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Research Students

There are currently 25 PhD students in the School. Profiles of some of the students are given below.

Sarah AnglimSarah Anglim

  1. Supervisor: Dr Erna O’Connor
  2. Nationality: Irish
  3. Working title of PhD: Exploring the uptake of health promotion advice among head and neck cancer patients
  4. Description of research:  The purpose of this study is to explore and examine the behaviours associated the uptake of health promotion advice including alcohol and tobacco use following a head and neck cancer diagnosis. The research participants will have a head and neck cancer diagnosis linked to a history of tobacco and/or alcohol consumption. The research participants will narrate their cancer journeys. In facilitating this study, I hope to help healthcare workers to understand this patient group using their experiences of their head and neck cancer diagnosis and gain a greater understanding of this group’s health related behaviours following their diagnosis.
  5. Funder of the research: St Luke’s Hospital Cancer Research Fund

Cordula BieriCordula Bieri

1. Supervisor: Dr Paula Mayock
2. Nationality: Swiss
3. Working title of PhD: From Direct Provision to Housing: The Lived Experiences of Refugees in Ireland
4. Description of research: Existing research in Ireland and internationally has shown that the barriers of access to housing faced by refugees impede their integration into society, with direct consequences for their well-being, labour market participation and sense of belonging. Using a multiple case study approach, this research will examine refugees’ housing transitions upon exiting Ireland’s Direct Provision (DP) system. The research aims to recruit approximately 20 individuals who are actively searching for housing and who are either currently living in the DP system or accessing homelessness services. An additional 20 participants will have transitioned to independent housing during the past two years. The sampling strategy will aim to achieve diversity in terms of participants’ experience of living in DP (e.g. length of stay), gender and family composition. The research applies method triangulation – combining in-depth interviewing with the ethnographic ‘go-along’ interview – in order to gain a fuller understanding of refugees’ housing journeys. The overarching aim of this research is to advance knowledge and understanding of refugees’ transition from DP to housing. The research aims to contribute to scholarship in the fields of housing and migration studies and to inform the development of policies and interventions that facilitate refugees’ integration into the housing market and therefore into Irish society.
5. Funder of the research: School of Social Work and Social Policy 1252 Studentship, Trinity College Dublin.


Eavan Brady 

  • Supervisor: Prof Robbie Gilligan
  • Nationality: Irish
  • Working title of PhD: 'Educational trajectories of children and youth in care: An exploratory study'.
  • Description of the research: Considerable research points to the low educational attainment of children and youth who have spent time in care. In recent decades this issue has become of great concern internationally. Using qualitative, biographical methods, this research will explore the nature of educational trajectories of young adults who spent time in the care of the Irish state as children and youth. This research seeks to examine: 1) the progression of events in the lives of participants; and 2) connections and links between events and outcomes, in order to gain an understanding of participants' educational pathways. Research objectives relate to identifying key experiences over the life course that have affected participants' educational trajectories and exploring the existence of common or shared experiences among participants. It is expected that the findings of this research will inform policy and service provision with the intention of promoting the educational outcomes of children and youth in the care of the state.

    Eva Garcia Albarran

    1. Supervisor: Dr. Edurne Garcia Iriarte and Dr. Michael Feely
    2. Nationality: Spanish
    3. Working title of my PhD: 'Learning and experiences of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), in junior primary mainstream school in Ireland: A multiple case study'.
    4. Description of the research: In the last forty years, the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has dramatically increased worldwide from 1 in 158 to 1 in 68. Although recent reports have confirmed a steady improvement on the educational provision for children with ASD in the last 16 years, the review of the literature has shown a dearth of research in the educational outcomes of children with ASD in junior primary mainstream school. Understanding how and what these children learn in the early years of mainstream education could impact their future achievement and progress in mainstream school and society. Therefore, this multiple, embedded, child-centred case study research, aims to gain knowledge on a) how are children with ASD being accommodated in junior primary mainstream schools, b) how are teaching and learning strategies being put in place to promote and facilitate their learning and c) how are their educational outcomes emerging and measured. 

    Natalie Glynn

    1. Supervisor: Dr. Paula Mayock
    2. Nationality: American
    3. Working title of my PhD: A Qualitative Longitudinal Study of Leaving State Care in Ireland: Young People's Perspectives
    4. Description of the research: This research will investigate the intersection of the child welfare system and young people’s transitions to independence. In December 2015 legislation was passed that made the provision of aftercare plans an obligation for young people leaving care and eligible adults formerly in care. As an exploratory longitudinal qualitative research project, it seeks to empower young people who have lived in State care in Ireland to define their circumstances and experiences of leaving care in order to expand the knowledge base on how young people leaving care in Ireland navigate the transition to adulthood. This study’s findings are expected to advance understanding of the lives and experiences of young people post-care and have implications for how this transition is theorized and responded to in policy and practice.
    5. Funder for the research: Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship
    6. Details of related presentations/papers:

      Peer Reviewed Articles:
      Glynn, Natalie & Mayock, Paula. (2019). “I’ve changed so much within a year”: Care leavers' perspectives on the aftercare planning process, Child Care in Practice, 25:1, 79-98, DOI: 10.1080/13575279.2018.1521378

      Glynn, NR. 2017. Leaving Care in Ireland: A grounded theory investigation. The Future of Child and Family Welfare Policy, The EUSARF Academy, Groningen, Netherlands.
      Glynn, NR. 2017. Policy in Context: Irish Aftercare from an International Perspective. International Postgraduate Research Conference, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.
      Glynn, NR. 2017. Where to go? A qualitative longitudinal study of the transition out of State care in Ireland. Young People’s Transitions: Dimensions, Difficulties and Diversity, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

    Paula Harrison

    1. Supervisor: Dr. Stephanie Holt
    2. Nationality: Irish
    3. Working title of my PhD: 'Autism and the family: Parent-child relationships of typically developing children in this context'.
    4. Description of the research: When a child is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder it impacts every member of the family. For typically developing children, growing up with a disabled sibling will be stressful on a variety of practical, social and emotional levels as their needs may be overshadowed by the more pressing needs of their autistic sibling. While the experience of such siblings has been somewhat examined in international literature, their voices are noticeably sparse in dialogs around autism among researchers, parents, clinicians and educators. The central aim of this qualitative study is to explore the lived experience of siblings in this context and how this experience informs parent-child relationships.

    mary kennedyMary Kennedy

    Name:  Mary Kennedy

    1. SupervisorProfessor Trevor Spratt
    2. Nationality: Irish
    3. Working title of PhD: Using the ACE Survey to Inform Service Development in a Social Care Organisation: A Case Study
    4. Description of research: The purpose of this study is to examine routine administration of the Adverse Childhood Experience - International Questionnaire (ACE-IQ) by professionals working in Child and Family Centres across the Daughters of Charity Child and Family Service (DoCCFS).  The DoCCFS is a not for profit public service organisation operating in the greater Dublin region. The service works in partnership with Tusla Child and Family Agency to provide a variety of therapeutic supports to children and families (DoCCFS, 2019). In June 2018, the service decided to incorporate routine administration of the ACE-IQ as part of a broader collaborative research project with the Trinity Research in Childhood Centre (TRiCC) at Trinity College Dublin. The rationale for introducing routine administration of the ACE-IQ was not only to enable the service to examine the relationship between exposure to early life stress and later negative outcomes among service users (DoCCFS, 2018), but also for the organisation to better respond to the needs of its service user population. The collaborative DoCCFS/TRiCC research project has a quantitative research focus which involves the completion of the DoCCFS/TCD Family Centre Survey (a composite standardised instrument measuring child and parent wellbeing) with each service user, and the subsequent analysis and interpretation of this data (DoCCFS, 2018). The present study sets out to employ this quantitative data in tandem with a qualitative approach, to examine the introduction of routine ACE-IQ administration within a social care organisational setting.

    Melanie Labor 

    1. Supervisor: Prof Robbie Gilligan and Geraldine Foley (School of Medicine)
    2. Nationality: German
    3. Working title of my PhD: 'Filling the void: Young people's narratives as a gateway to a new  understanding of youth suicides - a case study in a disadvantaged community in Ireland'.
    4. Brief description of the research: Young people aged 15-29 represent the most populous age group worldwide and are universally most likely to take their own lives, especially those growing up in disadvantaged circumstances. Extensive literature, especially in psychology and psychiatry, focuses on suicide risk and prevention neglecting the understanding and meaning making of young people in relation to suicide. Young people are likely to experience the suicide of a peer most intensely as it involves dimensions of intention and planning. Coinciding with a sometimes uncertain and stressful transition from childhood to adulthood, such a critical moment is likely to be highly consequential for youth' conceptions of themselves, their relationships with each other and with their community, and for their life course shaped economic, cultural and social resources and personal qualities. This study aims to close a gap providing a new perspective on young people's understanding and experience of peer suicide in Ireland derived from youth narratives. Those personal stories have the potential to provide unique insights into a) how young people make sense of youth suicide and b) how youth suicide impacts on their lives within their community. This is done through in-depth interviews with 40 young people between the ages of 15-19 from a disadvantaged community in Dublin who have been directly or indirectly affected by a peer. Variations within the sample will include dimensions of gender, socio-economic circumstances and educational / professional background.
    5. Funder of the research: Irish Research Council.

    Courtney MarshCourtney Marsh

    1. Supervisor: Eoin O’Sullivan
    2. Nationality: American
    3. Working title of PhD: An Garda Síochána: Culture, challenges, and change
    4. Description of research: An Garda Síochána is an ever-present institution in Irish life. As such, public interest and scrutiny into what is being presented by the constant media coverage of what they are, and are not, doing is an expected and natural reaction. Although there is a significant amount of research done outside of Ireland on police organisational culture, there is only very limited research on the organisational culture of An Garda Síochána. This research aims to bridge that gap and gain a deeper understanding of the culture of An Garda Síochána. Ultimately, understanding the organisation’s culture, as well as their ability to change, will provide building blocks for future research on the Garda. Equally important is understanding where Ireland fits into a larger collection of international policing research. This qualitative thesis will employ thematic document analysis of Garda tribunal reports and policy documents to contribute to the field of Irish policing and organisational culture.
    5. Details of related presentations/papers:

    Peer Reviewed Publications

    Marsh, C. (2019). It’s a man’s world, try to convince the men otherwise: The role of women in Irish policing. Women & Criminal Justice, 29 (3), p. 148-162. DOI:10.1080/08974454.2019. 1577791


    • Marsh, C. (Nov. 2019). An Garda Síochána: A Thematic Analysis of Organisational Culture Past and Present. Paper presented atthe 2019 American Society of Criminology Conference, Criminology in the New Era: Confronting Injustice and Inequalities, San Francisco, CA.
    • Marsh, C. (Sept. 2019). When 'us vs. them' goes one step further: Double alienation in An Garda Siochána. Paper presented at the 19th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology, ConverGENT: Convergent roads, bridges and new pathways in criminology, Ghent, BE.
    • Marsh, C. (2018). An Garda Síochána: Culture, challenges, and change. Presentation at the Irish Postgraduate Research Conference, Dublin City University, IE.
    • Marsh, C. (2018). An Garda Síochána: Culture, challenges, and change. Poster presented at the All Ireland Conference, Queen’s University Belfast, UK.
    • Marsh, C. (2018). An Garda Síochána: Culture, challenges, and change. Poster presented at the Trinity International Research Conference, Dublin, IE.

    sobSiobhan O'Brien Green

    1. Supervisor: Professor Trevor Spratt
    2. Nationality: Irish
    3. Working title of my PhD: Factors associated with the disclosure of domestic violence and subsequent positive service utilisation during and after pregnancy.
    4. Description of the research: This qualitative study is interview women in Ireland who have experienced domestic violence during pregnancy (or pregnancies) and who have sought help and safety in order to determine key supports and enablers both individuals and professionals; structures; responses; and referrals which enhance and allow safety and help seeking. The study will allow a greater understanding of the process of help seeking and a more research based targeted screening and responding to disclosures, information provision and effective supports to be available in maternity, health and relevant services in Ireland.
    5. Funder of the research: School of Social Work and Social Policy
    6. Details of related presentations/papers:

      "An exploration of the processes involved when women chose to disclose they are experiencing domestic violence during pregnancy", presentation at the II European Conference on Domestic Violence, FPCEUP, University of Porto, Portugal. 8 September 2017.
      “Sexual Violence in the context of migration”, presentation at Sonas training for HSE staff on migrant women and gender based violence , Dublin, 23 June 2017
      “Organising Focus Groups: process and logistics” presentation at the 2nd Academic Seminar MAP-FGM, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting at the intersection of qualitative, quantitative and mixed method research – Experiences from Africa and Europe. Brussels, Belgium, 9 June 2017.
      “Gender based violence pre and post-migration for women and girls now living in Ireland”, panel presentation to the Oversight Group to the 2nd National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dublin, 15 September 2016.
      “Domestic violence and pregnancy”, training presentation at the National Return to Midwifery Practice Course, Centre for Midwifery Education, Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital, Dublin, 8 July 2016.

    Daneille OSullivan Daneille O'Sullivan

    1. Supervisor: Dr Paula Mayock
    2. Nationality: Irish
    3. Working title of my PhD:The Prison Experiences of Sexual Minority Women in Ireland
    4. Description of the research: Sexual minority prisoners have been reported to be particularly vulnerable within the context of imprisonment and warrant further research due to their continued absence from research, policy, and legislation within the Irish context. It has been suggested that sexual minority prisoners have unique needs in relation to healthcare access and can experience stigmatisation because of their perceived or disclosed sexual orientation.
      In Ireland, there is a dearth of knowledge and understanding in relation to the situations and needs of women who identify as lesbian or bisexual in prison. The proposed research aims to build on the limited body of scholarship that has examined the prison experiences of sexual minority prisoners, while making an innovative departure from the research which mostly focuses on the prison experiences of male sexual minority prisoners. Thus, it is anticipated that rich, nuanced data will be generated based on the findings of this research, and a knowledge base created that will enable a deeper understanding of a ‘hidden’ population in Ireland. This qualitative case-study, underpinned by a social constructionist epistemology will involve the conduct of in-depth interviews with both currently and formerly imprisoned women, who self-identify as lesbian or bisexual. The research will direct attention to the following key topics- healthcare, identity, safety, and resource needs of sexual minority women in prison in Ireland. 
    5. Funder of the research: Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship

    Sarah ParkerSarah Parker

    1. Supervisor: Dr Paula Mayock
    2. Nationality: Irish
    3. Working title of PhD: Understanding Patterns of Family Homelessness in the Dublin Region: A Mixed Methods Study
    4. Description of research:
    5. Mirroring trends in other European countries, families now represent an increasing proportion of the homeless population in Ireland, particularly in the capital where the housing crisis is most acute. The proposed research seeks to examine families’ trajectories through and out of homelessness services over time using a combination of administrative (statistical) data and primary (qualitative) data to ‘track’ families experiencing homelessness in the Dublin region. Analyses of administrative data will yield comprehensive information on the characteristics and socio-economic ‘profiles’ associated with distinct patterns of homelessness service use among families, including chronic (long-term), episodic (recurrent) and transitional (short-term). The subsequent qualitative phase will shed light on the observed statistical findings, and, importantly, will also provide the critical dimensions of context, process and lived reality to permit a nuanced understanding of the ways in which families navigate, and possibly exit, the homelessness service system over time. A primary goal is to generate in-depth knowledge of the structural, individual and contextual factor that shape families’ homelessness and housing transitions and produce robust research evidence that hopes to yield a better-informed analysis of the ways to address family homelessness from a service and policy perspective.
    6. Funder of the research: Irish Research Council
    7. Presentations/papers:


    Mayock, P. and Parker, S. (In Press) Young People Narrating the Experience of Homelessness and Home. In L. Moran, K. Reilly and B. Brady (Eds) Narrating Childhood and Youth Across Contexts: Knowledge, Environment, and Relationships. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Sheridan, S. and Parker, S. (In Press) International Experience of Homelessness: Ireland. In j. Bretherton and N. Pleace (Eds) The Routledge Handbook of Homelessness. London: Routledge.
    Mayock, P. and Parker, S. (In Press) The Dimensions of Homelessness: Youth. In j. Bretherton and N. Pleace (Eds) The Routledge Handbook of Homelessness. London: Routledge.
    Mayock, P. and Parker, S. (2019) Homeless young people ‘strategizing’ a route to housing stability: Service fatigue, exiting attempts and living ‘off grid’. Housing Studies. doi: 10.1080/02673037.2019.1612036 (impact factor: 1.8).
    Parker, S. and Mayock, P. (2019) “They’re always complicated but that’s the meaning of family in my eyes”: Homeless Youth Making Sense of ‘Family’ and Family Relationships. Journal of Family Issues, 40(4): 540-570 (Impact Factor: 1.6).
    Mayock, P. and Parker, S. (2017) Living in Limbo: Homeless Young People’s Paths to Housing. Dublin: Focus Ireland.
    Mayock, P., Sheridan, S. and Parker, S. (2015) It's just like we're going around in circles and going back to the same thing …’ The Dynamics of Women's Unresolved Homelessness. Housing Studies, Vol. 30(6): 877-900. (Impact Factor: 1.6)
    Mayock, P., Parker, S. and Sheridan, S. (2015) Women, Homelessness and Service Provision. Dublin: Simon Communities in Ireland.
    Mayock, P., Parker, S. and Sheridan, S. (2015) The Dynamics of Long-term Homelessness among Women in Ireland. Dublin:  Dublin Region Homeless Executive.
    Mayock, P., Parker, S. and Murphy, A. (2014) Young People, Homelessness and Housing Exclusion.Dublin:Focus Ireland, Dublin.
    Mayock, P., Parker, S. and Sheridan, S. (2013) Mapping Services for Homeless Women in Dublin. Dublin: Dublin Region Homeless Executive.
    Mayock, P., Sheridan, S. and Parker, S. (2012) Migrant Women and Homelessness: The Role of Gender-based Violence, European journal of Homelessness, Vol. 6(1): 59-82.

    Conference Papers
    Parker, S. (2019) Making Families Heard: How a Mixed Methods Approach Can Amplify the ‘voice’ of Families Experiencing Homelessness in Dublin. Presented at TRiCC’s Children Should be seen and Heard conference, 1st May, Trinity College Dublin: Dublin.
    Parker, S. and Mayock, P. (2018) Understanding Patterns of Family Homelessness: The Case for a Mixed Methods Approach. Presented at FEANTSA’s 13th European Research Conference, Budapest, 21st September.
    Parker, S. (2018) Can a Mixed Methods Approach help to Mitigate the ‘People Problem’ of Administrative Data for Evidence-based Policy Making? Poster Session Presented at The International Conference for Administrative Data Research, Belfast, 20th June.
    Parker, S. (2018) Making Sense of the Homelessness Crisis: Using a Mixed Methods Approach to Examine Patterns of Family Homelessness in the Dublin Region. Poster Session Presented at the Postgraduate Multidisciplinary Research Showcase, 13th March, Trinity College Dublin: Dublin.
    Mayock, P. and Parker, S. (2017) Living in Limbo: Homeless Young People’s Paths to Housing. Presented at Focus Ireland’s ‘Ending Youth Homelessness’ conference, Limerick, 15th September.
    Parker, S. and Mayock, P. (2017) Blocked Paths to Housing Stability: Implications for Housing Models and Options for Homeless Youth. Presented at FEANTSA’s 12th European Research Conference, Barcelona, 22nd September.
    Mayock, P. and Parker, S. (2015) Families and Homelessness: Casting the net to enhance understanding of patterns of inter- and intra-generational homelessness. Presented at FEANTSA’s 10th European Research Conference on Homelessness, Dublin, 25th September.
    Mayock, P. and Parker, S. (2014) Young People, Homelessness and Housing Exclusion: Exploring the Impact of the Economic Crisis in Ireland. Presented at FEANTSA’s 9th European Research Conference, Warsaw, 19th September.
    Mayock, P. and Parker, S. (2014) Women and Homelessness in Ireland: Service Use Patterns and Service Needs: Preliminary findings of the Simon Communities in Ireland Research on Women and Homelessness. Presented at ‘Home Truths: Women, Homelessness and Service Provision’, Dublin, 30th September.

    Ivana Pericin Ivana Pericin

    1. Supervisor: Dr Paula Mayock
    2. Nationality: Serbian/Irish
    3. Working title of PhD: Migrant Homelessness in Ireland: A longitudinal qualitative study
    4. Description of research:

    While research on homelessness has expanded significantly over the past decades, both in Ireland and internationally, only a relatively small number of studies have focused specifically on migrant homelessness and housing instability. A lack of reliable information on migrant homelessness hinders the development of policies and strategies that could potentially provide more effective responses to and prevent or reduce migrant homelessness. The present research aims to bridge a significant gap in knowledge and to provide a detailed understanding of migrant homelessness in Ireland. A core focus of the study is on the identification of factors and processes that impact migrants’ routes or journeys ‘into’, ‘through’, and ‘out of’ homelessness. The proposed research will examine the drivers and dynamics of migrant homelessness in Ireland over time. This will be achieved using a longitudinal qualitative approach that will integrate the conduct of in-depth interviews with ethnographic observation in a number of strategically chosen sites. The findings of the study are expected to assist service providers and policy makers in designing tailored and effective models of service provision for migrants who experience and/or who are at risk of homelessness and housing exclusion.

    1. Funder of the research: Provost’s PhD Scholarship Award
    2. Details of related presentations/papers

    Carla PetautschnigCarla Petautschnig

    1. Supervisor: Prof Virpi Timonen
    2. Nationality: Chilean
    3. Working title of my PhD: 'In search of the reflexive agency in the era of conditional welfare and activation policies: Life-projects of participants of Pathways to Work'
    4. Description of the research: The extent to which people and their choices are free, constrained, enabled, or conditioned is a matter of central debate in social theory. This research adopts the stance for the reflexive agency, for the notion of human beings who continuously re-design fallible life trajectories that are not, irredeemably, externally defined. In thinking and deliberating about one's trajectory, work is central; however, the experience of intermittent unemployment along with flexible and precarious jobs have become the new normal. Welfare systems for the unemployed have drastically shifted towards activation, conditionality and the imperative of "making work pay better than welfare”. The consolidation of welfare-to-work programmes creates a new range of constraints and enablements for the unemployed on welfare and seeking job, or working while remaining a welfare subject. While the political and economic aspects of activation policies have been extensively researched, less has been researched regarding the subjective experience of those required by these programmes. Based on qualitative interviews, this research seeks to understand the exercise of personal reflexivity among participants of Pathways to Work when planning life projects, particularly those assessed at medium and high risk of long-term unemployment.
    5. Funder of the research: School of Social Work and Social Policy
    6. Details of related presentations/papers:

      Petautschnig, C. (2017) Activation rationale unchallenged. Is there a place for the reflexive agency in the era of conditional welfare? Reflections from the Irish context. Presented at NordWel 9th International Summer School, Rome, 15th July.


    Bao RongBao Rong

    1. Supervisor: Prof Robbie Gilligan & Dr Catherine Conlon (co-supervisor)
    2. Nationality: Chinese
    3. Working title of my PhD: The lived experience of young migrant mothers in China
    4. Description of the research:

      There are around 245 million rural-to-urban migrants in China, among whom around 35% are female, and young women aged 20-29 are especially mobile (NBS, 2017). In recent years, many researchers have attempted to explore the life of young female workers or migrant mothers who leave their child behind in the rural homes to work in the cities. Young migrant mothers are rarely studied. These young girls come to the city by themselves, and become a mother shortly after arriving in the city. As rural migrants, they do not have access to many urban public services. Their transitions into motherhood can be especially overwhelming because they lack the resources and social capital as a young migrant and as a young mother. Therefore, this study will adopt a life course approach and aims to understand how their life is actually lived as a young woman, a migrant, and a mother.

    5. Details of related presentations/papers:
    1. “Return migrant children in China-A review of literature”
    2. The Lived Experineces of Youth Migration-Global Perspectives, May 2019, Dublin -
    3. This event was run by Professor Robbie Gilligan at the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin, in association with Trinity Research in Childhood Centre, Trinity International Development Initiative, and Trinity Research in Social Sciences.
    4. “The lived experience of young migrant mothers in China” - CRN PhD Symposium 2019, August 2019, Galway. This event was hosted by the Children’s Research Network and National University of Ireland Galway, in association with Trinity Research in Childhood Centre, Trinity College Dublin.

    Ryan TimTim Ryan

    1. Supervisor:  Professor Eoin O’Sullivan
    2. Nationality:  Irish
    3. Working title of PhD:  Land Policy Management in Ireland: The Case of the Kenny Report
    4. Description of research:  The research project will trace the origins of land management policy in Ireland in relation to residential housing.  It will analyse the report of the Committee on the Price of Building Land (the Kenny Report), both Majority and Minority reports, the long debates and discussions that followed in its aftermath and the reasons for its non-implementation.  It will also consider at some length the fall-out and its impact on residential housing to this day.  Research is mainly through National Archives, Dept. files and Oireachtas debates in additional to a wide range of interviews with relevant persons. 5
    5. Funder of the research: N/A 6.
    6. Details of related presentations/papers:  Two articles have been published in the Irish Independent and Irish Examiner (both have been published on the School’s website)

    schulmann_katharineKatharine Schulmann


    1. Supervisor: Prof Virpi Timonen
    2. Nationality: Hungarian/American
    3. Working title of PhD: A Grounded Theory Study of Older Persons’ Access to Home Care Services in Dublin, Ireland
    4. Description of research: Katharine is researching inequalities in access to home care for older adults in Dublin. She is particularly interested in the intersection of gender and socioeconomic status as barriers to and facilitators of care. In the context of the international discourse building around the human rights of older persons and the ongoing policy debate in Ireland on the introduction of a statutory entitlement to home care, she hopes to contribute to the field by drawing attention to the experiences of particularly vulnerable groups of older persons with care needs. The study takes a Grounded Theory approach and uses in-depth interviews with older women and men living in the greater Dublin area as its method.
    5. Funder of the research: Three-year ‘1252’ PhD Scholarship.
    6. Presentations and Publications

    “A human rights approach to long-term care & support for older persons: Developing a conceptual framework,” Knowledge for Ageing Society – Contextualising Ageing Conference, June 2018, Bratislava.
    “Beyond four walls: A community-based model of care and support for people with dementia living at home,” 27th Alzheimer Europe Conference, October 2017, Berlin.
    “Social innovation and long-term care in Europe: investigating its potential and highlighting limitations,” 2016 Social Policy Association (SPA) Conference, July 2016, Belfast.
    “How do care professionals define ‘good’ quality long-term care? Lessons from an Austrian explorative study,” International Long-term Care Policy Network (ILPN) Conference, September 2016, London.
    “Access to healthcare in Portugal in the aftermath of the financial crisis,” The European Network for Social Policy Analysis (ESPAnet) Conference, September 2015, Odense.

    Schulmann, K., Reichert, M. & Leichsenring, K. (forthcoming) “Social support and long-term care for older people: Potential for social innovation and active ageing.” In, Walker, A. (Ed.) The future of ageing in Europe: making an asset of longevity, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Schulmann, K., Ilinca, S., Rodrigues, R. (2018) “From disability rights towards a rights-based approach to long-term care for older people in Europe: Conceptual framework for a human rights-based approach to care and support for older individuals.” Vienna: European Centre.
    Schulmann, K., Ilinca, S., & Leichsenring, K. (2017) “Community care for people with dementia: A handbook for policymakers.” Vienna: European Centre.

    Schmidt, A.E., Ilinca, S., Schulmann, K., Rodrigues, R., Principi, A., Barbabella, F., Sowa, A. et al. (2016) “Fit for caring: factors associated with informal care provision by older caregivers with and without multimorbidity,” European Journal of Ageing, 13, 103-113.

    Leichsenring, K., Schulmann, K., Gasior, K. & Fuchs, M. (2015) “Good care from the perspective of care professionals – Conditions, objectives and perspectives for quality improvement in long-term care”. Study commissioned by the Vienna Chamber of Labour. Vienna: Vienna Chamber of Labour.

    Rodrigues, R., Schulmann, K., Schmidt, A., Kalavrezou, N., Matsaganis, M. (2013) “The indirect costs of LTC, Research Note 8/2013.” Report commissioned by the European Commission Social Situation Monitor. Brussels: EC.

    Gillian Smith

    1. Supervisor: Prof Eoin O'Sullivan
    2. Nationality: Irish
    3. Working title of my PhD: 'Accelerated Ageing in Prison? Comparing health and wellbeing outcomes in older people in prison with older people in the community'.
    4. Description of the research: The over fifty age group are the fastest growing cohort within committals to prison in Ireland. Little is known about the health of older prisoners in Ireland, and how their needs differ to younger prisoners or older people in the community. Existing international research suggest prisoners experience ‘accelerated ageing’, though evidence is mixed. This research will attempt to determine if there is evidence of ‘accelerated ageing’ in older prisoners in Ireland, by comparing self-reported health and well-being of older prisoners to older people living in the community. Findings from The Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing (TILDA), a large scale study of over 8000 people aged over fifty, will be used as the control group.
    5. Funder of the research: School of Social Work and Social Policy Studentship, Trinity College Dublin.
    6. Publications

      Smith, G. (2014) ‘Older Prisoners in Ireland:  Policy Implications of a Growing Cohort’. Paper presented at the Irish Gerontological Society’s 62nd Annual and Scientific Meeting in Galway, 2014.  Irish Journal of Medical Science 183(Supplement 7): S302. Abstract available here.

    amy stapleton Amy Stapleton

    1. Supervisor: Dr Paula Mayock
    2. Nationality: Irish
    3. Working title of my PhD: Aging Out: The Experiences of Separated Children’s Transition to Adulthood
    4. Description of the research: There is an urgent need to gain a deeper understanding of the issues faced by displaced people in Europe. Children living outside of their origin country who have been separated from their parents or legal/customary caregiver and have turned eighteen, referred to as aged-out separated children, are among the most vulnerable of the diasporas. They confront significant challenges as they transition to adulthood due, for example, to a lack of family support and their distinctly limited access to state support. It is imperative, when developing policy and attempting to resolve an issue as pressing as child displacement in Europe, that the contexts and concerns of those most acutely affected inform our approaches. Despite this, there is a distinct lack of research on aged-out separated children and their experiences are rarely considered. To tackle the challenging social problem of displaced people and to shape effective policies and interventions, it is vital to understand the lives and situations of those affected. This research aims to give ‘voice’ to aged-out separated children, to examine their experiences and to identify the challenges they face through the conduct of comparative cross-national Participatory Action Research in Ireland and France. This data will be complemented by interviews with key informants, including service providers, state agencies and non-governmental organisations in each country. Cross-national comparative research challenges local assumptions on the differences and similarities between nations, raises awareness of the need to situate analyses within the wider sociopolitical context and helps researchers to see issues from new perspectives and find innovative solutions. By examining the experiences of aged-out separated children in two European welfare states, and critically analysing policy and service provision, this research will contribute to scholarship in the field of migration studies and to the development of policy that can better serve the needs of aged-out separated children.
    5. Funder of the Research: Irish Research Council under the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Programme.

    calvin_swordsCalvin Swords

    1. Supervisor: Dr. Stan Houston & Dr. Trevor Spratt 
    2. Nationality: Irish
    3. Working title of PhD: ‘An exploration of how the concept of recovery in mental health is socially constructed and how it impacts on the delivery of mental health services – an Irish case study’
    4. Description of research: In recent times, mental health recovery has shifted away from a conceptualisation which is solely focused on the idea of returning to what is deemed ‘normal’ from a biological perspective. Instead, the focus is now on a holistic perspective to mental illness and recovery. More specifically, it is about personal recovery – supporting someone to regain what they have lost and live the best life that they can following illness. However, what is seen in the literature is a paucity regarding the impact of the subjective experience of service users, professionals, family members and policy influencers regarding this recovery approach. There has not been a focus on the impact of how individuals socially construct their reality in relation to the concept of recovery. This can potentially have a significant impact on the outcomes associated with national frameworks for service improvement and delivery. Language, discourse and power all play a role in how people view and interpret their social world. This research seeks to provide a new and potentially key reason for why this shift has so far been largely unsuccessful, and the need to consider the impact of social constructionism when transforming mental health services and systems towards this new understanding of recovery as a personalised journey.
    5. Funder of the research:1st year of the study was funded by the School of Social Work and Social Policy 1252 Studentship, Trinity College Dublin.
    6. Details of related presentations/papers:


    1. Swords, C. (2020). ‘Recovery and Co-Production: Understanding the Diverging Paradigms and Potential Implications for Social Workers’. (This is available in hardcopy from the Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW). Otherwise, it will be made available in 6 months’ time through Lenus, the Health Service Executive (HSE) open access)
    2. Swords, Calvin and Houston, Stan (2020) "Exploring the Concept of Recovery in Irish Mental Health Services: A Case Study of Perspectives within an Inter-Professional Team," Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies: Vol. 20: Iss. 1, Article 4.
      Available at:
    3. Houston, Stan & Swords, C. (2020) “Analysing a Parent's Capacity to Change: Towards a Model for Child Protection Social Workers”, Journal of Social Work Practice. (Accepted, awaiting publication).

    All Ireland Social Work Conference 14th June 2019 (Peer Reviewed)Presentation on proposed research for doctorate, “An exploration of the social construction of the concept of recovery in mental health and how this may impact on the delivery of services – an Irish case study”.

    1. Kirwan, G. & Swords, C. (2019) The Troy Club: A Study of Members’ Views on the Benefits of Club Membership (unpublished report - To explore to what extent the social club supports members mental health recovery journey).

    1. One of the peer-reviewers for the journal ‘Groupwork’ which is a fully refereed interdisciplinary journal dedicated to promoting work with groups where interpersonal perspectives are of special interest.

    Qi Wang

    1. Supervisor: Prof Virpi Timonen
    2. Nationality: Chinese
    3. Working title of PhD: The Pension Reform and the Transitions from Employment to Retirement in Postmodern China
    4. Description of the research: Hailing from an imitation of the Soviet pension system, the pension scheme has experienced great changes over the decades after the foundation of PRC. Despite the achievements in the coverage and integration of pensions, the pension system in China is still in the transition process. The future direction of the pension reform is still to be identified. The existing research mainly focused on the pension systems and pension reforms in China from a macro and financial perspective. However, the opinions of the individuals on pensions are largely ignored. There have been some studies on the ideas, feelings, and oppositions on pension reforms in the Western context. These studies can provide some experiences to this research programme combined with the discussion in the context of China. Through conducting research on the opinions on the pension reform and expectations on the transitions from employment to retirement, this programme will identify the gap between the demands of the individuals and the current pension systems which are a product of the policy makers.
    5. Funder of the research: School of Social Work and Social Policy

    SineadWhiting Sinead Whiting

    1. Supervisor:     Professor Robbie Gilligan
    2. Nationality:    Irish
    3. Working title of PhD:   The Lived Experience of Young Adults who were adopted as Older Teenagers by their Long-Term foster Carers.
    4. Description of research:  Adoption is a common feature of many western child welfare systems. It gained priority in the context of research suggesting that permanency, as offered through adoption, provides greater stability than foster care. This in turn leads to a better sense of well-being for young people growing up in out-of-home care.
      Adoption is not common within the Irish child welfare system. Between 2012 and 2018 there were 131 children adopted from foster care in Ireland.  72 of these young people were aged 17 years at the time of their adoption. Therefore, in the Irish context, young people adopted from foster care are usually in their late teenage years. Moreover, they are typically adopted by the long-term foster carers with whom they have lived most of their lives.  For such a group adoption makes little practical difference to their day-to-day living circumstances. Their long-term foster placements have been stable, and adoption occurs as they are due to exit care and gain legal independence. Potentially, permanency and stability are not significant factors.
      Through in-depth qualitative interviews, my study into the lived experiences of young adults who were adopted as older teenagers from within long-term stable placements, will investigate what difference, if any, beyond permanency, being adopted makes.  Thematic analysis will be used to identify common themes. In addition, the lenses of ‘Youth Transitions’ and ‘Recognition’ will be applied, adding an additional layer of analysis and allowing for deeper insights into the issues.    This study will contribute to understanding about the lived experience of late adoption from foster care. This insight is lacking from current research debates regarding adoption from foster care.
    5. Details of related presentations/papers:

    “Insider research: The Ethical Issues of being a researcher Close to you own Practice” : 14th June 2019: Oral Presentation at All Ireland Social Work research Conference
    “Late Adoption from Long-Term care: What Difference does Adoption Make in early Adulthood?”:3rd May 2019: Poster Presentation at Trinity Research in Childhood centre research Showcase.
    The Transition from care to Adoption” :October 2018: Poster Presentation at EUSARF Conference in Porto.
    The Lived Experience of Young Adults Adopted Late by their own Long-Term Foster Carers”: July 2018: Poster Presentation at International SWSD (Social Work Education and Social Development Conference).