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Dr Toni Williams

Associate Professor

Associate Professor in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Fellow of the Institute for Medical Humanities


Toni joined the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences in January 2022 from Leeds Beckett University. Prior to that, she was a Glendonbrook Doctoral Research Fellow at Loughborough University. Her research in physical activity and disability focuses on understanding the physical activity experiences of disabled people and effective physical activity promotion. Through working with healthcare professionals, charities, sport organisations and disabled people, this line of research has sought to identify and address the barriers to sport and exercise participation. Toni is also interested in how disabled people’s overlapping identities and experiences intersect to contribute to the inequalities they face in leading a physically active lifestyle. 

Toni’s research also explores the use and development of qualitative research methods and methodologies to conceptually advance sport and exercise psychology research. This includes the use of meta-synthesis (e.g., qualitative evidence synthesis, thematic synthesis, meta-study etc.), narrative inquiry and novel methods of data collection such as timelining and story completion. This research draws upon innovative and integrated methods to create more engaging projects and collect qualitative data in new and exciting ways.

Her funded work in these areas has been published in leading international journals such as Health Psychology Review, Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, Psychology of Sport and Exercise and she has published book chapters in key textbooks including the Routledge Handbook of Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise (2016) and The Routledge International Encyclopedia of Sport and Exercise Psychology (2020). Toni has also been invited to lead qualitative training workshops at conferences and events both nationally and internationally (e.g., Denmark, Canada).

Toni is involved in various professional and scholarly activities. For example, she is a founding member and treasurer of the new International Society for Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise (Twitter: @QRSEsoc Website: launched in 2020. She was also the co-chair of the highly successful 4th International Conference on Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise (QRSE2014) and is co-chair of the upcoming 8th International Conference on Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise to be held in Durham in July 2022 (Twitter: @QRSE2022 Website:

Twitter: @T_L_WilliamsPhD 

Google scholar:

PhD Students

Toni welcomes PhDs applications in any area relating to disability, sport and physical activity that aligns with the broad research themes concerning reducing health inequalities, promoting social justice and improving the lives of disabled people.


Chapter in book

Journal Article

Supervision students