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Lorna’s research interests have stemmed from her 20 years practice experience as a social worker in Northern Ireland, and five years working for an International NGO based in Uganda, East Africa. Her research in Adult Safeguarding and in the assessment of parenting capacity seeks to influence ways in which social workers protect and support the families with whom they work. Lorna is also interested in research in the areas of mental health and bereavement.

Lorna’s research has included a review of adult safeguarding legislation, evaluations of mental health service provision and of services for isolated older people, and an exploration of disabled people’s experiences of decision making. Additionally, Lorna is leading on a large regional project, Building Better Futures, which aims to refine and implement a new evidence-based model for the assessment of parenting capacity and intervention across specific social work teams in the five Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland.

In her PhD, Lorna explored therapeutic interventions for bereavement across diverse cultures, and is pursuing opportunities to conduct research in culturally sensitive interventions generally and more specifically in the area of loss and grief.

Find out more


Open to PhD applications in the field of 

  • Adult safeguarding including the investigative processes
  • Working with diverse cultures
  • Bereavement
  • Culturally competent therapeutic interventions
Make a PhD enquiry


  • Fellow of the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation ‘What works for communities?’ strand


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science

School Of Social Sciences, Education And Social Work


Research students

PhD title: Policy and Practice developments in Northern Ireland’s Adult Safeguarding. A qualitative comparative study of United Kingdom and Ireland

Name: Cormac Coyle
Years of Study: 
Country: Northern Ireland

PhD title: Protecting Adults at risk of harm: A study of Social Workers’ Involvement in Achieving Best Evidence

Name: James Todd
Years of Study:
Country: Northern Ireland


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