Karen Gravett

Ms Karen Gravett

Learning Development Librarian (LLSS) and Teaching Fellow (DHE)

Qualifications: BA (Hons), MA, MCLIP, FHEA, GradCert

Phone: Work: 01483 68 2281
Room no: 04 CE 01

Further information


I have worked in higher education since 2004 and I am currently Learning Development Librarian at the University of Surrey, where I work to develop students’ learning and particularly their information and digital literacy skills. I am also a Teaching Fellow for the Department of Higher Education.

Research Interests

My interests include: digital and academic literacy, electronic information and technologies, pedagogic frailty and liminality within higher education.


Journal articles

  • Gravett K, Kinchin I. (2018) 'Referencing and empowerment: exploring barriers to agency in the higher education student experience'. Teaching in Higher Education, , pp. 1-14.


    This article examines the challenges experienced by students when developing referencing practices. There has been minimal research into students’ development of their referencing skills, with referencing often considered a mechanistic skill and not worthy of attention. This paper argues that, rather, referencing is an area of practice imbued with issues of power and identity and that the difficulties students experience in this area are leading them to exhibit a lack of agency – ultimately, a form of educational ‘frailty’. Worried about plagiarism and confused by feedback, rather than developing the independent research skills we would wish, students look for instruction, and report feelings of anxiety. These themes are explored using questionnaires and interviews with a small number of undergraduate students. Based on the findings, this article concludes by making recommendations for widening our understanding of the difficulties students encounter, the need for further discussion and potentially greater scaffolding and support.

  • Gravett K, Winstone N. (2018) '“Feedback interpreters”: the role of Learning Development professionals in facilitating university students’ engagement with feedback'. Teaching in Higher Education,


    Understanding how students engage with assessment feedback is a key concern of higher education professionals. Research commonly represents the perspectives of students and academic staff, yet little consideration is given to the role of learning development staff, despite these individuals supporting students when interpreting and implementing feedback. We report the findings from interviews with learning developers working in a UK University, exploring their insights into the barriers students confront when engaging with feedback, and into the role of learning developers within the feedback landscape. This study suggests that, while many challenges exist for staff and students in the context of assessment feedback, learning development professionals are able to provide a meaningful source of guidance, in partnership with academic staff, and are able to promote students’ development through dialogic interactions. Hitherto these interactions have not been fully explored, yet they provide powerful insight into the hidden processes of feedback recipience.


As part of my role as Learning Development Librarian I teach Information literacy and research skills sessions across a range of modules with the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. 

Where we are

University Library, George Edwards Building,  University of Surrey,  Guildford,  Surrey GU2 7XH,  United Kingdom T: +44 (0)1483 689235 F: +44 (0)1483 689500

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