Completed projects

Listed by research focus

Childhoods, families and relationships

A History of working-class marriage, 1855-1976
Exploring the history of working-class courtship, marriage and marriage breakdown in Scotland in the period from the civil registration of marriage in 1855 to the introduction of no-fault divorce legislation in 1976.
Research team: Professor Eleanor Gordon, Dr Annemarie Hughes, Dr Rosemary Elliot, Dr Jeff Meek and Twitter @WCMScotland

Children and young people’s participation: from fashion accessory to part of the fabric
Research team: Susan Elsley and Kay Tisdall, CRFR, Jacqui Dunbar, Barnardo’s Scotland, Selwyn McCausland, Barnardo’s Scotland, Sara Collier, Children in Scotland, Marion Macleod, Children in Scotland, Jonathan Sher, Children in Scotland
Outputs: Briefing 1 – Children and young people’s participation in policy-making: making it meaningful, effective and sustainable, Briefing 2 – Children and young people’s participation in policy-making: sharing practice and Children in Scotland supplement on children and young people’s participation

Cool with change
CRFR, in collaboration with Scotland’s Families, was awarded a grant from the Community Fund to explore the impact of family change on the lives of young people aged 11-14.
Research team: Professor Lynn Jamieson, Dr Gill Highet
Outputs: CRFR Briefing part 1, CRFR Briefing part 2, Cool with Change newsletter, Postcards, Final Report

Delayed childbearing and childlessness in Britain: the 1958 and 1979 cohorts compared
This research investigated the factors associated with changing patterns in the timing and propensity to childbirth in Britain.
Research team: Roona Simpson
Outputs: Briefing

Early years longitudinal survey
CRFR along with the National Centre for Social Research conducted a 2 stage evaluation of integration of early years policies on behalf of the Scottish Executive.
Research team: Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Sarah Cunningham Burley, Lynn Jamieson, Fran Wasoff, Simon Anderson and Kerstin Hinds

Early years policy and services
CRFR along with the National Centre for Social Research conducted a 2 stage evaluation of integration of early years policies on behalf of the Scottish Executive.
Research team: 
Sarah Cunningham Burley, Fran Wasoff, Sarah Morton, Ann McGuckin, Sheila MacIvor, Kerstin Hinds.

Outputs: Report

Early years practice – consulting with young children
CRFR undertook a ‘desk-top review’ of evidence-based practice on participation methods with young children.
Research team: 
Andressa Gadda, Kay Tisdall, with John Davis

Outputs: Information on A Right Wee Blether Learning from this project has been incorporated within our CPD training courses on direct research with children and young people.

Empowered and Effective Decision Making
A strong body of research evidence highlights the struggle that disabled children and young people have in getting their voice heard. This action research identified and evaluated ways of addressing this situation.
Research team: Eric Mitchell, Capability, Sarah Morton, CRFR.

Family values in Scotland
CRFR and the Scottish Centre for Social Research studied attitudes to changing families based on a specially commissioned module of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2004 that canvassed public views and knowledge on a range of family matters including knowledge of the law about, and attitudes to wider kin relationships.
Research team: Fran Wasoff, Claudia Martin
Outputs: Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 2004: Family Module Report

Fertility variations in Scotland: socio-cultural attitudes and interactions
This project concerned the social interactions and attitudes underpinning the variation in fertility rates within Scotland.
Research team: Fran Wasoff, Ian Dey
Outputs: Briefing

Grandparents and teenage grandchildren
This research explored relations between grandparents and teenage grandchildren.
Research team: Nicola Jane Ross, Malcolm Hill, Helen Sweeting, Sarah Cunningham-Burley
Outputs: Briefing

Legal practitioners’ perspectives on the cohabitation provisions of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006
This study was the first empirical study of the functioning of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 with the aim of understanding the operation of the cohabitation provisions of the Act. Particular consideration was given to the experiences and perspectives of legal practitioners and other selected family law professionals regarding the use of the provisions in the first three years of the legislation.
Research team: Jo Miles, Fran Wasoff, Enid Mordaunt
Outputs: BriefingReport

Making rights real for children: Learning from South America
This series of seminars, ‘Making rights real for children: Learning from South America’, was given by Professor Irene Rizzini, Director of the International Centre for Research and Policy on Childhood (CIESPI) at PUC-Rio (Brazil). They were funded by The Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professorships.

Me and my befriender
This 18 month research project will explore the views of children, from lone mother households, attending befriending projects in Scotland and England.
Research team: Sue Milne
Outputs: Me and my befriender: exploring adult/child befriending relationships, Me and my befriender: children speak about their adult-child befriending relationships, More male befrienders wanted for children

Participation in practice: school councils
Research team: Kay Tisdall, Sue Milne
Outputs: Councils of the Galaxy, booklet for pupils, 5 briefing papers and full technical report 

Rural and urban solo living study
This two year ESRC funded study investigated the experiences and expectations of people living alone between the ages of 25 and 44, a period of adulthood conventionally associated with partnership and parenting.
Research team: Lynn Jamieson, Roona Simpson
Outputs: Briefing

Solo living
CRFR was awarded a grant to study the growth in solo living across the life course, based on looking at data already collected in British and Scottish long term surveys, for example the Scottish Household Survey.
Research team: Adam Smith, Lynn Jamieson, Fran Wasoff
Outputs: BriefingSolo Living Research Network

South Ayrshire consultation research exercise
A team of researchers worked in South Ayrshire between January 2003 and October 2004 to find out what people think about integrated children’s services, and to explore the best ways of asking for their views.
Research team: Rachel Adam
Outputs: Briefing

Sure Start mapping
CRFR and the Scottish Centre for Social Research were commissioned by the Scottish Executive Education Department, Research and Economic Unit to conduct a second mapping exercise of Sure Start Services in Scotland.
Research team: Sarah Cunningham Burley, Amanda Carty
Outputs: Report

Women in their fifties: wellbeing, ageing and anticipation of ageing
This study explored the everyday experiences of women aged 50-59 – a topic area in which there has been little previous research. The study focused on the opportunities and challenges facing fifty-something women in a range of different social and economic circumstances.
Research team: Linda McKie, Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Laura Airey
Outputs: BriefingReport

Young people and their Future Selves
This research investigated the ways ‘disadvantaged’ young people deal with social challenges in their everyday lives.
Research team: Emma Davidson, CRFR, Lisa Whittaker, University of Glasgow

Young people creating belonging: spaces, sounds and sights
This project explored the notion of belonging in domestic spaces.
Research team: Sarah Wilson

Youth Justice in Western Europe and the Baltic States
This project aims to find, identify and apply best practice in work with children at risk of becoming involved in crime in the context of children’s rights.
Research team: Sheila Riddell, Kay Tisdall, Gillean McCluskey

Inequalities across the lifecourse

Exploring children’s relationships across majority and minority worlds
The ESRC funded seminar series brought together leading research on children’s relationships, to foster debate, challenge and dialogue across Majority and Minority world contexts.
Research team: Kay Tisdall and seminar contributors
Outputs: Seminar presentations, journal articles and other publications; 2 briefings Children and young people’s participation in policy making and Exploring children’s experiences of migration: movement and family relationships

Life in low income families
This research project explored the views and experiences of poverty amongst those living within low income households with at least one child under the age of 18.
Research team: John H. McKendrick, Sarah Cunningham-Burley and Kathryn Backett-Milburn
Outputs: Report

Participation for change: carers influencing policy
CRFR, in collaboration with CARERS Scotland and funded by the Scottish Executive, studied what helped carers become involved in the policy process.
Research team: Sue Anderson, Euan Dick, Sarah Morton and Heather Wilkinson
Outputs: Briefing

Gender-based violence

Feminist governance
This project examined the integration of feminist values and the governance of charities for survivors of sexual violence in the UK.
Research team: Shirley Otto, Sarah Morton
Outputs: CRFR Briefing 70Feminist Governance Toolkit for Trustees of Women’s Aid Groups in Scotland

Football and domestic abuse in England and Scotland
This feasibility study developed a robust programme of research which built upon, and met the needs of, key stakeholders responsible for tackling the possible links between football and domestic violence abuse.
Research team: Nancy Lombard, Oona Brooks and Emma Williamson

Older women and domestic violence
CRFR was commissioned by NHS Health Scotland to carry out a short research project on older women and domestic violence.
Research team: Marsha Scott, Fran Wasoff, Linda McKie, Elizabeth Seddon, Sarah Morton
Outputs: BriefingBriefing update

Health, caring and well-being

Alcohol Stories
Using the life-grid to explore how men in mid-life talk about the relationship between alcohol, mental health, self-harm and suicide.
Research team: Amy Chandler

An appetite for life? Changing food habits and health from infancy to childhood in the context of family life in Scotland.
This research provides a unique understanding of how children’s nutritional trajectories evolve from birth through the toddler years, within the context of family meal patterns and parental health behaviours.
Research team: Valeria Skafida
Outputs: Briefing 62

Biographical disruption and construction: exploring the effects of living with HIV and parental substance use
Research team: 
Sarah Wilson
ArticleJournal article

Care and support needs of men who survived childhood sexual abuse
CRFR worked in collaboration with the mental health charity Health in Mind on a research project exploring the impact of men’s childhood experiences on their wellbeing and relationships through the lifecourse.
Research team: Sarah Nelson, Lynn Jamieson
Outputs: Briefing, Final report, limited print copies available from CRFR

Checking it out: A consultation with children and young people on a draft framework for children and young people’s mental health indicators
Research team: Susan Elsley, Christina McMellon
Outputs: BriefingReport for NHS Health Scotland, contributing to NHS Health Scotland’s development of children and young people’s mental health indicators,  Children and Young People’s Report

Children’s concerns about the health and wellbeing of their parents and significant others
A collaboration between Childline Scotland and CRFR led to an ESRC award to explore ChildLine Scotland’s unique database. This project focused on children’s health-related concerns about parents and significant others.
Research team: Sharon Ogilvie-Whyte, Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Lynn Jamieson, Anne Houston (Childline Scotland), Sarah Morton
Outputs: CRFR BriefingReport

Children’s concerns about their sexual health and wellbeing
This project arose as a result of a previous collaboration between ChildLine Scotland and CRFR and led to a Scottish Executive award to utilise ChildLine Scotland’s unique caller database to examine children and young people’s self-identified concerns about their sexual health and well-being.
Research team: Sharon Ogilvie-Whyte, Elinor Newell, Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Anne Houston (Childline Scotland), Alison Wales (Childline Scotland)
 CRFR BriefingReport

Connect in Care
The purpose of Connect in Care is to support learning and practice development across all settings in order to improve the quality and experience of care for older people in Scotland.
Research team: Alison Forbes, Esther Walker, Heather Wilkinson, Alex McCauley
Outputs: ‘Let’s talk about it’  toolkit

DisDAT / Impact of learning disability liaison services on health experiences and outcomes of people with learning disabilities attending for general hospital care
This project looked at the impact of Learning Disability Liaison Services in South East Scotland on health experiences and outcomes of people with learning disabilities attending for general hospital care.
Research team: 
Heather Wilkinson, Matt Hayes
Report, Identifying distress in people with severe communication difficulties: Disability Distress Assessment Tool, related organisations and publications lists

Experiences of older children of drug and alcohol using parents
Children whose parents have substance misuse problems are at greater risk of various adverse outcomes, both during their childhood and in later life. This project studied older children’s accounts of their childhoods, pathways to independence and thoughts about the future.
Research team: Angus Bancroft, Sarah Wilson, Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Hugh Masters
Outputs: Parental drug and alcohol misuse: resilience and transition among young people

Food for Thought: Food based training, assessment and intervention tools for carers of looked after children
This follow-on ESRC project advanced knowledge exchange between academics, practitioners, carers and educators in relation to the use of food in the care of looked after children. It co-produced, with Partner Agencies and the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services, a training package on the symbolic use of food in residential and foster care as well as designed an interactive online introduction and an assessment tool to aid residential staff and foster carers’ reflections on the child in their care and the food practices which are in place. The project team monitored how these tools had been integrated into practice and the wider impact of the training package. In addition, the team is currently conducting a critical reflection on the process of partnership working and co-production in academic research.
For further details, see the project website:

General Practitioner understanding and management of patients who self-harm
A qualitative study into GP’s understanding and management of patients who self-harm.
Research team: Amy Chandler

Integrating Abortion within a Specialist Contraceptive service (IASC)
A qualitative study of the experiences of women and health professionals.
Research team: Carrie Purcell, Jeni Harden, Julia Lawton, Sharon Cameron, Anna Glasier

Managing the risks and realities of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
An exploratory study in Lothian of service user and service provider accounts of managing the risks and realities of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
Research team: Anne Whittaker (NHS Lothian, PI), Sarah Cunningham-Burley; Paula Midgely (NHS Lothian/University of Edinburgh); Sarah Cooper (NHS Lothian); Lawrie Elliot (Edinburgh Napier University); Amy Chandler (CRFR, The University of Edinburgh)

Neuroscience and Family Life: The Brain in Policy and Everyday Practice
This project focused on how the neurosciences are used in policies, services, and in family life.
Research team: Tineke Broer, Martyn Pickersgill
Outputs: Read the report on the ‘Neuroscience and family life’ policy/public engagement event held at The University of Edinburgh – 2 September 2015
Read the briefing ‘Neuroscience, Policy and Family Life’

Parenting support and drug use
This project aimed to explore understandings about parenting and parenting capacity among drug-using parents, and health-care professionals.
Research team: Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Amy Chandler

PROP: Improving evidence sharing in health and social care for older people
This project brought together a team of academics, policy-makers, practitioners, older people accessing health and social care provision, and specialists in evidence-use and knowledge media to improve the use of evidence in the care and support of older people across Scotland.
Research team: Catherine-Rose Stocks-Rankin, Heather Wilkinson, Claire Lightowler

SASH: Social aspects of self-harm, drug and alcohol use among young people living in diverse socio-economic contexts
The SASH Research Project was a social research project exploring what young people aged 14-16 have to say about self-harm, drug and alcohol use.
Research team: Amy Chandler

Supporting care homes residents with dementia at night
Supporting staff working with people with a learning disability and dementia: practice development pack
Research team: Heather Wilkinson, Colm Cunningham, Diana Kerr
Outputs: Book, Summary and full report, Audio play, Night and Day, Audio play script, Audio play facilitation notes,  Four posters with practical advice for supporting people in care homes at night

Wellcome Strategic Programme in the human body: it’s scope, limits and future
This multidisciplinary programme will follow five strands of innovative research:  1.Human biomaterials  2. Genethics  3. Reproduction  4. Enhancement  5. Methods in bioethics
Research team: John Harris, Martyn Pickersgill

Young people’s views on abortion
This study focused on the attitudes, knowledge and beliefs relating to abortion of young people aged 14-19.
Research team: Jeni Harden, Carrie Purcell, Neneh- Rowa-Dewar

Environment, lifestyle and consumption

Twenty+ futures: recession, global threats and young people’s anticipated futures as partners and parents
The aim of this project was to explore whether and how the current economic crisis and sense of various global threats, for example climate change and security issues, inform the discourse of childless young people about the future.
Research team: Sarah Cunningham Burley, Lynn Jamieson, Emma Rawlins
Outputs: Briefing

Evidence-use: evaluation, innovation and participation

About Families: gathering evidence, informing action
The About Families partnership sought to ensure that the changing needs of parents, including families affected by disability, are met by providing accessible and relevant evidence to inform services. Over three years (2010 – 2013), About Families identified and investigated four key parenting topics and used an innovative ‘evidence to action cycle’ model to support a range of organisations and services to use evidence, and consult with service users, to inform service development. The project also piloted an Evidence Bank, which produced concise evidence reviews in direct response to family and disability service related research questions.
Read more about this project
Click here for the About Families project outputs
Contact: Karen Seditas

All Settled? A study of legally binding separation agreements and private ordering in family law in Scotland
This ESRC funded project explores the use of legally binding written agreements (rather than court action) when separating couples arrange the division of their property and on-going support for any children they may have. It examines the extent to which the Agreements reflect family law and policy and how satisfied those entering them are with their outcomes.
Research team: Jane Mair, Fran Wasoff, Kirsteen Mackay
Outputs: Briefing

Changing Children and Families social work
This project, funded by the ESRC, aims to encourage culture change and practice development in children and families social work.
Research team: Heather Wilkinson, Viv Cree, Mark Smith, Rhoda MacRae
Outputs: Project overview, posters, publications etc

Evaluation of Safe and Sound project (Shelter and Relationships Scotland)
CRFR was contracted to monitor and evaluate the Safe and Sound partnership project.The partners, Shelter Scotland and Relationships Scotland Family Mediation Tayside and Fife, pooled their expertise and service knowledge on young people, families and homelessness to identify and address the challenges young people face as a result of housing instability and breakdown in family relationships.
Research team: Sarah Morton, Linda McKie
Outputs: Read the report, Safe & Sound film

Evidence Bank
CRFR has developed an Evidence Bank – a knowledge service which supports evidence into action.

Evidence Request Bank Development Project
The Evidence Request Bank (ERB) was a one year pilot development project (2013-2014) which developed an evidence-to-action cycle in order to explore ways in which organisations can be supported to access and use evidence to inform their work. The Evidence Bank is currently being developed further in the context of public service delivery as part of What Works Scotland, a new initiative to improve the way local areas in Scotland use evidence to make decisions about public service development and reform.
For further information on the pilot project, and current developments, see

Impact Evaluations of Genomic Centres
The ESRC conducted Impact Evaluations of their Genomics centres in the UK.
Research team: Sarah Morton, Laura Airey, Kelly Shiell-Davis

Knowledge into Action research – defining methods and strategic national projects to implement the NHS Scotland Knowledge to Action model
CRFR in partnership with SMCI Associates was contracted to research questions surrounding the NHS Scotland Knowledge into Action model.
Research team: Sarah Morton, Sheila Inglis (SCMI), Karen Seditas, Amy Chandler, Heather Wilkinson, Juliet MacArthur (NHS)

Meaningful & Measurable
A collaborative action research project which developed approaches to the analysis and use of personal outcomes data.
Research team: Ailsa Cook, Sarah Morton

Personal Development Partnership (PDP) evaluation
The PDP Project offers outdoor based activities for the target group of 14-17 year olds who have a ‘significant’ risk of offending. The evaluation drew upon contribution analysis and allows for the identification and consideration of which elements of potential outcomes the PDP project has under direct control and which can be achieved through direct and indirect influence.
Research team: Sarah Morton, Linda McKie

Principles in Practice: financial provision on divorce under the Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985
This project looked at how lawyers and judges use the Family Law(Scotland) Act 1985 to make financial orders when people divorce or dissolve their partnerships.
Research team: Jane Mair, Fran Wasoff, Enid Mordaunt

PROP2 Practitioner research: outcomes and partnership
Managed by CRFR and IRISS and working with partners from health and social care, a number of practitioners were supported to undertake a research project to address an issue related to their practice.
Research team: Ailsa Cook, Vivien Moffat, Stuart Muirhead, Heather Wilkinson
Outputs: Download the reports here

West Lothian early intervention programme evaluation
Partnership working between CRFR and West Lothian Council aimed to establish, maintain and make use of an evaluation approach using contribution analysis.
Research team: Sarah Morton, Laura Airey, Cara Blaisdell

Work, institutions and civil society: rights and governance

Work and family lives: the changing experiences of young families
This project explored the ways in which working parents and their primary school-aged children negotiate their work and family lives over time, by drawing on the changing experiences and perceptions of a sample of 14 families over a three year period 2007-2o10.
Research team: Jeni Harden, Alice Maclean, Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Lynn Jamieson, Sarah Cunningham-Burley
Outputs: Briefing, Project report, publications list, website

Work-life balance in Scottish food retail companies
A research project based in Scottish food retail companies, exploring: employers’ views on work-life balance policies; women’s experiences of combining paid work and caring for family members and other dependents; best practice’ in terms of work-life balance policies in the food retail sector.
Research team: Kathryn Backett-Milburn, Linda McKie, Laura Airey, Gail Cook, Gill Hogg
Outputs: Leaflets – 21st Century Retail: Work-life balance and your business; Working and Caring

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