Dr Mark Burgess

B.Sc (Hons), M.Sc, P.G.C.E, Ph.D

Reader in Psychology

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

Mark Burgess


I am a social psychologist and my research focuses on Transformative Experiences; those experiences whose effects could not have been fully appreciated in advance and that change an individual's understanding of Self in some way. Please see the information in the section titled Research below.

Professional awards:

  • Oxford Brookes University Teaching Fellow
  • Liverpool Hope University Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award
  • University of Saskatchewan, Canada, Teaching Excellence Award
  • University of Alberta, Canada, Graduate Student Teaching Award

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

  • Applying Social Psychology to Global Challenges
  • Qualitative Methods and Research Design Skills 

Research Students

Name Thesis title Completed
Shannon Skeffington Music and its uses across the lifespan Active


My research focuses on transformative experiences. These experiences have an epistemic quality, revealing something that could not have been known without having the experience, and they have a personal quality, changing a person’s experience of ‘being who they are’. Interviews form the main method of my research and I have interviewed people about their ‘lived experience’ across a variety of domains. One major research programme involved interviewing people about their transformative experiences of joining and leaving terrorist groups. Another programme addressed early adopters’ experiences of integrating electric vehicles into their lives at a time when the technology was seen as fresh and unusual. These programmes had practical, as well as academic benefits, helping to shape policies and develop products. 

My new research programme builds on my background in qualitative methods, self-understanding, and transformative experiences. It focuses on how a person’s sexual self-understanding is transformed by pleasurable sexual encounters.  Sexual self-understanding is not fixed, but open to change, and it can be transformed by pleasurable experiences. Positive sexuality is increasingly recognised as an important feature of sexual health, sexual justice, and sexual wellbeing, and I hope that the findings of my current research will strengthen academic knowledge and also be useful for professional counsellors, therapists, sex educators, coaches, and for people interested in enriching their own lives.

Research grants and awards

  • The Expectations and Experiences of Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle Drivers. (£640,075, with Prof. Margaret Harris, Oxford Brookes University) Technology Strategy Board, UK Government

  • Perceptions of BMW MINI E Drivers (£147,775, with Prof. Margaret Harris, Oxford Brookes University) Technology Strategy Board, UK Government

  • Former Loyalist Paramilitary Members' Perspectives of their Involvement in Past Violence and of the Current Peace in Northern Ireland (£6221, with Prof. Neil Ferguson, Liverpool Hope University). British Academy

Research impact

Here are some testimony on the impact of the "Assessing the Viability of Electric Vehicles for Daily Use" project.


Norman Baker (MP, Minister of Transport): "This in depth study provides important evidence to support the Government's policy which is set out in today in the Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles Strategy. People find electric vehicles easy and fun to drive. In addition, they are less polluting and a vital part of the UK's transition to a low-carbon sustainable transport system"

Bob Moran (Head of Low Carbon Regulation, R&D and Procurement, Office of Low Emission Vehicles): "The finding that drivers used their at-home charge points for 97% of their charging time" led to the OLEV strategy to commit to providing "a national package of up to £37 million through to May 2015 to support the installation of charge-points in homes, residential streets, railway stations and public sector car parks and rapid charge-points to facilitate longer journeys"


Suzanne Gray (General Manager, BMW's Project i): "This research has been invaluable in helping our understanding of how people really respond to electric cars. This information puts BMW in a strong position to provide a well-rounded product and service proposition. The findings informed the development of the 2011 BMW ActiveE and the biggest beneficiary will be the BMW i3, the first purpose-built EV from the BMW Group"


David Densley (Head of Sustainable Transport at Scottish and Southern Electric): "The findings have been invaluable in forecasting the impact of EV charging on the network and understanding the underlying behaviours of EV owners when recharging at home. This has helped when talking to EV charging equipment manufacturers in designing charging equipment that is functional and easy to use. It has also provided valuable insights into the utility of public charging infrastructure and the types of locations that would meet the requirements of future EV owners as teh market develops"

Centres and institutes



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