Harley Jean Simpson


PhD Student and Lecturer in Sports Coaching Science

School of Sport and Exercise Science


PhD Students

Contact Details

email: h.simpson@worc.ac.uk

Harley Jean’s main interests are Coaches’ Decision-Making, Research Methods, Coach Education/Learning and Pedagogy.  Her specialist area is in Sports Coaching, and she is driven by the curiosity of researching and balancing her role as a lecturer/researcher across higher education and working with National Governing Bodies.

PhD topic: Exploring Coaches’ Cognitively and Socially-Rooted Decisions within a Professional Sports Team Context.

Stage 1 - To identify the cognitively-rooted decisions within a sports team environment.

Stage 2 - To explore coaches’ socially-rooted decisions, within a sports team environment through an ethnographic approach.

Stage 3 - To explore the ontological and epistemological insights from an interdisciplinary approach of cognitively and socially-rooted decisions.

Her supervisors are Dr Don Vinson, Dr Andy Cale and Dr Christian Edwards.



Full-time PhD studentship ‘Exploring Coaches' Decision-Making in Team Sports' (Current)

Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods (2020)

MSc Sports Coaching Science, University of Worcester (2018)

BSc (Hons) Joint Honours Physical Education and Sports Coaching Science, University of Worcester (2016)

HND Sport, Coaching and Physical Education, University of Worcester (2014)

Teaching & Research


  • The Pedagogy of Coaches’ Decision-Making
  • Research Methods
  • Philosophy
  • Sports Coaching
  • Coach/Athlete Learning and Development


  • Coaches’ Decision-Making within Team Contexts
  • Focusing on the application of Critical Realism to Sports Coaching
  • Philosophy
  • Research Methods: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods approaches
  • Epistemological and Ontological insights to research
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to Sports Coaching



Simpson, H.J. (2019 September) Cluster for Research into Coaching (CRiC) ‘Exploring Coaches' Decision-Making in Team Sports’.

Simpson, H.J. (2019 July) Seeds of Knowledge (University of Worcester) ‘Identifying Research Approaches to Coaches' and Athletes' Decision-Making in Team Sports’.

Simpson, H.J. (2019 July) The Power of Sport, Student Conference (Liverpool John Moores University) ‘Identifying Research Approaches to Coaches' and Athletes' Decision-Making in Team Sports’.

Images of Research:

Public Choice Award - Simpson, H.J. (2019) ‘No two situations are ever the same’.

External Responsibilities

Whilst undertaking her PhD, Harley Jean is also the Chair of the Postgraduate Network and a PGR Senior Representative within the Research School.