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Researcher Overview

I am an ESRC funded PhD student in the Centre for Language and Communication Research. My research is in the field of vocabulary development. I have designed a morphology and etymology focused Vocabulary Development Programme, which explores whether explicit teaching of word parts, word history and vocabulary decoding skill could influence pupils’ ability to comprehend complex academic vocabulary at the transition from primary to secondary school.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and work as a tutor on Cardiff University’s English language degree programme and as a Senior Writing Support tutor for the School of English, Communication and Philosophy. I am also an Associate Tutor on Cardiff Metropolitan University's Speech and Language Therapy degree programme. I teach the first-year undergraduate module Child Language Acquisition. In 2021, I was appointed as a Cumberland Lodge Fellow and also became Chair of the English Speaking Union's Young Persons' Committee in South Wales. I organise and run debate and public speaking workshops, and judge competitions across South Wales. As part of my doctoral training, I worked as an Education Policy Research Intern for the Welsh Government. I wrote two evidence-based reviews that informed the National Strategy for Education Research and Enquiry in Wales. I have since continued working for the Welsh Government as an Education Policy Research Assistant on the National Education Equity Strategy for Wales. 

I completed a BA in English (First Class Hons.) at the University of Southampton before working as a secondary school literacy teacher. I then moved to Cardiff University with a Master's Excellence Scholarship to study for an MA in Language and Linguistics in which I achieved a Distinction. For my Master's research, I was awarded the Nicholas Coupland Prize for Best Performance in Sociolinguistics-based projects.


Research interests

- Education and linguistics
- Children's language 
- Morphology 
- Etymology
- Vocabulary development 
- Language acquisition
- Psycholinguistics
- Sociolinguistics
- Historical linguistics


- Co-founder and editor of the postgraduate e-journal, SPiLL
- CLCR Seminar Series Co-ordinator
- Postgraduate Tutor Rep for ENCAP
- Chair of the South Wales Young Person's English-Speaking Union Committee
- Treasurer for Linguistics and Knowledge about Language in Education (BAAL Special Interest Group)

Conference talks:

Developing an Evidence-Informed Education Profession in Wales: A review of research evidence, British Education Research Association Conference, September 2021.


Bristow, E. (2021). The Impact of Professional Learning on Practitioners, Pupils and School Improvement: An Evidence Review. Cardiff: Welsh Government. Available at:

Bristow, E. (2022). Book review of The acquisition of derivational morphology: A Cross-linguistic Perspective.  


Cardiff University

     - Senior Writing Support Tutor in the Writing Support Centre for the School of English, Communication and Philosophy
     - Undergraduate Seminar Tutor, How Language Works I, Developing English and Language and the Mind

Cardiff Metropolitan University

- Associate Tutor in Linguistics at Cardiff Metropolitan University teaching Child Language Acquisition on the Speech and Language Therapy BSc. 

Step-Up to University

Previously, I worked as a PhD Tutor for Cardiff University's widening participation scheme 'Step-Up to University'. I delivered weekly masterclasses to A Level students from schools and colleges across South Wales. I taught on the following module:
          - Languages, Literacy and Communication: Read. Said. Seen. 

The Brilliant Club's Scholars Programme

I am a Brilliant Club PhD Tutor delivering courses that widen access to Higher Education and promote university-style learning amongst secondary school students. This year, I will be delivering the following courses in a number of schools in South Wales:
      - From ‘Oniscus asellus’ to Chuggypigs and Billybuttons: Investigating English language variation and change. A   Sociolinguistics-based module I designed for Key Stage 4/5 students.
      - How does language work? Seren Award course for A level students.
      - Through the looking glass: An introduction to literary theory. A pre-designed Key Stage 3 module. 
      - Into the deep dark woods: Journey through literature. A pre-designed Key Stage 2 module. 


Children's vocabulary development: Explicit etymology and morphology teaching at the transition from primary to secondary school.

Funding source