Véronique Altglas has researched on new religious movements, the management of minority religions, and anti-Semitism. She is the current General Secretary of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion. Her last monograph, From Yoga to Kabbalah,received the ISSR’s best book award in 2017. Her critical sociology of religion aims to reintegrate issues of power, class formation, social interactions and practice, and to renew the understanding of religious individualism.
Dr Veronique Altglas
Open to PhD applications in the field of
Dr Dina Zoe Belluigi’s current interests reflect the multidisciplinary nature of critical Higher Education Studies, extending from a concern with agency and authorship to the politics of belonging and assessment. This includes micro- and meso- concerns of the individual participation and experience of academic citizens (students; academics; leadership; administrators); and the operations of macro-concerns of societal mechanisms and interpretative frameworks of policy, funding, metrics and related global discourses which impact on the Higher Education sector.
- Critical University Studies
- Academic inequalities in higher education
- Academic development (or staff educational development) in post/conflict higher education
- Higher Educations’ responses to the International Decade for People of African Descent
- Higher Educations’ responses to the Sustainable Development Goals
- Critical orientations to creative arts education in higher education
Dr Dina Zoe Belluigi
Dr Best’s research has focused on areas relating to digital mental health, dementia care, participatory data analyses and physical activity. He has developed a new theoretical model for online help seeking and has published a systematic review regarding the impact of online technologies on adolescent well-being. Dr Best is also a keen supporter of user involvement within research and, along with colleagues in the Centre for Public Health, has developed a novel approach to participatory data analyses known as Participatory Theme Elicitation.
Dr Best has been successful at attracting a number of grants as Principal Investigator relating to digital mental health and dementia care. He is also a Co-I on four other funded projects (totalling £341,584 of grant income) related to either mental health or digital mental health. These projects include the development of an online, peer-led, support group for depression; an evaluation of the Dementia NI service; an online social prescribing platform for suicide bereavement; an evaluation of community delivered trauma focussed CBT for young people and the coproduction of physical activity based programmes for those with enduring mental health issues.
- Mental Health Research (General)
- Social Work
- Digital Mental Health
- Interventions within Health and Social Care
- Dementia Care
- School Based Interventions
- Coproduction/participatory research
- Virtual reality and immersive technologies
Dr Paul Best
Dr Bhatt has active research interests in literacy studies, linguistic ethnography, and contemporary digital epistemologies. Between 2021-2023 he was a recipient of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for a study on heritage literacy in China. His recent work includes: The Epistemology of Deceit (2021 co-edited), Academics Writing: The Dynamics of Knowledge Creation (2019 co-authored); Assignments as Controversies: Digital Literacy & Writing in Classroom Practice (2017 sole-authored), as well as many published research articles on similar subjects. He recently featured as guest editor for two important journal special issues: ‘Critical Perspectives on Teaching in the Multilingual University’ for Teaching in Higher Education; and ‘Lies, Bullshit & Fake News’ for Postdigital Science & Education.
He is a member of the Governing Council of the Society for Research into Higher Education, and convened its Digital University Network between 2015-2022. He is also Executive Editor for the journal Teaching in Higher Education: Critical Perspectives.
- Literacy Studies
- Language and New Media
- Language Education and Applied Linguistics
Dr Ibrar Bhatt
Andy’s research is focused around educational disadvantage, tackling low attainment and through his work on youth transitions highlighting the impact of early educational disadvantage on subsequent life chances.
This research has included recent work has focused on a number of randomised control trial evaluations of children’s literacy programmes. These are designed to provide evidence of programme effectiveness, and recent work has highlighted the importance of careful piloting and adaptation to different national contexts prior to formal evaluation.
Other developing work is looking to draw upon existing datasets in the UK and Japan to document how educational inequalities manifest in early adulthood across the two national contexts.
The objective of the research activity is two-fold: to enhance our knowledge of effective educational programmes aimed at tackling low attainment and to understand and document existing inequalities in education systems and their subsequent impacts on later life chances.
- Youth Transitions
- Inequalities in Educational Attainment
- Post-compulsory education and training
- Literacy programme Evaluation
Dr Andy Biggart
Dr Booth’s research has focused on working with parents of children/young people who have been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder using Applied Behaviour Analysis to teach new skills and reduce challenging behaviours.
Additionally, she is now working with a VR company to produce a virtual classroom with the aim to help reduce anxiety related behaviours in teenagers diagnosed with autism, who are at risk of exclusion from education, integrate fully into their education setting.
Autism and Mental Health Difficulties
Effective Education and Inclusion
The use of technology for effective teaching
Dr Nichola Booth
The legacy of conflict – memory, truth recovery, victims and veterans, inter-generational trauma, especially in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Emotions and conflict transformation – forgiveness, anger, mercy, compromise.
Universities and higher education in conflict and peace.
The public value of the social sciences and impact.
The history of sociology.
- Forces in Mind Trust ‘Negative Transitioning of Ex-Service Personnel’ 2018-2021 (£178K)
Professor John David Brewer
My research interests relate broadly to the area of child welfare and maltreatment with specific interests in the impact of childhood adversity across the life-course, the experiences of child victims/witnesses within the criminal justice system and UK child protection and criminal justice policy.
- Impact of childhood adversity
- Child victims in criminal justice system
- Child protection
Dr Lisa Bunting
Dr Butler’s interests include criminological psychology, imprisonment, reducing reoffending, desistance, penal reform and cybercrime, especially social media related crimes. Criminological psychology involves understanding why people engage in crime, how society reacts to and manages criminal behaviour, as well as how individuals begin to leave behind a criminal career. She has been involved in a number of research projects examining prison violence, the needs of young people on remand, fear of crime, prison disciplinary practices, prison-based parenting programmes, the effects of caregiver imprisonment, the experiences of vulnerable people in the criminal justice system and penal reform in the UK, Ireland, Uganda and Colombia.
- Criminological Psychology
- Penal Reform
- Reducing Reoffending
Dr Michelle Butler
Professor Byrne’s research expertise is focused on the implementation of disability rights and of children’s rights. Through her work with the Centre for Children’s Rights and the Disability Research Network she adopts participatory and rights-based approaches to research.
This research has included working with international partners to research children with disabilities’ views and experiences of their rights online for the Council of Europe. Nationally, Bronagh has worked with Laura Lundy to inform the development of the Children’s Services Co-Operation Act (2015) which places a duty on certain public authorities to work together to improve the well-being of children and young people.
Currently, Bronagh is working with the British Deaf Association and academic partners from the U.S to examine access to justice for deaf people.
The objective of the research activity is to develop an evidence base on children and young people, and disabled people’s experiences of their rights by bringing their voices to the fore, and using this evidence to inform law, policy and practice both internationally and nationally.
- Rights of children with disabilities under UNCRC/UNCRPD
- The right to inclusive education
- Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
- Critical Disability Studies
Professor Bronagh Byrne
My research focuses on Substance Use, Mental Health and the development of APPS for Social Work and Medical education and practice
- Substance Use
- Mental Health
Dr Anne Campbell
Dr Cantley’s research has focused on mathematics education and the mathematical and philosophical foundations of educational measurement.
This research has included investigations into the influence of teacher attributes and organisational/societal factors on the pedagogical practices of mathematics educators and students’ mathematical learning. This has entailed research into aspects of mathematics education using the anthropological theory of didactics (ATD). A central pillar of ATD is a 'scale of levels of didactic co-determination', which represents a hierarchy of levels that govern how mathematics is actually taught in classrooms, premised on the fact that mathematics learning and teaching cannot be divorced from the broader organisational, societal and cultural contexts within which they occur.
Recent work in this area has focused on the application of ATD, and Dewey’s theory of experiential learning, to investigate factors influencing curricular and pedagogical continuity during the transition from primary to post-primary mathematics education. Dr Cantley’s work has also included empirical research to investigate the influence of active learning approaches on students’ attitudes to mathematics, and some research into the theoretical foundations of educational measurement.
The principal objective of Dr Cantley’s research activity is to investigate ways of improving student achievement in, and attitudes towards, mathematics, while taking cognisance of the inherent limitations imposed by current assessment paradigms.
- Mathematics education, particularly at post-primary level
- Aspects of educational assessment and evaluation, particularly in relation to their theoretical foundations
Dr Ian Cantley
•Social policy and ageing
Dr. Carney’s work is dedicated to exploring the impact of population ageing on society and political economy. She has a strong track record in participatory research methods and in working closely with community organisations on social policy research.
In recent years Gemma has carved a niche between her previous work on gender and politics and her research on ageing to develop a critical, feminist analysis of population ageing. Linked to this Gemma has been leading a range of projects with colleagues from across the Faculty in History, Literature and Film Studies. She is also working with Paula Devine and Lorna Montgomery in analysing the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study of Ageing.
Dr Gemma Carney
Dr. Corr’s research employs in-depth qualitative research to explore the lives of marginalised youth. Recent projects have focused on youth offending, youth justice, domestic violence, transgenerational legacy of conflict and homelessness. Through employing the biographical interview as a key research method, Dr. Corr aims to situate young people’s experiences in the broader contexts of their lives as they make the transition from youth to adulthood.
Youth offending; Youth justice; young people in conflict with the law
Experiences of marginalised youth
Homelessness and housing careers
Dr Mary Louise Corr
- Trauma informed care
- Systemic Psychotherapy
- Impact of Trauma in Childhood experiences
Dr Stephen Coulter
Gavin’s main research interests are in the area of mental health, specifically: the effectiveness of mental health services; the social determinants of mental health; human rights and mental health/mental capacity legislation; and the associations between adverse childhood experiences and mental health.
He is the Praxis Chair of Social Care; the Lead for the What Works for Communities Strand within the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation; the Queen's coordinator for the Approved Social Work Programme; and one of the social work representatives on the Department of Health's Reference Group for the Mental Capacity Act Northern Ireland 2016.
His research has included work on the effectiveness of mental health services; the associations between trauma, inequalities and mental health; and the legal frameworks for intervention.
- Mental health
- Health inequalities
- Human rights
Professor Gavin Davidson
Dr Degenhardt Research is dedicated to understanding the complex intertwining of conflict and crime; in relation to global justice claims and securitization of societies, and in the context of the so called ‘war on terror’.
Through her work, she is exploring the multiple connections between military interventions and human rights; policing and security at a distance; but she has also looked at security technology in border control, and crimes against migrant sex workers. In general she is interested in current transformation of forms of social control in late modern societies- at transnational and national level.
- New forms or expression of social control
- Security, Technology, Borders
- War and Police Continuum: Police in war, and Military in civilian spaces or in Criminal Justice
- Crime and War, and War Crimes
Dr Teresa Degenhardt
Professor Dillenburger is the Director of the Centre for Behaviour Analysis at Queens (www.qub.ac.uk/cba). She is Course Director of the MSc in Autism Specturm Disorders (MScASD) and also teaches on the MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis (MScABA).
This research has included a major study of autism services in Northern Ireland (BASE Project) as well as the development of SimpleSteps (Autism Edition; www.simplestepsautism.com), an online learning resource for parents and professionals (cf., www.stamppp.com)
The objective of the research activity is to create an informed research agenda on alcohol and drugs use, a vital, one-stop resource for all those who aspire to make a difference.
- ABA-focussed PhD in any social important area (on-campus or distant learning options)
- Applicants have to be Board Certified Behaviour Analysts or at least hold a MScABA
Professor Karola Dillenburger
To date Dr Donnelly's research has generally been focused on the role of education in conflict and divided societies. She has published in the area of school governance in faith based schools and on the role of integrated schools in addressing division.
More recently she has led research projects which explore Shared Education in NI which is a relatively novel and pragmatic approach to addressing educational division.
- Schools and Conflict
- Faith schools
- Education policy
Dr Caitlin Donnelly
Dr Dounavi’s research is dedicated to behaviour analysis, evidence-based education, values-driven professional training, developmental disorders including autism, verbal behaviour, learning and communication disorders, school-wide applications of behaviour analysis and parental training.
This research has included work around parent-mediated interventions for infants at high risk of receiving an autism diagnosis, telehealth as an evidence-based practice in the treatment of autism, and explorative studies of burnout and supervision practices among behaviour analysts.
The objective of the research activity is to improve the educational provision and quality of life for individuals with special needs and empower their families by creating inclusive environments, highly trained values-driven professionals and evidence-based educational service delivery models.
Dr Meral Koldas (2023-2024)
- Applied behaviour analysis
- Developmental disorders including autism
- Applications of the analysis of verbal behaviour for teaching communication skills
- Effective, values-driven professional training in behaviour analysis
- Socially valid parent-mediated interventions and parental training
- The use of telehealth in the provision of evidence-based interventions
- Behaviour analytic interventions that address wider societal challenges
- The use of high quality systematic reviews in informed decision making and policy changing
Dr Katerina Dounavi
I am primarily focused on shared education which involves collaboration between schools from different communities. While this work began in Northern Ireland, I also work in various international settings such as the Israel, the US and Lebanon promoting school collaboration and investigating the benefits school networks.
A key aspect of this work involves working closely with teachers and school leaders exploring approaches to collaborative professional development and models of educational leadership and school improvement. Other research interests include custodial education as I have worked and researched with the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland.
- School collaboration and school networks
- Educational leadership
- Education in divided societies
- Education in custodial settings
Dr Gavin Duffy
I am a Professor of Social Work at Queen’s University where my research concentrates on the involvement of service users/social work clients to help social work students understand difficult topics such as the impact of political conflict and trauma.
In addition, as a recipient of an All Disciplines US-UK Fulbright Scholar 2018-19, my research has concentrated on introducing service user involvement to the social work curriculum in the United States, working with New York University’s Silver School of Social Work and Belmont University’s Social Work Department, Nashville, Tennessee as pilot sites. In New York University, my research specifically focused on working with survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001.
Service user involvement and co-production
Social work and political conflict
Trauma perspectives, social work and political conflict
Professor Joe Duffy
Laura’s research interests lie in three main areas; child health and wellbeing, early child development, and programme evaluation. She has extensive experience conducting both quantitative and qualitative research.
She is on the Leadership Team of a £2m GCRF programme that they lead in strategic partnership with UNICEF and supported by Yale, Harvard, NYU. The programme works in six low- and middle-income countries and she is strategic lead for two of these. This role has led to invitations to speak at a variety of stakeholder meetings, including government representatives and ministers.
The objective of the research activity is generate evidence to inform policy and practice.
- Health and wellbeing in schools
- Early childhood development
Dr Laura Dunne
My main research interests are in the social constructions and consequences of tests, examinations and assessment practices. I am particularly interested in socio-cultural approaches to understanding the impact of assessment on students' lives; gender and its interaction with assessment techniques and practices and theoretical and methodological issues in educational assessment research and practice. Recent projects include: young people’s participation in qualification reform in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; and understanding examination predictability in the Irish leaving certificate.
- Educational assessment
- Gender and achievement
- Inequalities in educational achievement
- Assessment policy reform and implementation
- Single-sex and mixed-sex schooling
- Gender and education
Professor Jannette Elwood
I am interested in research which seeks to make a difference in children and young people's lives, particularly in the contexts of school and community. My research interests fall into two themes:
Political education (including citizenship education and human rights education), with a focus on teaching controversial issues in transitional or conflict affected societies. Associated with this is an expertise in curriculum theory and socio-political perspectives on pedagogy;
Children’s rights, with a focus on children’s participation rights, children's civil and political rights, children's wellbeing. Associated with this is an expertise in children's rights-based and participatory research methods.
- Political education (including citizenship education and human rights education)
- Children’s participation rights in school and in community
- Socio-political perspectives on pedagogy
- Curriculum and curriculum development
- Participatory and transformative research
Ms Lesley Emerson
Dr. Engman's research interests address questions related to Indigenous/heritage language maintenance and reclamation, materials use, identity, and policy in a variety of language teaching and learning contexts. She draws on her years of experience with Native and settler educators in the Upper Midwest of the United States to examine the intersections of language, sign, and power in the social and material world.
Recent and current work include a linguistic ethnography of bilingual pedagogies in an Ojibwe tribal school, a critical multimodal social semiotic analysis of the social media practices of high-profile Instagram teachers, and a study of intergenerational Indigenous language use on and with the land. Dr. Engman draws on critical and qualitative methods to better understand of how expertise, relationships, and meaning emerge in interaction.
- Indigenous language revitalisation and reclamation
- Minoritised and heritage language maintenance
- Materials use in educational contexts
- Language policy and planning
- Critical discourse analysis
- Sociomateriality and education
- Multimodality and interaction
Dr Mel Engman
Tony Gallagher has worked for over 15 years on shared education, which involves collaboration between schools from different communities in divided societies aimed at promoting social cohesion and school improvement. He currently works on projects in Northern Ireland, Israel and Los Angeles. This is part of a career-long focus of work on the role of education in divided societies, including work on minority rights, equality policy, and the role of education in ethnic conflict. He has also led work on the impact of differentiated education systems.
This research has included within Northern Ireland work on shared education has led to significant policy change and the mainstreaming of collaboration within the education system. The model of collaboration is being adapted for use in Israel, involving Jewish and Arab schools, and in Los Angeles, between charter and traditional public schools.
Specific research activities have focused on the pupils’ and teachers’ experience of collaboration, the development of network solutions to education problems, social network analysis as a way of analysing educational change, collaborative leadership, sustainable change in education, and the policy-practice nexus in education
The objective of the research activity is to inform education policy and practice in jurisdictions where the structural arrangements for education reflect wider social and ethnic divisions in society
- The role of education in divided societies generally
- The relationship between education policy and educational practice
- Collaboration between schools and the role of social networks
- Issues related to educational leadership
Professor Tony Gallagher
Dr Ganiel’s research focuses on the role of religion in conflict in Northern Ireland and Zimbabwe; Catholicism in Ireland, evangelicalism, and the emerging church.
This research has included two books about evangelicalism in Northern Ireland, and an award-winning book about the emerging church. She is currently researching how Presbyterians responded to the Troubles, and writing a biography of Fr Gerry Reynolds, a peacemaking priest from Clonard Monastery.
The objective of the research activity is to understand the socio-political roles of religion.
- Religion, Conflict and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland
- Religion, Conflict and Reconciliation in Sub-Saharan Africa
- The Emerging Church Movement
- Catholicism on the island of Ireland
- Secularisation and Religious ‘Nones’
- Dealing with the past in Northern Ireland
Dr Gladys Ganiel
My main research interests include service user experiences of the child protection and criminal justice systems, the involvement of family members in child protection and child welfare processes and methods for facilitating such involvement, the practice and experiences of professionals who operate the child protection system, and social work assessment and decision making in child welfare.
This research has included recent work on:
the use of family group conferences, both with children and families and adults,an evaluation of the Safety in Partnership/Signs of Safety approach to child and family social work,the use of the voluntary sector to provide services to children and families,an evaluation of the Families Matter programme designed to help improve and maintain relationships between children and their imprisoned fathers,An analysis of complaints made about child and family social workers to the Northern Ireland Social Care Council and the Patient and Client Council,
an evaluation of the NSPCC 'Speak Out, Stay Safe' programme delivered in primary schools.The objective of the research activity is to identify ways in which the experiences of both those delivering and receiving child protection and welfare services can be improved.
- Child protection
- Child welfare
- Child maltreatment
- Involving family members and children and young people in child protection and welfare processes
- Service user experiences of the child protection and criminal justice systems
- Assessment and decision-making in work with children and families
- Family group conferencing
Professor Davy Hayes
I am one of the leading political sociologists of the island of Ireland (e.g. co-ed. Dynamics of Political Change in Ireland, 2017), with a high profile in relation to European integration (e.g. co-ed. The Europeanization of Party Politics in Ireland, 2010), political violence (e.g. co-ed. Nationalism and Organised Violence, 2013), and the application of discourse analysis (e.g. co-ed. Political Discourse of Peace and Conflict, 2009). My recent funded research includes TRUST Tracing Risk and Uncertainty in Security Technology (RCUK, 2013-15), and Conflict in Cities and the Contested State (ESRC, 2010-14). I am currently lead partner for the Irish case study of the Canadian $2.8m SSHRC-funded project ‘Borders in Globalization’ (PI: UVic, British Columbia).
- Peace and conflict processes
- Political sociology
- Political discourses, protest and violence.
Professor Katy Hayward
Dr Heaney's primary research interests are interdisciplinary, lying at the intersections of sociology and politics. Emotion and power, along with affect and habitus, remain central to his ongoing research agenda in social theory and within the political sociology emotions, as well as to his wider interests in the sociology and politics of Ireland, the digital sociology of emotion, and qualitative research methods (including narrative-life history interviews).
His PhD was a study of emotions and social change in late modernity in general, and the Republic of Ireland in particular. Aspects of this project will feature in a forthcoming monograph, provisionally titled Emotions & Power: Habitus and Change in Late Modernity, which is currently under contract with Routledge.
He has published on emotions and nationalism in the past and is currently working on a new project on the interplay of emotions, power, and the state currently called the ‘Emotional State’. Other papers include theoretical work on processual-relational approach to affect, emotion, and habitus (affective transactions), and on emotion as power in contemporary party politics.
The objective of the research activity is to demonstrate, explain, and understand how emotion and power dynamics are foundational to the constitution and transformation of social life.
- Sociology of Emotions – many areas, but especially in relation to the dynamics of emotions and power; digital sociology of emotion
- Political Sociology of Emotions – especially in relation to party politics, politicians, the state, post-conflict emotions, nationalism, war, Ireland
- Social/Sociological Theory – especially in relation to power, emotion, affect, habitus; process ontologies; relational sociology; processual sociology; new materialism
Dr Jonathan G. Heaney
Kathryn Higgins is a reader within the school of Social Science Education and Social Work with an established research reputation in the areas of substance use and addictive behavior and programme evaluation/implementation science. She continues to lead the now 18-year longitudinal study, known as the Belfast Youth Development Study, which has it has acted as a focal point for many collaborations. Kathryn has stayed at the forefront of emerging issues; for example, she was recently funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to undertake research in the developing field of new psychoactive substances (legal highs). She has developed a cadre of work over the past ten years on Programme evaluation & implementation Science, evaluating interventions designed to improve child and adolescent development. These include RCTs of school- and community-based interventions, for example ‘Ready to Learn’ and ‘Parenting UR Teens, ‘Brook Sexual Health service’.
Her research programmes, publications and international conference contributions have examined the policy and evidence base for interventions including substance misuse, mental health, alcohol prevention and the mechanisms for implementing evidence based practice and policy more generally.
- Secondary Trauma
Dr Kathryn Higgins
My main research interest is in the role of education in societies divided along ethno/religious lines. My work is concerned with exploring the nature of intergroup relations and the effectiveness of interventions designed to promote social cohesion. Current research projects examine the impact of shared education in societies where parallel school systems exist for different groups.
This research has particular relevance to wider debates on separate education, and on the contribution that education can make to promoting local and global citizenship. The objective of the research activity is to maximise the potential for education to contribute towards the development of more peaceful societies.
- Intergroup relations in divided societies
- The role of schools in promoting intergroup relations in divided societies
Professor Joanne Hughes
My research interests cut across sociology, victimology, social psychology and peace studies, though coalesce around critical, feminist approaches to how societies respond to and recover from violent conflict. I focus in particular on complex, intractable social processes which impact the practice of building peace including the construction and representation of victimhood, identity and intergroup relations. I am keen to develop qualitative, participatory research on local civil society contributions to peacebuilding and transitional justice, and gendered experiences of conflict and peace.
- Peacebuilding and reconciliation
- Civil society contributions in conflict and peacebuilding
- Social construction and representation of victims, victims’ advocacy, victims policy
- Group identities and intergroup processes in intractable conflict
- Gender and social justice
Dr Sarah Jankowitz
Professor Kelly’s main research interests are in the areas of disability studies and children living in and leaving care. She also has an active interest in participatory research including the co-production of research with youth leaving care and disabled people.
Professor Kelly is Director of the Centre for Inclusion, Transformation and Equality (CITE) at QUB which engages in critical research focused on issues of inequality and social justice across policy and practice contexts. The Centre also hosts a special interest group on disability research.
Professor Kelly has conducted major studies on the experiences of disabled children and youth living in and leaving care, safeguarding disabled children and adults, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on youth leaving care. More recently, she led on a four-country study of care-leaving in Africa. She is currently working with colleagues on a project connecting care leavers in Northern Ireland and South Africa and is supervising PhD research on a range of topics including: supporting migrant families with disabled children; disabled children’s experience of domestic violence; disabled care leavers in South Africa; and personalised support for disabled young adults with complex needs. She is open to supervising further PhD research in the fields of care leaving and disability research.
- Disability studies
- Transitions to Adult Life
- Children and young people in care
- Care leavers
Professor Berni Kelly
My main research interests are in outdoor learning and science education. I started my career as a primary teacher before moving into academia. Most recently I have looked at the outcomes of outdoor learning for children to include connection to nature, health and well-being and attitudes to learning science outdoors. Recent projects include Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) as well as looking at teacher professional development in the outdoors. The objective of my research is to engage with and inform educational provision in the outdoors and, more broadly, in the area of science teaching and learning..
- Outdoor learning
- Education for Sustainable Development and/or relevant Sustainable Development Goals
- Science/biology education
- Teacher Professional Development
Dr Karen Kerr
I am currently conducting research in three areas: language assessment, parent connections related to TESOL and the use of authentic literature in second language learning classrooms.
Language Assessment: I completed a research project in Taiwan that was a joint initiative with the Taiwan Ministry of Education and the British Council. I presented the results at an international assessment conference
Parent Connections: Related to TESOL I have completed an article based on the term English Language Learner. This term does not acknowledge the linguistic contributions made by non-English speaking families residing in English speaking countries. I have also gathered most of the data related to a study of the linguistic landscape found on the outside of Boston public schools. The linguistic landscape can either engage or disengage families from schools.
Authentic Children's Literature: Along with a colleague, I have been examining the types of picture books which are most appropriate for use in ELT classrooms.
- Language assessment
- Early learning techniques
Dr Caroline Linse
Dr Lloyd’s research is focused mainly on quantitative survey work with children and young people. She developed, and runs, an annual survey of children in their final year of primary school. She is currently involved in the development of surveys for research projects on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people and attitudes towards sport among children and young people in Northern Ireland. She is also working on a project in conjunction with colleagues in the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s to develop an online survey for children in Ukraine or who have been displaced to other countries due to the war. Her substantive area of interest is in children’s wellbeing. The main objective of all her research is to give children a voice on issues that affect their lives.
- Children’s health and Wellbeing
- Surveys of children and young people
- Working with children and young people to develop surveys
Dr Katrina Lloyd
Professor Lundy's research has focused on children’s right to participate in decision-making and education rights. Her 2007 paper, “’Voice’ is not enough” is one of the most highly cited academic papers on children’s rights and the model of children’s participation it proposes (based on four key concepts - Space, Voice, Audience and Influence) is used extensively in scholarship and practice.
This research has included a study of children’s views on public spending (involving 1693 children in 70 countries) which was commissioned to inform the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s 2016 General Comment on the issue and a study of children’s exercise of their civil and political rights (1606 children in 60 countries) which has been used by Save the Children and others to support UN efforts to recognise the role of children as human rights defenders.
Current projects include: a study of disabled children’s experience of their digital rights for the Council of Europe; a consultation with children in the five UN regions in a project to develop a set of indicators for monitoring the implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child led by GlobalChild; and ‘Participation for Protection’ – a European Commission project developing training for professionals focused on what really matters to children who have experienced violence.
- Children’s Rights and Education
- Children’s Participation in decision-making
- Implementation of the UNCRC
Professor Laura Lundy
Mandi’s research is dedicated to children and young people in state care and adopted from care, and to supporting the families of children in need. Her work focuses on: assessing and enhancing parenting capacity; the experience of family life in permanent placements; post-adoption contact; adoptive parenthood; and kinship care.
She has expertise in interpretative qualitative research methods. Mandi has many years’ experience as a social worker in child welfare services, and now works alongside practitioners to translate her research into innovative practice solutions to benefit children and families.
- Adoption, kinship care, leaving care
- Parenting capacity
Dr Mandi MacDonald
Research has focused on how, for example, autistic people experience various forms of injustice in the form of epistemic injustice and/or exclusion from school settings; the extent to which young people’s capabilities, or their opportunities to flourish, are compromised by educational and social inequalities; and how ignorance of all kinds – willed, cultivated, non-culpable – contribute to inequalities and oppression of marginalised groups.
The objective of the research activity is to explore how testimonial injustices informed by prejudicial stereotypes and identity power, and forms of ignorance (epistemologies of ignorance) contribute to inequality and marginalisation, and how these help us think about the sources and effects of inequality in new ways. The Capabilities Approach is used to think about how to approach questions of social justice and the extent to which social structures enable individuals to do and to be in ways that are valuable to them.
- Epistemic injustice
- Epistemologies of ignorance
- The Capabilities Approach
- Special Educational Needs and Inclusion
- Feminism and Gender
- Irish Medium/Bilingual Education
Dr Alison MacKenzie
Professor Maruna’s research is dedicated to understanding crime and justice in a life course perspective, in particular, in trying to understand routes out of criminality and ways that the justice system impedes (or less frequently, supports) this process of desistance from crime.
Recent areas of interest include parole board decision making and the use of personality disorder labels in the justice system.
- Uses and Misuses of the Antisocial Personality Disorder/psychopathy label
- Parole board decision making and desistance signaling
- Prisons and higher education
- Desistance, recovery and rethinking personality disorders
- Rehabilitative Culture in prisons and beyond
- Ex-Prisoner organisations and social movement theory
Professor Shadd Maruna
My research interests are in the fields of youth, social justice and criminal justice. I have a particular interest in in-depth qualitative research with marginalised groups, including those who have experience of care and/ or justice systems. My recent current research projects include Participation for Protection (Dec 2017-Nov 2019) and Transgenerational Legacy and Young People (July 2018-Dec 2020)
- Young people and political conflict/ conflict legacy
- Children and young people in conflict with the law; youth justice
- Children, young people and violence
- Participatory research
Dr Siobhan McAlister
Dr McManus’ research focuses processes of extremism that lead to conflict. In particular, he is interested in how long-term processes of identity formation (individual and group) can generate the conditions for conflict. As part of this, his work examines how education, particularly adult education, can play a role in addressing extremist ideologies.
This research has included recent work examining how processes of ‘Othering’ have fed conflict in Northern Ireland and continue to impact negatively on the peace process. It has examined the role of prison education in challenging militancy and/or extremism.
The research has also sought to apply lessons from Northern Ireland to other areas of conflict. In particular, he has sought to apply processes of Othering as a means of understanding Islamist Extremism in the West.
The objective of the research activity is to generate discussion on the causes of conflict and how we might apply knowledge from one context to another.
- Conflict and Conflict transformation
- Nationalism and identity politics
- Political extremism
- Adult education
Dr Cathal McManus
My research centres on family dynamics and union formation, family and relationship wellbeing, and how these are shaped over the life course and by various dimensions of inequality.
Current research includes examining influence of grandparent support on family wellbeing, race-ethnic and socioeconomic differences in family outcomes, and complex family structures such as nonresident parent involvement.
My research aims to explain variations in family behaviours, preferences, and outcomes that in turn can inform policies to alleviate inequalities and improve family wellbeing.
- Family formation
- Family wellbeing
- Intimate relationships (marriage; divorce; remarriage; cohabitation; nonresident parenting; dating)
- Fertility (contraception use; sexual behaviour; family size preferences; childlessness)
- Emerging adulthood
- Intergenerational relationships (grandparent; adult-children)
- Race-ethnicity and socioeconomic inequality
- Quantitative analysis including survival analysis and longitudinal methodology
Dr Cate McNamee
Dr Miller’s research revolves around three inter-related themes: Social emotional development, academic attainment and programme evaluation. Within this Dr Miller has a particular interest in the development of prosocial behaviour in pre-school and primary school children as well as literacy and numeracy progression more generally.
She has designed, conducted and published a number of large-scale studies, which have included: simple and cluster randomised controlled trials, systematic reviews, quasi-experimental evaluations and cross-sectional surveys. This research has included looking at effective ways to improve children’s language development by focussing on the relationship between school-based activities and the home learning environment.
In addition, Dr Miller and colleagues are investigating the impact of early child development programmes on social cohesion and peacebuilding outcomes in six lower- and middle-income countries: Vietnam, Timor-Leste, Egypt, Mali, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. This is an exciting and innovative project that brings together colleagues and researchers from different organisations countries, academic institutions and NGOs.
The objective of the research activity is to provide evidence of what works to improve outcomes and life chances for young children, wherever they live in the world.
- Child development
- Social emotional learning
- Using experimental methodology, systematic review and meta-analysis to generate and better understand evidence of what works
Dr Sarah Miller
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.
- Adult safeguarding including the investigative processes
- Working with diverse cultures
- Culturally competent therapeutic interventions
Dr Lorna Montgomery
Dr. Mooney is a social worker, systemic family therapist and researcher. She is interested in the impact of adverse experiences on the lives of individuals (both adults and children) and their family networks, and how services can better need emerging needs.
Her PhD explored the care needs of teenagers and young adults with cancer. She is involved in research and practice initiatives relating to the Adverse Childhood Experiences and has conducted an evidence review of Trauma-Informed Care
Dr Suzanne Mooney
Dr Moriarty's research has focused on the development of social roles, particularly within organisations, and the outworkings this has for individuals’ mental health and wellbeing.
This research includes ongoing mixed methods research on wellbeing and career perceptions among older workers; on social care staff wellbeing, role clarity and role ambiguity; analysis of wellbeing among informal caregivers and volunteers (see publications in American Journal of Public Health; Age and Ageing and International Journal of Epidemiology).
The research aims to improve people’s wellbeing by developing a knowledge base and appropriate interventions to target causes of mental ill-health at work, such as burnout and lack of role-appropriate training.
- Workplace wellbeing
- Mental health
- Use of linked administrative data
Dr John Moriarty
My current research focusses on the role of social movement activism in divided societies, particularly in Lebanon, Syria and Northern Ireland. In this, I examine how a range of non-sectarian social movements – including LGBTQ, feminist and class based groups - mobilize for inclusion or challenge power sharing structures in divided societies.
A related research theme includes the consequences of civil war and peace processes on LGBTQ populations, such Colombia, Northern Ireland, Syria and Lebanon. In addition, my research continues to provide a sociological analysis of consociational power sharing. I am also interested in the role of memory in generating political violence and peace.
- Social movements
- Conflict and peacebuilding
- Nationalism; populism
- LGBTQ activism
- Political violence
Professor John Nagle
Dr Nelson’s research has focussed upon the interface of religion and education from policy to curriculum level. He is interested in exploring what it is possible to share between schools with different religious identities and in what can be achieved through dialogical approaches in religious education settings.
His research has included a project designed to identify the varieties of education about religion, beliefs and values on the island of Ireland, and responses to the plurality of beliefs among pupil populations.
- Religion and education
- Pedagogy and religious education
- Inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue in educational environments
Dr James Nelson
Dr O'Boyle's research interests are the relationships between language and education. These include the analysis of discourse in educational contexts, academic and professional discourse, and English Language learning and teaching. She is particularly interested in the application of research in corpus linguistics to education and has been involved in the design, development, and research of a number of spoken (academic and learner) corpora to investigate the construction of knowledge in classroom contexts, oracy and speaking skills, and language use in intercultural contexts.
Recent research included conducting a state-of-the-art review and multiple case studies of English Language Teaching professionals in South America, Asia, Europe and the UK and how they make best use of corpora for English Language Teaching and Learning.
The objective of the research activity is to develop a guide on digital data-driven learning for learners, teachers, and teacher educators.
- TESOL and English Language Learning (ESL, EFL, EAL)
- Academic Discourse and English for Specific Purposes
- Applied Corpus Studies
- Speaking Skills
- English Language Learning and Migration
Dr Aisling O’Boyle
Dr Liam O’Hare has a substantial track record in the design, implementation and evaluation of educational programmes and social interventions. He also leads the work of the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI) in two Innovation Zones sited within disadvantaged communities in Belfast.
This research has included designing a GCSE Science intervention based on spaced learning called SMART Spaces, an implementation study of the Positive Action social and emotional learning curriculum and Randomised controlled trial evaluations of over 20 educational and social interventions. He is also interested in applying this research focus in community settings such as the CESI Innovation Zones.
The objective of the research activity to make measurable improvements in the outcomes of children and young people as well as their families and communities.
- Design, implementation and evaluation of educational programmes and social interventions
- Community based participatory research
- Critical thinking
- Educational attainment
Dr Liam O’Hare
Dr Pentaraki’s research is informed by critical social theory and/or the critical tradition of social work. It aims to unravel oppressive structures and promote social justice and social change. One of her research areas explores gender based violence (intimate partner violence, domestic violence etc.). Another area of her research is social work practice within the current socio-economic conditions of neoliberal capitalism. Her latest research explores the impact of intimate partner violence (IPV) on the university education of women students.
- Gender based violence/ domestic violence/ intimate partner violence
- International social work
- Impact of neoliberal capitalism on the social work profession
Dr Maria Pentaraki
Dr Percy is a criminologist engaged in the study of adolescent development, in particular, the emergence of risk taking behaviours (in particular, alcohol, drug use and crime, which all peak in the teenage years).
His research has three core themes: a) examining the origins and outcomes of adolescent risk taking, b) testing interventions to prevent and reduction the immediate and long term harms associated with risk taking behaviours, and c) applying innovative quantitative methods and statistics to the study of adolescent development.
The objective of the research activity is to promote positive healthy adolescent development.
- Adolescent development
- Risk taking behaviours
- Alcohol, drug use and crime
- Adolescent trauma and mental health problems
- Prevention and harm reduction interventions
- Randomised and quasi-experimental trials
- Advanced quantitative methods and longitudinal research
Dr Andrew Percy
Dr Ramey’s research to date has focused on improving the quality of services and quality of life of autistic individuals. She is particularly interested in how overt indicators of mood can be evaluated as quality of life measures during child-centred approaches that encourage self-determination.
Along with her colleague from Dublin City University, Dr Ramey was awarded seed funding from the Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South (SCoTENS). By using inclusive participatory methods, the research team hopes to improve educational services for the autistic community in Ireland by centring autistic voices.
applied behaviour analysis; autism; quality of life; happiness; evidence-based interventions
- Applied behaviour analysis
- Self-determination and quality of life
- Quality of care for the autistic community
- Naturalistic developmental behavioural interventions
- Psychosexual development of autistic adolescents
- Functional behaviour assessment
- Technology-based instruction
- Virtual reality
Dr Devon Ramey
Dr Roberts’ research is dedicated to all aspects of school improvement, including improving outcomes for pupils and improving the teaching and learning which takes place in classrooms. Through her work on reading and literacy development she has designed and implemented a number of interventions and evaluated these using a range of methods, including randomised controlled trails.
- Improving outcomes for pupils
- Issues related to primary education
- Teacher training
- International and private schools
- Literacy and reading
- Randomised controlled trials
Dr Jennifer Roberts
My research focuses on the end of life care decision making, the psychological impact of living with life-limiting illness and bereavement support policies and needs assessment. I currently teach social work students prior to placements covering programmes of care including adults with physical health condition or disability, learning disability, dementia, older people, sensory disability.
I explore social work assessments such as NISAT, bereavement needs assessment and carer's needs assessment. I also examine tackling health inequalities, poverty, adult safeguarding, relationship based social work and stress, burnout and resilience.
- End of life care decision making Psychological impact of living with life-limiting illness Bereavement (experiences, needs assessment, interventions and policy)
- Student social work experiences of placement (inc. failing placement)
Dr Audrey Roulston
Research has focused on children and young people’s experiences and attitudes in all areas of their lives, as well as their rights. The research has also focused on a broad range of issues around sexual health and sexuality as well as sexual and gender identity.
The objective of the research activity is to explore the lives of children and young people in greater detail and to make sure that their views are being taken into account when decisions are being made about them.
- Most areas of children’s and young people’s lives
- Sexuality, gender and sexual health
- Policy making processes, especially community relations in Northern Ireland
Dr Dirk Schubotz
Professor Smyth's research focuses on norms, emotions and social change. She is currently working on social change in Ireland, focusing on solidarity in the context of a moral revolution.
Her previous book, The Demands of Motherhood: Agents, Roles and Recognition (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), examined agency and normative complexity. She has also published on the gendered national politics underpinning the abortion conflict in Ireland; the social politics of breastfeeding; sex education; and the significance of motherhood in social change in Belfast.
- Social role analysis in relation to gendered family life
- Studies of the emotional quality of social politics, including abortion, breastfeeding, and motherhood
- Interactionist analyses of emotions, roles and social change.
Professor Lisa Smyth
Dr Sirin Sung has a long-standing research interest in gender inequality within and between countries. Her work examines this issue from a comparative/international perspective, with a focus on the relationship between gender and social policy, and the tension between traditional conceptions of gender in relation to paid and unpaid work.
This research has included recent work around the implications of welfare policy on gender equality, with particular attention to how policy is developed, implemented and experienced, both in the UK and South Korea, and more recently in East Asia and the US.
The objective of the research activity is to improve gender equality within the family and the wider society by examining policy development and implications.
- Gender and Social Policy: comparative perspectives
- Gender, Work and Family
- Qualitative research relating to the issue of gender
Dr Sirin Sung
Allen's research interests include improving learning in schools and research methods. His school based work looks at how to raise attainment for those students from socio-economic disadvantaged backgrounds. He predominantly uses randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and is currently running two-large RCTs on improving literacy levels for students in schools. His pedagogical expertise lies in the area of cooperative/peer learning. He has published extensively in this area. Allen is Editor in Chief of International Journal of Educational Research (IJER). He is on the Editorial Board of Technology, Pedagogy and Education. He was awarded the 2013 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Cooperative Learning SIG award for 'Outstanding Research Contribution in the Field of Cooperative Learning'. He served as Secretary/Treasurer of the AERA Cooperative Learning SIG from April 2014 until April 2017. He is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and has Reviewed Grant Applications for Social Science Research Councils in Canada, Portugal, Oman and the Netherlands.
I have undertaken research collaborations to produce research outputs in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, USA, Columbia, Chile, Saudi Arabia, Poland, France, Malta, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Vietnam and China.
- Cooperative learning
- Peer tutoring
- Randomised controlled trials (both development and exploratory trials)
Professor Allen Thurston
John’s research focus over the past decade has related mainly to the issue of community policing, police reform and security governance. He has a wide array of experience working with statutory policing institutions in Northern Ireland and beyond. Much of his work relates to critical examination of police practice, particularly around police stop and search and police powers. He also has experience of police training, along with advisory and consultancy roles which provide unique internal and external perspectives on policing more generally. John has experience on large research grants related policing & technology, along with stop and search through EU HORIZON and EU COST. This includes a current British Academy grant with colleagues in Brazil.
- Police practice and reform
- Stop and search
- Security governance
- Policing and technology
Dr John Topping
Guided by the view of language as a resource for effectively teaching multilingual/bilingual students, I research ways to improve participation and engagement of these learners in the formal and informal processes of schooling. As the lead author of influential papers, I have argued that teachers need specialized knowledge base in order to attend to the translanguaging practices of the multilingual learners. Current research project examines the development of formative simulated classroom environments for educating science teachers to teach immigrant children.
- Bilingual/multilingual education
- Culturally and linguistically responsive teaching and teacher education
- Teaching science and mathematics to bilingual/multilingual students
- Differential performance of immigrant children on large scale assessments
- Bilingual language policies in nation states
- Literacy development of language minoritized and disadvantaged youth
Dr Sultan Turkan
Dr Vieten has researched the notions of difference and otherness, particularly with respect to historical and contemporary cosmopolitanisms. More recently, she looked into the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees in Northern Ireland, and focused on the politics of loss, the language of dance and how to communicate experiences of displacement across different groups.
The study on refugees was the first study of this kind in NI, and commissioned by the OFMDFM/ Stormont, in 2016. Following previous, also externally funded research, the most recent project with colleagues in Turkey is ground breaking as visual culture is used to stimulate processes of reconciliation across divided communities.
- Gender and intersectionality
- Gender, (institutional) violence and far right populism
- Migration, minorities and citizenship
- Loss, displacement and the spatial-social nexus
- Cosmopolitanism and nationalism in Europe
Dr Ulrike M Vieten
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.
- 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
Dr Karen Winter
Paul has expertise in child welfare generally. Paul is interested in all aspects/areas related to risk, assessment, and decision-making in social work. Paul also has an interest in evidence-based/informed practice as well as knowledge acquisition and utilisation in social work. Additionally, Paul is interested in children’s rights, with a particular focus on the participation rights of children in child welfare. Finally, Paul is interested in general areas of social work education, training and practice learning.
Child welfare. Child protection. Child Safeguarding. Risk. Decision-making. Knowledge acquisition. Knowledge utilisation. Children's Rights. Children's Participation. Social Work Education. Practice Learning. Social Work Training
- Child welfare generally
- All aspects/areas related to risk, assessment, and decision-making in social work
- Evidence-based/informed practice
- Knowledge acquisition and utilisation in social work
- Children’s rights, with a particular focus on the participation rights of children in child welfare
- Social work education, training and practice learning
Dr Paul McCafferty
I have a broad interest in PhD applications in the fields of social work practice, mental health services, lived experience of receiving mental health care. I am also interested in supports for those accessing mental health services and their carers, with a developing interest in mindfulness. I am also interested in how emotions are managed in social work practice, particularly in adult services.
I am interested in lived experiences of mental health and how mental health services and professionals respond. I have a particular interest in spirituality (inclusive of theistic expressions) and its associated practices. I am also interested in epistemic injustice and the ways in which spirituality may be a site of injustice and anti-oppression. I have a broad interest in social work practice with a developing interest around how emotion is engaged with in individual practice, and within organizational and team culture regarding how this is supported in day to day practice.
spirituality, mental health, mental health services, social work practice, emotion, mindfulness
Dr Patricia Carlisle
My research focuses on educational effectiveness in primary and secondary (post-primary) schools. This includes research at the classroom level on effective teaching and pedagogy and metacognition, research at the school level on educational leadership and school culture, and research on collaboration between schools and place-based approaches.
school effectiveness, teacher effectiveness, educational effectiveness, school leadership, school-to-school collaboration
My primary research interests are in the area of employment, education and social inequalities. I have also carried out research on the housing transitions of young adults. I am currently jointly leading a project investigating the experiences, intentions and strategies of EU nationals and employers in Ireland and Northern Ireland, who have been impacted by the UK’s recent change in immigration policy.
employment, education, social inequality, housing
- Social inequalities