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Karen Winter

Dr. Karen Winter - Queen's University Belfast Research Portal - Research Directory & Institutional Repository for QUB
Karen Winter

Dr Karen Winter


Direct phone: +44 (0)28 9097 3917

For media contact email
or call +44(0)2890 973091.

Research Interests

My research interests include the following areas:

  • Children and young people in care - My research explores transitions into care; educational outcomes; in care experiences; rights and wider relationships. My main concern in this research is to debunk some of the commonly held assumptions regarding children, young people in care and their lives. 
  • Children's rights - Several of my publications and projects reflect my ongoing concern to ensure that professionals working with children are aware of their responsibiliites, held to account and that children are enabled and supported to engage with their rights within the context of their evolving capacities.
  • Communication and positive relationships with childrenCentral to the delivery of better services and outcomes is our attitude towards and understanding of children/childhood, our ability to communicate with children and their carers, and our commitment to advocate with and on their behalf. These foci are reflected in my research projects.
  • Vulnerable families and their children - My research considers responses to families that come under strain due to their lack of access to financial, relational, personal and social resources. A central concern of this work is that services are non stigmatising and that need/support are constructed with reference to the wider social structural context. 

Research Statement

My current research projects are listed below: 

2014-2015 Sloan, S. (PI Education), Gildea, A. (CI Education), Winter, K. (CI Social Work), Lynn, F (CI Nursing), Connolly, P. (CI Education) 'Evaluation of the Effectiveness and Impact of Nurture Provision in Primary Schools in Northern Ireland' funder DENI, Belfast.

2012-2015 Holland, S. (PI), Cree, V. (CI), Winter, K. (CI), Hadfield, M. (CI) and Ruch, G. (CI). ‘Communicating with Vulnerable Children: Understanding the Everyday Practices of Child and Family Social Workers’, funder ESRC.  Follow link for further information:

2012-15 Kelly, B (PI), Winter, K. (CI) and Dowling, S. (RA). 'Meeting the Needs of Disabled Children and Young People in Northern Ireland', funder OFMDFM, Belfast.

2013-2014 Winter, K. (PI), Connolly, P. (CI) and Mooney, J. (DEL PhD studentship) ‘Effects of the Letterbox Club on the Educational Outcomes for Primary School Children aged 7-11 years in Foster Care in Northern Ireland’, funder Fostering Network Northern Ireland. 

Completed projects:

2013 Winter, K. (PI), Byrne, B. (CI) and Lloyd, K. (CI) ‘Provision of an Evidence Base Regarding How the Right to Family Life of Children on the Edge of Care and in Care is Protected and Promoted in Northern Ireland’, funder Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

2010-2011 Connolly, P (PI) O'Hare, L. (CI), Sibbett, C. (CI), Kerr, K. (CI) and Winter, K. (CI) ‘Pupils’ Emotional Health and Wellbeing: A Review of Audit Tools and a Survey of Practice in Northern Ireland’, funder DENI - Department of Education (Northern Ireland) [R323]. Follow link for further information:

2010-2011 Winter, K. (PI) Connolly, P. (CI), Ferguson, J. (CI) and Bell, I. (CI) ‘Effects of the Letterbox Club on the Educational Outcomes for Primary School Children aged 7-11 years in foster care in Northern Ireland’, funder Fostering Network Northern Ireland.  Follow link for further information:

2010 Miller, S. (PI), Connolly, P. (CI) and Winter, K. (CI) ‘“Ready to Learn” - Literature Review Regarding Interventions and Parental Engagement’, funder Barnardos, Northern Ireland.   

Achievements and Distinctions

Leadership roles

2012 - On going - Programme Director DChild (taught doctorate in childhood studies)


Administrative roles

2014 - On going - Staff rep on Senior Management Board

2014 – On going - Staff rep on Academic Council

2012 - On going - Member education committee, staff/student consultative committee, post graduate committee; social work committee, Masters Applied Social Studies Management Board

2010 - 2011 - Organiser School seminar series

2009 - 2012 - Programme Director BSW programme

2009 - 2011 - Staff rep on Senior Management Board

2009 - 2010 - Staff rep on PGCHET Staff Student Consultative Committee



2012 – Teaching award Queen’s University Belfast


I teach at under graduate, post graduate and doctoral level. I have a particular interest in the multi-disciplinary delivery of teaching and learning. As well as giving guest lectures on a range of social work modules, my main teaching areas/module convening responsibilities include:

SWK3008 - Court work skills (under graduate level);

SWK2009 - Research, policy and practice (under graduate level);

SWK2014 - Evidence informed case study (under graduate level);

SWK8096 - Advanced court work skills (Masters level); 

EDU7222 - Children's rights and social care (Masters level);

SOC9032 - Critical perspectives on early childhood (doctoral level).

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Frequent Journals

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Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

ID: 46226