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Dr. Catherine Conlon
Associate Professor, Social Studies
Head Of School, Sch Office - Social Work & Social Policy


I am Associate Professor Social Policy and currenly PI of HEA North South Research Programme funded project exploring Reproductive Citizenship on the island of Ireland post Repeal in the Republic and decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland, entitled ReproCit for short.

My research focuses on reproduction policy and the social politics of reproduction and its effects on positionality and the gendered ordering of roles and relations and engages qualitative methodologies informed by critical, post-humanist perspectives. I publish on abortion seeking, concealing pregnancy, care and intergenerational relations and methodologies. I was PI (2019-2022) of the Unplanned Pregnancy and Abortion Care (UnPAC) study, designated the service user data strand informing the statutory review of the Health (Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018. I also served as expert academic adviser to the Independent Chair of the Review and appeared twice before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health considering the Review. I currently hold the HEA North South Research Project Award ReproCit researching how differing pathways to legalising abortion on the island of Ireland 2018-19 are shaping empirical formations of reproductive citizenship, being carried out with Dr Kate Antosik-Parsons in TCD and Dr Fiona Bloomer and Dr Emma Campbell at University of Ulster.

I am highly engaged by debates and developments in methodologies for knowing the social world and qualitative methodologies in particular and my practice includes Constructivist Grounded Theory, Voice Centred Relational Methods, What's the Problem Representation (WPR) and post-humanist/post-qualitative informed creative inquiry. I was invited by Prof Kathy Charmaz to contribute exemplars of my work for the second edition of her best-selling textbook. My commitment to trans disciplinary and creative research practice saw me forge a collaboration with the wonderful Prof Evangelia Rigaki in the School of Music to translate material from my PhD research concerning women concealing pregnancy into an Opera Performance The Pregnant Box for Trinity College Dublin Discover Research Night 2014 (see Conlon and Rigaki, 2024).

My peer reviewed publications comprise journal articles, book chapters, co-edited book and policy reports. My outputs feature across top ranking social science and inter-disciplinary journals e.g., Gender & Society, Qualitative Health Research, BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health and Qualitative Research indicative of their broad intellectual scope and appeal. My book chapters are published by Bloomsbury, Sage and Cork University Press. I am Sole/Senior author on 11 policy commissioned reports for: Crisis Pregnancy Agency/HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme, the Department of Health, the Equality Authority, the Women's Health Council and the Combat Poverty Agency.

I teach across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and supervise Masters and PhD students. Core module curricula I have designed and taught include: Regulating Reproductive Bodies (from 24/25); Introduction to Social Policy; Principles of Social Policy; Families and Society; Ageing and Intergenerational Relations; Research Design and Research Methodologies for Practitioners.

I welcome inquiries and applications from PhD applicants in the areas of reproduction policy, sexual and reproductive politics, policy and rights and inter-generational relations.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Áine B. Mannion and Catherine Conlon, The vagina problem: a step too far in parent"child sex communication with young children, Sex Education, Online First, 2024, p1 - 14 Journal Article, 2024 TARA - Full Text URL

Pregnant Box: What Happens When Opera Enacts an Embodied Analysis of Concealing Pregnancy in, editor(s)Helen Kara , The Bloomsbury Handbook of Creative Research Methods, London, Bloomsbury Academic, 2023, [Catherine Conlon and Evangelia Rigaki] Book Chapter, 2023 TARA - Full Text

Greene Jo, Butler Éadaoin, Conlon Catherine, Antosik-Parsons Kate, Gomperts Rebecca, Seeking online telemedicine abortion outside the jurisdiction from Ireland following implementation of telemedicine provision locally, BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health, 48, (4), 2022, p259 - 266 Journal Article, 2022 DOI TARA - Full Text

Spillane, A., Taylor, M., Henchion, C., Venables, R. and Conlon, C. , Early abortion care during the COVID-19 public health emergency in Ireland: Implications for law, policy, and service delivery. , International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 154, 2021, p379 - 384 Journal Article, 2021 URL

Bras S., Gomperts R., Kelly M., Aiken A.R.A., Conlon C., Accessing abortion outside jurisdiction following legalisation of abortion in the Republic of Ireland, BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health, 47, (3), 2021, p200 - 204, p200-204 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Foley G, Timonen V, Conlon C, Elliott O'Dare C., Interviewing as a vehicle for theoretical sampling in grounded theory, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 20, 2021, p1 - 10 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Mullally A., Horgan T., Thompson M., Conlon C., Dempsey B., Higgins M.F., Working in the shadows, under the spotlight " Reflections on lessons learnt in the Republic of Ireland after the first 18"months of more liberal Abortion Care, Contraception, 102, (5), 2020, p305 - 307, p305-307 Journal Article, 2020 DOI

Elliott O'Dare, C., Timonen, V. and Conlon, C., Doing intergenerational friendship: Challenging the dominance of age homophily in friendship, Canadian Journal of Aging - La Revue canadienne du vieillissement, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 TARA - Full Text

Conlon C, Timonen V, Elliott O'Dare C, O'Keeffe S, Foley G., Confused about theoretical sampling? Engaging theoretical sampling in diverse grounded theory studies, Qualitative Health Research, 30, (6), 2020, p947 - 959 Journal Article, 2020 TARA - Full Text DOI

Sampling and conceptualization in Grounded Theory in, editor(s)Järvinen, M Mik-Meyer, N , Qualitative analysis - eight approaches, London, Sage, 2020, pp223 - 242, [Conlon, Catherine] Book Chapter, 2020 TARA - Full Text URL

Elliot O'Dare, C, Timonen, V and Conlon, C., Doing' intergenerational friendship: challenging the dominance of age homophily in friendship'' , Canadian Journal on Aging/La Revue canadienne du vieillissement , 2020, p1 - 14 Journal Article, 2020

Elliott O'Dare, C., Timonen, V. and Conlon, C., Intergenerational friendships of older adults: Why do we know so little about them?, Ageing & Society, 2019, p1 - 16 Journal Article, 2019

O'Dare, CE, Timonen, V, Conlon, C, Escaping 'The Old Fogey': Doing Old Age through Intergenerational Friendship , Journal of Ageing Studies, 48, 2019, p67 - 75 Journal Article, 2019

Timonen V, Foley G, Conlon C., Challenges when using Grounded Theory: A pragmatic introduction to doing GT research, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 17, (1), 2018, p1 - 10 Journal Article, 2018 DOI TARA - Full Text

Quilty, A, Kennedy, S, Conlon, C, The Abortion Papers: Volume 2, Cork, Cork University Press, 2016, 1 - 331pp Book, 2016

Conlon, C., Carney, G., Timonen, V. and Scharf, T., 'Emergent Reconstruction' in Grounded Theory: Learning from Team-Based Interview Research, Qualitative Research, 15, (1), 2015, p39 - 56 Journal Article, 2015 TARA - Full Text

The Fragility of Respectability for Lone Mothers in, editor(s)Quilty, A, Kennedy, S and Conlon, C , Abortion Papers Ireland Vol II, Cork, Attic/Cork University Press, 2015, pp228 - 243, [Conlon, C] Book Chapter, 2015

Timonen, V. and Conlon, C., Beyond Mannheim: Conceptualising how people 'talk' and 'do' generations in contemporary society, Advances in Life Course Research, 24, 2015, p1 - 9 Journal Article, 2015 TARA - Full Text

Conlon, C., Timonen, V., Carney, G. and Scharf, T., Women (re-)negotiating care across family generations: Intersections of gender and socioeconomic status, Gender & Society, 28, (5), 2014, p729 - 751 Journal Article, 2014 TARA - Full Text

Conlon, C., Timonen, V., Scharf, T. and Carney, G., Consumption of care and intergenerational relations in the Irish context, Families, Relationships and Societies, 3, (1), 2014, p139 - 142(4) Journal Article, 2014 TARA - Full Text

Evangelia Rigaki creator/composer, Libretto: W.N. Herbert, Catherine Conlon, 'The Pregnant Box', Trinity College Dublin, Front Square, 2014, - Exhibition, 2014

Carney, G., Scharf, T., Timonen, V. and Conlon, C., 'Blessed are the young for they shall inherit the national debt': Solidarity between generations in the Irish crisis, Critical Social Policy, 34, 2014, p312 - 332 Journal Article, 2014 TARA - Full Text

Timonen, Virpi, Conlon, Catherine, Scharf, Thomas and Carney, Gemma, Family, state, class and solidarity: Re-conceptualising intergenerational solidarity through the Grounded Theory approach, European Journal of Ageing, 10, (3), 2013, p171 - 179 Journal Article, 2013 TARA - Full Text

Timonen, V., Scharf, T., Conlon, C. and Carney, G., Intergenerational solidarity and justice in Ireland: Towards a new national dialogue, Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 10, (3), 2012, p317 - 321 Journal Article, 2012

Carney, GM, Scharf, T, Timonen, V, Conlon, C, The Civic Culture of an Ageing State: Inferences from a Grounded Theory of Intergenerational Solidarity in Ireland, Gerontologist, 52, 2012, p143 - 143 Journal Article, 2012

Friel, S, Conlon, C, What is the extent of Food Poverty in Ireland, European Journal of Public Health, 13, (4), 2004, p133 - 140 Journal Article, 2004

Mahon, E, C.Conlon and L.Dillon , Women and Crisis Pregnancy in Ireland , Dublin , Dept of Health , 1998 Report, 1998

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Conlon, Catherine, Unplanned Pregnancy and Abortion Care (UnPAC) Study, Health Service Executive, Dublin, July, 2022, p1 - 298 Report, 2022 TARA - Full Text

Conlon, C, Supporting Parents Communicating with Children Aged 4-9 Years about Relationships, Sexuality and Growing Up, 27, Dublin, HSE, January, 2018, p1 - 112 Report, 2018 URL

O'Dare, CE, Timonen, V, Conlon, C, Forum Article Intergenerational Friendship: Challenging the Dominance of Age Homophily in Friendship, Ageing and Society, 2017, p1 - 16 Journal Article, 2017

The Fragility of Respectability of Lone Mothers in, editor(s)Quilty, A, Kennedy, S, Conlon, C , The Abortion Papers Ireland: Volume 2, Cork, Attic Press, 2015, pp228 - 243, [Conlon, C] Book Chapter, 2015

Scharf, T., Timonen, V., Conlon, C. and Carney, G., Changing Generations - Findings from new research on intergenerational relations in Ireland, Dublin and Galway, Trinity College Dublin and National University of Ireland Galway, April, 2013, 20 pp. Report, 2013 TARA - Full Text

Conlon, C, O'Connor, J and Ni Cathain, S, Attitudes to Fertility, Sexual Health and Motherhood amongst a Sample of Migrant Women Living in Ireland, Dublin, Crisis Pregnancy Agency, 2012 Report, 2012

Conlon, C, The situation concerning homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in Ireland: Sociological Country Report, Dublin, Publisher European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, March, 2009 Report, 2009

Walsh, J, Conlon, C, FitzPatrick, B, Hansson, U, Enabling Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Individuals to access their Rights under Equality Law, Belfast, The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland And The Equality Authority, November, 2007, p1 - 193 Report, 2007

Conlon, C, Concealed Pregnancy: A case-study approach from an Irish setting, Dublin, August, 2006, p1 - 204 Report, 2006 URL

Barry, U, Conlon, C, Murphy, S, National expert assessment of the gender perspective in the National Report on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006 - The Irish National Report, 2006 Working Paper, 2006 URL

Barry, U, Tiernan, S, Conlon, C, Work-Life Balance: The Irish National Report, 5, 2, Dublin, UCD School of Social Justice, March, 2005, p1 - 34 Report, 2005 URL

Conlon, C, Mixed Methods research of Crisis Pregnancy Counselling and Support Services, 12, Dublin, Crisis Pregnancy Agency , January, 2005, p1 - 126 Report, 2005

Friel, S, Conlon, C, Policy Response to Food Poverty in Ireland , Dublin, Saint Vincent dePaul, April, 2004, p1 - 154 Report, 2004

Barry, U, Conlon, C, O' Conor, J, "Making work pay" : debates from a gender perspective - the Irish national report, 2004 Working Paper, 2004 URL

Barry, U, Conlon, C, Gender equality perspective on Ireland's National Employment Action Plan 2004, 2004 Working Paper, 2004 URL

Parsons, S, O'Connor, J, Conlon, C, A Whole New World: a Feminist Model of Community and Lifelong Learning , Dublin, Women's Education Research and Resource Centre, 2004 Book, 2004

Friel, S, Conlon, C, Poster Topic: Social and Socio-Demographic Inequalities: What is the extent of food poverty in Ireland?, European Journal of Public Health, 13, 2003 Journal Article, 2003

Barry, U, Conlon, C, Murphy, S, Gender Impact Assessment , Dublin, Gender and Employment Research Network, 2000 Report, 2000

Conlon, C, Women- The Picture of Health: A Review of Research on Women's Health in Ireland, Dublin, The Women's Health Council, 1999, p1 - 88 Report, 1999

Mahon, E., Conlon C., Dillon L., Women and Crisis Pregnancy, Dublin, Stationery Office, 1998 Book, 1998

Research Expertise


My research focuses on the social politics of reproduction and stands out for advanced application of qualitative methodologies. I am the leading expert on understanding how regulating abortion shapes experiences of seeking and accessing abortion care which I am currently applying to advance the concept of reproductive citizenship. In 2022 I was awarded a HEA North-South Research Programme Project Award to apply my novel conceptualisation of Reproductive Citizenship empirically on a comparative all-Island basis. My articulation of reproductive citizenship earned me an invitation from University of Newcastle to join an international research consortium addressing the place of reproductive justice in the just transition. We are one of nine consortia shortlisted by the British Academy for three Global Convening Programme 2023 awards. My research is strongly impacting national reproductive health policy. The HSE commissioned me to study service user experiences of newly legalised abortion healthcare during 2019-2021 with findings informing service planning and implementation. The Department of Health designated this study the service user data strand informing the 2022 statutory review of legislation regulating abortion. In February 2022 I was appointed Expert Academic Advisor to the Independent Chair of the Review by the Department of Health. My research is generating a steep citations trajectory, high impact publications, competitive research awards, invitations to collaborate in international consortia, translation into policy and media and excellent potential. I have been awarded over €500,000 in grants since entering post in 2015 as well as a Provosts Project Award 2021. My outputs feature across top ranking social science and inter-disciplinary journals e.g., Qualitative Research (IF: 3.14), Qualitative Health Research (IF: 3.0) and Gender & Society (IF: 2.8), indicative of their broad intellectual scope and appeal. My citations are rising steeply: a 5-fold increase on Google Scholar citations between 2017 and 2022 brings my h-index to 14.


  • Title
    • Research with Parents
  • Summary
    • Commissioned by the Health Service Executive (HSE) Crisis Pregnancy Programme, this project explores how parents of children aged 4-9 communicate with their children regarding the body, relationships and sexuality. The project employs Constructivist Grounded Theory principles using focus group interviews in a project intended to inform the commissioning body in developing policies and initiatives promoting positive sexual health and well-being.
  • Funding Agency
    • Health Service Executive (HSE) Crisis Pregnancy Programme
  • Date From
    • December 2013
  • Date To
    • April 2015
  • Title
    • Changing Generations
  • Summary
    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow on Changing Generations research project. Atlantic Philanthropies funded inter-Institutional project involving Social Policy and Ageing Research Centre, School of Social Work and Social Policy, TCD (Prof Virpi Timonen (PI) and Dr Catherine Conlon) and Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway (Prof Tom Scharf (PI) and Dr Gemma Carney). The project explored intergenerational solidarity in Ireland through Constructivist Grounded Theory methods using 100 qualitative interviews with women and men aged 18-102. Prof Kathy Charmaz who pioneered the method was International Adviser to the project. I lead authored three of the six peer reviewed publications generated by this project to date.
  • Funding Agency
    • Atlantic Philanthropies
  • Date From
    • July 2011
  • Date To
    • July 2013


Awards and Honours

UCD Ad Astra Doctoral Research Scholarship 2006-2010

Crisis Pregnancy Agency Phd Scholarship 2007-2010


International Federation of Abortion and Contraception Professionals (FIAPAC) June 2022 – Ongoing

British Sociological Association 2005 – Ongoing

Sociological Association of Ireland 2005 – Ongoing