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 215-235.

(2014, with Angus Bancroft, Martina Karels & Jade Zimpfer) Not Being There: Research at a Distance with Video, Text and Speech. In: S. Hillyard & M. Hand, eds., Big Data? Qualitative Approaches to Digital Research, Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing. pp. 137-153.

(2014, with Angus Bancroft, Jade Zimpfer & Martina Karels) Working at Pleasure in Young Women’s Alcohol Consumption: A Participatory Visual Ethnography. Sociological Research Online. 19(3). Available online.

(2014, with Angus Bancroft, Martina Karels & Jade Zimpfer) Video Ethnography Case: Alcohol Consumption Among Young University Students in the United Kingdom. SAGE Research Methods Cases. Available online.



Murray ÓM, 2022, Text, process, discourse: doing feminist text analysis in institutional ethnography, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, Vol:25, ISSN:1364-5579, Pages:45-57

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