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Dr Sebastian Shaw

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Dr Sebastian Shaw (BM BS, MSc, PhD, PGCert, DRCOG, MAcadMEd, FHEA)

Honorary Clinical Lecturer (Research Methods & Medical Education)
Location: 344A Watson Building, Department of Medical Education, BSMS, University of Brighton, Falmer, BN1 9PH

Areas of expertise: Medical education; Qualitative research; Phenomenology; Autoethnography; Dyslexia in health education. 

Research areas: Neurodiversity (including autism and Specific Learning Difficulties) in health education and practice; Stress / burnout / coping with medical education; The psychosocial aspects of prescribing education and practice. 

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Seb grew up local to Brighton in the countryside of West Sussex. BSMS has been at the heart of his career since he first came to the university as a medical student. He returned to BSMS as an Honorary Research Fellow in 2017, before stepping up to the role of Honorary Clinical Lecturer in 2020.

Seb has always been interested in teaching. As a foundation doctor, he ran the BSMS “foundation teaching for finals” course at his hospital, aimed at helping final year medical students prepare for their qualifying exams. He has a Master’s degree in Medical Education and a Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Research. He is a Member of the Academy of Medical Educators and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. His PhD explored the impacts of dyslexia and dyspraxia on medical education. Seb currently splits his time between teaching/research and part-time clinical work. He is currently the research lead for Autistic Doctors International (ADI) and he also sits on the International Advisory Board for the Elsevier journal Nurse Education in Practice (ISSN: 1471-5953).

In his free time Seb is an Army Cadet Force (ACF) officer. During his time in the ACF Seb has held a variety of roles, which have allowed him to develop his interests in both health promotion and education outside of a traditional clinical setting. These roles have included: detachment commander; company first aid training adviser; county first aid training officer; county medical support assistant; and, most recently, company staff officer.


Seb is primarily a qualitative researcher, with specific interests in phenomenological and autoethnographic approaches. His main research areas focus on student/trainee support and neurodiversity. He has special interests in Specific Learning Difficulties and autism. His projects have attracted over £34,000 in external funding.

Some examples of recent and/or on-going projects have included:

  • The experiences of medical students with dyslexia.
  • Coping with medical school.
  • The experiences of foundation doctors with dyspraxia.
  •  The impacts of dyslexia on safe and effective prescribing.
  • The impact of taking a gap year on medical students’ subsequent experiences at medical school. (Principal Investigator).
  • The learning experiences of dyslexic medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Principal Investigator).
  • The experiences of pharmacy students with dyslexia.
  • Medical students’ fears and fantasies regarding prescribing.
  • Applying to medical school with undiagnosed dyslexia. (Principal Investigator).
  • The experiences of autistic medical students. (Principal Investigator).
  • The lived experiences of higher weight medical students. (Principal Investigator).
  • NHS GPs’ knowledge, attitudes and practices with regards to annual health checks for autistic adults and mandatory autism training.


Seb has taught on both the undergraduate programme and postgraduate courses at BSMS.

He has taught on the following modules on the undergraduate BM BS course: 203, 303, 306. He was awarded an outstanding service award in 2017 for his contributions to multi-professional learning on module 306.

Seb now teaches exclusively in postgraduate medicine, with a focus on research methods and medical education. He also supervises students undertaking research dissertations / individual research projects. Seb’s postgraduate teaching areas have mainly focussed on:

  • The philosophy of research.
  • The critical appraisal of research.
  • Interview skills in qualitative research.
  • Focus group skills in qualitative research.
  • Analysing qualitative data.
  • Ethical and governance issues in health research.
  • Obtaining informed consent in health research.
  • Dyslexia in medical education.
  • Speaking, questioning and listening in medical education.
  • The relationship and communication issues in health education and practice (including explorations with Transactional Analysis and Attribution Theory).

Selected publications

Walker ER, Shaw SCK, Reed M, Anderson JL. The experiences of foundation doctors with dyspraxia: a phenomenological study. Advances in Health Sciences Education. 2021;26(3):959-74.

Shaw SCK, McCowan S, Doherty M, Grosjean B, Kinnear M. The neurodiversity concept viewed through an autistic lens. Lancet Psychiatry. 2021;8(8):654-5.

Shaw SCK, Anderson JL. Coping with medical school: an interpretive phenomenological study. The Qualitative Report. 2021;26(6):1864-80.

Walker E, Shaw SCK, Anderson JL. Dyspraxia in medical education: a collaborative autoethnography. The Qualitative Report. 2020;25(11):4072-93.

Shaw SCK. Hopelessness, helplessness and resilience: the importance of safeguarding our trainees’ mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurse Education in Practice. 2020;44:102780.

Shaw SCK, Hennessy LR, Okorie M, Anderson JL. Safe and effective prescribing with dyslexia. BMC Medical Education. 2019;19(1):277.  

Shaw SCK, Anderson JL. The experiences of medical students with dyslexia: an interpretive phenomenological study. Dyslexia. 2018;24(3):220-33.

Shaw SCK, Anderson JL. Phenomenological research in medical education: an overview of its philosophy, approaches and conduct. In SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2. 2018 Jan 01.

Walker ER, Shaw SC, Price J, Anderson JL, Reed M. Dyspraxia in clinical education: a review. The Clinical Teacher. 2018;15(2):98-103.

Shaw SCK, Anderson JL, Grant AJ. Studying medicine with dyslexia: a collaborative autoethnography. The Qualitative Report. 2016; 21(11): 2036-54.

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