Skip to main content

Dr Karen Winter

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
Dr Karen Winter

Dr Karen Winter

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

Research has focused on Children and young people known to and in the care of social services. Specific areas of interest include a) young children's rights as defined under the UNCRC; their evolving capacities and their participation in decision making b) young children’s relationships and communication with families, professionals and carers c) children’s health, education and social wellbeing; placements and outcomes d) early intervention support services and their effectiveness.

This research has included projects funded by the ESRC, local government and the voluntary sector. The focus of most recent ESRC research has been on communication with children and parents during social worker visits using innovative methods and the production of a rare, large qualitative dataset. The other is one of the first RCT’s with children in care reviewing the effectiveness of a paired reading approach in improving reading outcomes. Other related projects have assessed the effectiveness of school based interventions for children in care and of family support services to prevent children coming into care. 

The objective of the research activity is to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in care.

Research Interests

Open to PhD applications in the field of

  • Children and young people in care
  • Experiences of care (foster care, kinship care, residential child care, adoption)
  • Outcomes and state care (including education, health and placement types)
  • Children’s rights and social work
  • Relationship based practice
  • Early intervention/prevention regarding children on the edge of care

Make a PhD enquiry

Public outreach & key achievements

Research students

PhD Title Assessment and Children’s Rights: Using a Children’s Rights Based Approach to (re)consider the impact of the current arrangements for pupil transfer to post-primary school
Name Leanne Henderson
Country Northern Ireland
Year of Study  2014-2018 
PhD Title  Rural and Urban differences in young people's educational achievements
Name Gemma Cherry
Country Northern Ireland
Year of Study  2016-2019 
PhD Title  Impact and Washback of IELTS test on Chinese students in English Immersion College
Name Hui Ma
Country China
Year of Study 2016-2020
EdD Title Assessment in Higher Education – A Case Study
Name Aisling Keane (part-time)
Country Northern Ireland
Year of Study 2016-2019
EdD Title Student Attitudes to Formative Feedback in Summative Assessment in Higher Education
Name Claire McCann (part-time)
Country Northern Ireland
Year of Study 2010-2018
EdD Title Evaluating widening access in Higher Education
Name Tim Crawford (part-time)
Country Northern Ireland
Year of Study 2014-2020


Alumni: Where are they now

PhD Title Hear Our Voice: ‘Social Care Workers’ Views of Effective Relationship-Based Practice
Name Teresa Brown
Country  Republic of Ireland
Current Position Lecturer in Social Care, Athlone Institute of Technology  
PhD Title Neighbourhoods and Children’s Emotional and Behavioural Outcomes at 9 years old: A Secondary Analysis of the Growing Up in Ireland Data
Name  Dr Amanda Quail
Country Republic of Ireland
Current Position Dr Amanda Quail, Senior Research Officer (Survey and Data Manager), Growing up in Ireland  



Discover More