Student Profiles

Karen Charles

Karen Charles
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Social Tranformations: Pathways to Residential Care for Older People in West Bengal
Research Supervisor:
Professor Vanessa Burholt and Dr Paul Nash
Supervising school:
Centre for Innovative Ageing,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Little is known about the impact of rapid social transformations in India on the networks of older people. The development of residential care homes suggest that the relationship between the individual, family and state in contemporary India has changed.

Aims: to focus on the intersection between population ageing, migration and social change to understand the reasons that older people enter care homes in W. Bengal.

Steven M. Dolan

Start date:
October 2011
Research Topic:
An investigative study: exploring the coordination of multi-agency resettlement strategies for young people leaving secure accommodation.
Research Supervisor:
Dr Sally Holland & Dr Kirsty Hudson
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My PhD will have the primary focus on revealing how local multi-agency partnerships are approaching joint planning for the resettlement of young people leaving the secure estate. The research is interested in the ways that various models of coordination are initiated by relevant statutory and voluntary agencies to set up support prior to release, and how these strategies enhance or impede a positive transition back into the community.

For my Research Masters (MSc), I am currently conducting a series of qualitative case studies into Youth Offending Teams in South Wales. Due to their local partnership model, the research is interested in gaining the perspectives of front-line and senior staff to find out what is working well locally, whilst also gaining insight into some of the obstacles and challenges. The intention is to explore the effectiveness of joint working and how resources are being shared at a local level and across authorities. I am particularly interested in how partnerships view themselves in relational terms, and the extent to which this is influenced by current funding arrangements. I also intend to explore the extent to which young people are involved in planning and decision making – and how policy translates into practice.

Martin Elliott

Martin Elliott
Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
An analysis of the backgrounds of children entering public care (looked-after children) in Wales
Research Supervisor:
Professor Jonathan Scourfield & Dr. Sin Yi Cheung
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The intention of the research is to explore through the use of quantitative analysis, the variations in numbers of children ‘looked-after’, both between Welsh local authorities and between England and Wales.

Faye Grinter

Faye Grinter
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Redefining Professional Boundaries - Relationship Centred Practice in the Care for Older People with Dementia
Research Supervisor:
Prof Judith Phillips
Supervising school:
College of Human and Health Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My PhD aims to identify the key features of a relationship-based practice for older people with dementia, to examine innovative approaches in social care and to develop policy and practice relevant evidence that supports replicable application of relationship-centred practice. Additionally, the project aims to explore how practitioners balance rights, risks and responsibilities when caring for an older person with dementia that is allied to a person-centred approach, within the context of increasing bureaucratic procedures and processes within social care. The project will be co-produced with people affected by dementia to ensure they are recognised as equal and active stakeholders.

Andrea Murray

Andrea Murray
Start date:
October 2014
Research Topic:
Investigating The Experiences of Informal Carers Within the Process of Long-Term Care Admissions: Implications for Social Work Practice
Research Supervisor:
Dr. Sara MacBride-Stewart, Dr. Alyson Rees
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Whilst the primary responsibility for choosing and organising long term care placements most frequently falls to informal carers; the experiences of this group are relatively under-researched in comparison to studies focussed upon older people as they transition into care home settings.

This study will aim to:

  • Contribute to existing understandings of the experiences of family care-givers as they facilitate care home admission for older people
  • Explore the nature of support specifically required in facilitating the effective adjustment of family care-givers to long-term placement.
  • Consider the extent to which current social policy related to care home admissions and existing social work practice during placement reflects the concerns of informal care-givers and builds upon their need for specific types of support
  • In light of the above: to consider some of the actions that may be required (from both a policy and practice perspective), to enable practitioners to deliver interventions most suited to the needs of informal care-givers at a time of placement and therefore most likely to promote effective placement adjustment.

Rachel Parker

Rachel Parker
Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Understanding the Role of Schools in Adolescent Self Harming Behaviours
Research Supervisor:
Dr Rhiannon Evans and Professor Jonathan Scourfield
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My work centres upon understanding the needs of, and providing support for, the adolescent self-harm population group within secondary schools settings in Wales.
Secondary schools are key environments in regards to adolescent health behaviours and promotion, and although research is limited, schools can play an important role in identifying and responding to pupils’ emotional and mental health needs. This research project therefore aims to investigate the role of schools in regards to adolescent self-harm, specifically exploring staff and pupil perspectives regarding barriers and facilitators to schools intervening with students’ self-harm behaviour. This will help to develop system-level prevention and intervention.

ResearchGate:
Rachel_Parker6

Angharad Parr

Angharad Parr
Start date:
October 2012
Research Topic:
The role of social work with older people with complex needs in times transition
Research Supervisor:
Professor Judith Phillips
Supervising school:
College of Human and Health Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My research involves the study of the role of social work with older people with complex needs in times of transition. More specifically, my PhD focuses upon older adult learning disabilities who take on the caring role, or who are in a mutual caring relationship. The research aims to explore mutual caring older families that involve a person with a learning disability, and examine their needs and experiences within the family, their caring role, and the role of social services. There is a great need to add to the current evidence base, especially given the increased life expectancy for people with learning disabilities. Further, the incidence of mutual caring appears to be growing, but the true extent of its increase is unknown as mutual caring amongst these older families often remains hidden. Many factors impact upon mutually caring older families, such as a) not fitting neatly into services and support, b) lack of recognition that they are carers, c) fear of interference, d) feeling judged, e) lack of infomation, f) lack of practical support, and g) social isolation.

Rebecca Pratchett

Start date:
October 2013
Research Topic:
Exploring the outcomes for children and young people in kinship care in South Wales.
Research Supervisor:
Dr Paul Rees
Supervising school:
College of Human and Health Sciences,

My research focusses on kinship care, or family and friends care, in the United Kingdom with a particular focus on South Wales. As a placement option, kinship care has grown rapidly over the past 20 years with more than 170,000 children and young people currently thought to be living in such arrangements in the UK (Nandy, Selwyn, Farmer & Vaisey, 2011). The project is applied research working in close collaboration with the City and County of Swansea and Carmarthenshire County Council to examine the relative wellbeing and outcomes of children and young people in kinship care in South Wales, and strategies to maximise placement success.

Joanne Pye

Start date:
October 2012
Research Topic:
Looked After Children and birth family contact
Research Supervisor:
Dr Paul Rees
Supervising school:
College of Human and Health Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This research project will investigate whether ‘contact’ between children who are looked after and their birth family impacts on the children’s development, stability, attainment, mental health, general well-being and aspirations. The project will examine the efficacy of using ‘contact’ purposely for the promotion of positive outcomes.

Hayley Reed

Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Coproducation of wellbeing interventions in secondary schools
Research Supervisor:
Prof Simon Murphy and Dr Rhiannon Evans
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

My PhD has two interlinked aims:

  1. To produce methodological guidance for the utilisation of coproduction in the development of school-based health interventions. This will support researchers and members of the public in coproducing quality health interventions, and provide research funders and peer reviewers with criteria to assess the quality of coproduction in research bids.
  2. To support students to coproduce substantive theories of how to tackle wellbeing in schools. The purpose is to compare the coproduced wellbeing theories with the current research evidence base, to see if stakeholders highlight theoretical gaps.

To achieve these aims, the objectives are to:

  1. Conduct a realist review of previous studies of coproduced school-based health interventions to understand coproduction.
  2. Conduct case study primary research with two secondary school cases that use coproduction to develop wellbeing interventions.

The research questions are:

  1. What coproduction processes are currently utilised in school-based health intervention development?
  2. What contextual factors and mechanisms are necessary for a successful coproduction process ?
  3. What wellbeing targets and what processes of change do the coproduced interventions developed focus on?
  4. Do the targets and processes of change highlight theoretical gaps in our understanding of wellbeing?
ResearchGate:
HayleyReed

Allyson Rogers

Allyson Rogers
Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
Age Friendly Wales
Research Supervisor:
Dr Charles Musselwhite
Supervising school:
College of Arts and Humanities,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

This project is focused on Age friendly Wales, exploring accessibility when using mobility aids, with an interest in co-designing research with older people who use mobility aids.

Critical Gerontology seeks to understand the dynamic interaction between individuals and social structure, while mobilities offers a multi-disciplinary approach to exploring the man made systems which both assist and constrict human behaviour

Combining the mobilities paradigm with critical gerontology as both approaches acknowledge the role of systems in shaping everyday routines and lifestyles throughout the life-course. These systems both provide services and potentially inhibit individual choice, especially when individuals differ from the embodied norm. Linking these two theories will form the theoretical framework of the research.

Aled Singleton

Aled Singleton
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Neighbourhoods and Older People
Research Supervisor:
Dr C.B.A. Musselwhite, Dr S.E. Rodgers
Supervising school:
College of Human and Health Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Aled’s work considers the crossovers between the fields of ‘placemaking’ [human geography, architecture, planning and urban design] and gerontology. The latter study of the ageing population is starting to find its place within academia and public life as society realises that the median age is going up virtually everywhere in the World.

This research within Swansea University’s Centre for Innovative Ageing is an urban ethnography to consider wellbeing as people develop a relationship and attachment to place over their lifecourse. Through the use of GPS-mapped walk-along interviews mixed methods are intended to help society make sense of how people emotionally relate to, and negotiate, their local neighbourhoods; for example streets, green spaces, shops and public spaces.

The fieldwork will be conducted in Britain and take a ‘lifecourse’ approach to consider the relationships between place and health: how people in places have developed over time. The intention is to work closely with community-based organisations and artists who want to take a lead in making places age-friendly for their own localities.

Aled is Vice President of the Swansea University Postgraduate Research Society.

Recent articles

Singleton, A., 2016. Ageing Issues. British Society of Gerontology Blog
Available at: https://ageingissues.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/thoughts-ahead-of-mobility-mood-place-habitats-for-happy-healthy-ageing-conference/

Singleton, A., 2016. Ageing Issues. British Society of Gerontology Blog
Available at: https://ageingissues.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/mobility-mood-and-place-conference-reflections/

Conference presentations

Singleton, A., & Schifferes, J (2012). Reflections on action research towards resilience-building measures in an economically-deprived place. Paper presented at Cardiff International Conference on Sustainable Place-Making, Cardiff University

Singleton, A.,(2016). Is there a home within online place branding for dementia-friendly communities? Paper presented at British Society of Gerontology Conference, University of Stirling

Singleton, A.,(2016). Affect, emotion & place attachment: comparisons between methodologies in human geography & social psychology. Paper presented at College of Human and Health Sciences Postgraduate Conference, Swansea University

Nell Warner

Nell Warner
Start date:
January 2016
Research Topic:
The impact of adversity on improvements in parental feelings of competence among Home-Start parents
Research Supervisor:
Professor Chris Taylor and Dr Luke Sloan
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship
External Sponsor:
Home-Start UK

This PhD is examining the effectiveness of Home-Start support in improving parental feelings of competence among families facing different levels of adversity. Home-Start is a voluntary organisation which provides needs-based volunteer support to families with children five years old and under. Home-Start works according to a theory of change which suggests that social support can lead to improvements in the well-being of parents resulting in increased feelings of parental competence. This leads to more adaptive parental behaviour and improvements in child behaviour. This quantitative study is using Home-Start UK’s administrative data to investigating the nature and extent of adverse risk factors and adverse life events among families receiving Home-Start support. The effects adversity on both the way support is delivered and its effectiveness at improving parental feelings of competence are being examined.

Rachel Waters

Rachel Waters
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
The recovery approach in community mental health teams: a discourse analysis
Research Supervisor:
Dr Michael Arribas-Allyon, Dr Steven Stanley
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

The recovery approach in mental health focusses on how a person can live a rich and rewarding life despite the ongoing presence of mental illness symptoms. The approach is now a central tenet of mental health services both in Wales and internationally, however it is contested, with evidence of varying understandings between professional disciplines and between professionals and service users. Despite the commitment in policy to a recovery approach there is evidence that the bio-medical model still dominates in community mental health teams (CMHTs) and this raises questions regarding the future of the recovery approach in mental health.

My work will explore the relationships between discourses and reproduction of power in social practices and interactions within a CMHT. In particular I am interested in how recovery discourse is used in the CMHT to shape professional practice and interactions. I will use a variety of data including recordings of multi-disciplinary meetings, ethnographic field notes and policy documents.

Zoe Wrigley

Start date:
October 2016
Research Topic:
An analysis of referrals and outcomes for young people at risk of CSE
Research Supervisor:
Professor Donald Forrester and Dr Sophie Hallett
Supervising school:
School of Social Sciences,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Multi-agency working is a core feature of the service response to child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Wales, however there is little research understanding of what this looks like in practice.

The aim of this project is to provide an in-depth understanding of how multi-agency practitioner groups in Wales understand, navigate, and contribute to the construction of newly-implemented and evolving key concepts related to CSE, including risk and outcomes, within the context of inter-agency interactions, service planning, and decision making.

Social work, which can be defined as community-based response to social need, is a vital area for social science, especially in the light of fundamental ‘demand side’ shifts (e.g. age profile and other demographic changes) and ‘supply side’ re-conceptualisations (e.g. in regulation and provision). This pathway offers doctoral training with an emphasis on quantitative and outcome-focused research, which is particularly needed in the UK.

At Cardiff we have one of the largest groups of social work/social care doctoral students of any UK university and the School of Social Sciences is one of the largest such schools in the UK and a recognised centre of research excellence, scoring in the top three within the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. The School provides a diverse and challenging intellectual environment in which disciplines and fields of study benefit from continued exchange and interaction. Interdisciplinary combinations across a variety of funded projects, research centres and study groups are a hallmark of the School, as are impact and innovation.

The School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University has a vibrant research culture, and research students are a vital part of it. The School has a strong track record of international, peer-reviewed publication; it hosts several major disciplinary and methods-focused social science journals. Students on the Social Work and Social Care pathway routinely engage with staff and students from other disciplines and engage with the wide range of research centres, research groups and other forums hosted by the School.

The School supports and organises a number of doctoral cohort events including an annual PGR dinner (a social event and celebration of doctoral accomplishment); an annual doctoral student conference (including paper sessions and poster competition); the student-run Postgraduate Café, and various reading groups, which meet once a month to discuss a range of topics related to social research, politics and culture. In addition, the pathway has run an annual student-led doctoral social work and social care conference for several years. This event is led and run by the students themselves, and designed around their wants and needs.

Students on the ‘1+3’ route complete the specialist module Public Sector Management as part of the Social Science Research Methods programme, whilst also developing a breadth of knowledge, understanding and skills on this inter-disciplinary Masters. Subject-specific training and student development continues throughout the doctorate with a wide range of reading and discussion groups, roundtable sessions, seminar series, and data analysis workshops.