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Text messaging to promote physical activity

   School of Health and Social Care

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  Dr Coral Hanson, Prof L Neubeck  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project



Physical activity is beneficial for both physical and mental health. The widespread availability of mobile technology provides an opportunity to support self-management during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Text messaging has become a popular and simple way to communicate in a low cost and unobtrusive way. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have demonstrated the effectiveness of text messaging to promote smoking cessation, weight loss, and physical activity. Such programmes are cost-effective, engaging, and patients find them easy to understand. The proposed PhD studentship will set up and examine a text messaging intervention for physical activity referral schemes in Scotland. This will include both quantitative and qualitative evaluation. It will compliment an existing PhD exploring the use of an app and online support system for such schemes.


Academic qualifications

A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally from an exercise, nursing, physiotherapy or other allied health professional background with a good fundamental knowledge of the promotion of physical activity to populations with a range of long-term medical conditions.


English language requirement

IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.


Essential attributes:

·        Experience of fundamental statistics

·        Competent in MS Office suite

·        Knowledge of the promotion of physical activity to populations with a range of long-term medical conditions

·        Good written and oral communication skills

·        Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project

·        Good time management


Desirable attributes:

A masters qualification in a related subject

Experience of conducting quantitative and qualitative research




When applying, please quote the application reference SHSC0034 on your form.


·        Completed application form 

·        CV

·        2 academic references, using the Postgraduate Educational Reference Form (Found on the application process page)

·        A personal research statement (This should include (a) a brief description of your relevant experience and skills, (b) an indication of

·        What you would uniquely bring to the project and (c) a statement of how this project fits with your future direction.)

·        Evidence of proficiency in English (if appropriate)


Funding Notes

A standard Edinburgh Napier studentship is payment of the Home/EU level of full-time fees for three academic years, plus 36 monthly stipend payments at the prevailing rate set by the Research Councils.


Redfern J, Santo K, Coorey G, et al. (2016) Factors Influencing Engagement, Perceived Usefulness and Behavioral Mechanisms Associated with a Text Message Support Program. PLoS ONE
Haider R, Hyun K, Cheung NW, et al. (2019) Effect of lifestyle focused text messaging on risk factor modification in patients with diabetes and coronary heart disease: A sub-analysis of the TEXT ME study. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice

Bell, J., Neubeck, L., Jin, K., Kelly, P., & Hanson, C. (2021). Understanding leisure centre-based physical activity after physical activity referral: evidence from scheme participants and completers in Northumberland UK. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Hanson, C.L.; Neubeck, L.; Kyle, R.G.; Brown, N.; Gallagher, R.; Clark, R.A.; McHale, S.; Dawkes, S. Gender (2021) Differences in Uptake, Adherence and Experiences: A Longitudinal, Mixed-Methods Study of a Physical Activity Referral Scheme in Scotland, UK. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Hanson C.L., Oliver E.J., Dodd-Reynolds C.J., Pearsons A., Kelly P. (2020) A modified Delphi study to gain consensus for a taxonomy to report and classify physical activity referral schemes (PARS). International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Hanson, C. L., Oliver, E. J., Dodd-Reynolds, C.J., & Allin, L. J. (2019) How do participant experiences and characteristics influence engagement in exercise referral? A qualitative longitudinal study of a scheme in Northumberland, UK. BMJ Open
Oliver, E. J., Hanson, C. L., Lindsay, I., Dodd-Reynolds, C. J. (2016) Exercise on referral: Evidence and complexity at the nexus of public health and sport policy. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics