CRFR PhD students

CRFR supports a number of University of Edinburgh PhD students who are conducting research on families and relationships. Below is a list of current and completed students.

Current PhD students

Jane Andrew, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: The Meanings and Experiences of Befriending for People who have Memory Loss or Dementia
This project aims to explore the meaning and experiences of befriending relationships for people with memory loss or dementia in the context of a person’s everyday life, personal community, and associated life history.

Bekkah Bernheim, The University of Edinburgh
Current project:  The Resettlement Experiences of Displaced Girls: A Comparative Study of Rural and Urban Scotland
There is a paucity of scholarly research examining the resettlement experiences of displaced young women and girls in Scotland. Bekkah’s proposed research seeks to address this gap in the corpus of existing literature.  It compares displaced girls’ experiences of resettlement in both a rural and an urban context, with a particular focus on mobility and integration.  The experiences of forced migrants resettled in a rural context are markedly different from those resettled in an urban context due to available resources, access to services, and local social and cultural norms. Through the use of ethnographic and participatory methods, the research seeks to understand what constraints and enablers impact girls’ (im)mobility, and how these girls resist, comply with, and/or redefine mobility boundaries, and if and how this contributes to, or in fact, inhibits the societal integration of displaced girls in Scotland.

Patricio Cuevas-Parra, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: All opinions matter: Children and young people leading their own research
This research project aims to critically explore how the process and outcomes of the participation of children and young people in their own research contribute, positively or negatively, to decision-making processes. This study hopes to fill the gap between literature and practice regarding child-led research which has been not widely documented and to provide such knowledge.

Jillian Hart, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Is methodological innovation superficially attractive but challenging in practice? A case study combining biographical narrative with social network mapping
As social scientists we have a variety of methods in our social science ‘toolbox’. But, are we using the same methods over and over again? We have so many methods and applications of methods at our disposal; why are we sticking to primarily interviews, questionnaires, ethnography, focus groups (or a combination of them). The NCRM typology of research methods lists literally dozens of methods, and even with only 12 methods considered, there are 132 possible pairings of methods, so why are we limiting our data collection methods? Is mixing methods superficially attractive but challenging in practice? This thesis therefore questions, are we stuck in a rut with our data collection methods? This project will examine and explore the potential, and also the pitfalls, of bringing (auto)biographical research and social network analysis together by way of a case study which examines the academic career, relationships, and networks of Professor Ann Oakley.

Aoife McKenna, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: A sociological study of health-related enhancement technologies in the context of reproduction
Aoife was awarded a Wellcome Trust funded studentship under a Biomedical Ethics Strategic programme, “The Human Body, its Scope, Limits and Future”. The project will investigate sterilization in Brazil and the U.K., particularly focusing on conceptions of parenthood and family, constructions of the human body and its capabilities, and issues of regulation.

Karina Padilla, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Details to follow

Rebecca Parry, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Rebecca’s PhD focuses on the impact of early (childhood) on-set epilepsy on the family. Examining closely the affects a diagnosis has on the child, siblings, and parents. As well as exploring family dynamics and strategies for managing and living with chronic illness. The PhD is part of on-going work at the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children Edinburgh and funded by the Muir Maxwell Trust.

Eloi Ribe, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Maintaining and extending grandparent-grandchild relationships
This study aims at understanding the theoretical and practical implications of grandparent-grandchild relationships.

Nathalia Salamanca, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Sense-making and life narratives: Colombian former child soldiers and their views about childhood during war. The aim of this research is to explore the existence of former child soldier’s narrative that could contest that mainstream discourse, and to see what contributions these narratives can provide to the understanding of childhood during war.

Sara Diane Stewart, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Women, sectarianism and Scottish intergenerational family relationships.

Temitayo Odewusi
Current project: Factors influencing adolescents’ choices regarding sexual initiation and contraceptive use
It is a qualitative study and I have just returned from Nigeria for my data collection, where I did focus groups and individual interviews among in-school and out-of-school adolescents.  Those are the two major categories of adolescents in Nigeria.  I am trying to explore the influence of socioeconomic status and gender on these two groups of young people.  Currently, I am at the analysis stage of study.

Liliana Arias Urena
Current project: Children´s Experiences of Living with Cleft Lip and Palate (CLP)
This qualitative study seeks to explore children’s own accounts of the experience of living with Cleft Lip and Palate in a Latin-American context-Colombia-.

Alex Wright
Current project: Details to follow

Laura Wright, The University of Edinburgh
Current project:  Laura’s research explores the role of play-based methodologies in child researchers’ psychosocial wellbeing and meaningful participation.  The research study will use an interdisciplinary sociology of childhood, child-rights, social ecological and systems thinking approach, and an anticolonial research paradigm (Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Dei & Kempf, 2006; James & Prout, 2015; Wilson, 2008).  A qualitative play-based participatory research process will be employed that draws on participatory action research (PAR) (Reason & Bradbury, 2006) and creative action research (CAR) to support  refugee child researchers (11 to 16 years) to develop skills to lead research with their peers and community on the role of play in psychosocial wellbeing. Thus, each member of the research team will be leading on a research project, Laura’s being her PhD exploring child researchers’ experience and the children’s being their PAR projects.

Yan Zhu, The University of Edinburgh
Current project: Details to follow

Recently completed PhD students

Amelia Alias
Project:  Details to follow

Emma Davidson, The University of Edinburgh
Young people and the everyday antisocial
Young people frequently use public space for social acitivity but their presence can be a source of suspicion and anxiety to members of the public. This thesis examines how they use and relate to public spaces.

Emma Doyle, The University of Edinburgh
Calling NHS 24: exploring caller decision making and help seeking behaviour within the context of out-of-hours health care provision

This project used in-depth qualitative interviews to explore illness behaviour amongst people who call NHS 24 during the out-of-hours period and who are given self-care advice. This research was funded through an ESRC CASE studentship, in association with NHS 24.

Carine Leborgne, The University of Edinburgh
Carines research aimed to follow a case study approach focusing on two children’s rights organisations, one in Scotland and one in Tamil Nadu (South India). It looked at how NGOs implement the concept of participation, at the role of facilitators and barriers in the process of implementation, and at future improvement of children’s participation. The study compared practices between the “Minority World” and “Majority World” to evaluate alternative solutions to implement children’s participation.​

Alexandra Macht, The University of Edinburgh
Fatherhood and love: A psychosocial and cultural exploration of unromantic love in Scottish and Romanian families.
Through semi-structured qualitative interviews, observations of personal lives and an analysis of current parenting blogs, the research investigates the conceptions and emotional experiences of both parents in general and fathers in particular regarding unromantic child-led love.

Christina McMellon, The University of Edinburgh
Critical happiness: examining the beliefs that young Lao volunteers in Vientiane hold about the things that make life good
Christina’s research used collaborative ethnography to explore young Laotian’s experiences and understandings of their subjective wellbeing and how these experiences and assessments are informed by Lao culture and changing global cultures.

Mary Mitchell, The University of Edinburgh
This PhD research is a 1+3 collaborative studentship, which was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and was a partnership between CHILDREN 1ST, the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships and the University of Edinburgh. This qualitative research aims to better understand the contribution Family Group Conferencing  (FGC) makes to longer-term outcomes for children and families. For the purposes of the research, “longer-term” was considered to be 12 months or longer, after an FGC meeting had taken place.

Fiona Morrison, The University of Edinburgh
Children, contact and domestic abuse
Fiona was awarded a CASE ESRC studentship with Scottish Women’s Aid and the Centre for Research in Families and Relationships (CRFR). Her research focused on children’s views and experiences of contact when there is history of domestic abuse, and their views of contact policy and legislation.

Kate Norman, The University of Edinburgh
Transgender people’s experiences of health and social care provision in Scotland
Kate’s PhD reviewed levels of social care need and service provision for transgender people in Scotland, within dedicated and generic services, and from the perspectives of transgender people themselves. The findings, from three online surveys and nineteen online interviews, identified varying levels of support from transgender groups, gender specialists, GPs, counsellors/psychiatrists, families and friends, and from care staff. Key areas of need included gender identity and transition issues, family concerns, documentation, mental and physical health issues, and issues relating to social integration, including the effects of transphobia and social isolation.
Read the ‘Report to the Scottish Government: Socialising Transgender’
Author of   Socialising Transgender: Support for Transition, published 2017

Harla Sara Octarra, University of Edinburgh
Harla’s PhD looked at practices of working together in children’s services. Her research was conducted within the context of Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) implementation. GIRFEC is the Scottish Government approach to improving outcomes for children. It requires agencies in each local authority to work together in order to deliver appropriate and timely services for children and families, and Harla looked closely on what working together meant in practice. Harla’s PhD was funded by the Indonesia Education Scholarship; the Indonesian Government scholarship that was managed and administered by the Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) of Ministry of Finance.

Sharani Osborn, The University of Edinburgh
Becoming a Father: Men’s orientations and decisions in relation to having children
The studentship, funded by the ESRC through the Centre for Population Change (CPC) comprised of a qualitative interview project in Edinburgh with men who are fathers, and a smaller sample of men who are not fathers. The aim of the research was to explore how men understand the place of fatherhood in the life course and in relation to other life domains, as well as the factors shaping decisions around having children for men who are and are not fathers.

Lee Siew-Pien, The University of Edinburgh
Project:  Children’s participation in decisions regarding their nursing care: An ethnographic study of children, parents and nurses in the oncology setting

Sarah Rogers, The University of Edinburgh
Project: Exploring non-resident fatherhood and child well-being in the early years using the Growing Up in Scotland study.

Scott Tindal, The University of Edinburgh
Project: This studentship aimed to contribute to the body of research concerned with knowledge exchange.
This project explored the processes of non-academic engagement at the interface between researchers and non-academic research-users, for example; policymakers, charities, private companies, and other stakeholders including the wider public. This study used the case study of the CPC to explore how demography and population research is disseminated across a wide range of different research-using audiences.

Julie Watson, The University of Edinburgh
Understanding the caring relationship between people with advanced dementia and care staff in a care home
Julie completed a Masters by Research in 2011 as part of a 1+3 ESRC Studentship. Her PhD sought to understand the caring relationship between people with advanced dementia towards the end of life and care staff in a care home. Using embodied selfhood as a theoretical framework and focusing on everyday acts of care, she explored ways of being with the person with dementia in caring ways that draw upon their remaining emotional, relational and embodied capacities, as part of a palliative care approach.

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