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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

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. 

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: Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship
  6. Details of related presentations/papers:

Bieri, Cordula (2016): Wo-wo-wonige. In: Wohnungspolitik und Jugendhilfe. Corax.
Fachmagazin fuer Kinder- und Jugendarbeit in Sachsen. (‘Wo-wo-wonige’ was the slogan
of the affordable housing movement)

Sengupta Samantha, Bieri Cordula (2016): Ressourcen als Schluessel - Erfahrungen
aus Projekten im Schulalter. In: Aspekte und Bausteine gelingender Elternzusammenarbeit im Kontext der Armutspraavention in der fruehen Kindheit. Bundesamt fuer Sozialversicherungen. Bern. (Resources as Key - Experiences from School Projects fostering successful Collaboration with Parents)

Bieri, Cordula; Gurny, Ruth; Tecklenburg Ueli (2015): Mehr Gerechtigkeit durch
das bedingungslose Grundeinkommen? In: Ruth Gurny, Beat Ringger, Ueli Tecklenburg
(Hrsg.) Wuerde, bedingungslos. Edition 8. Zuerich. (More Justice Through an Unconditional
Basic Income?)

Swietlik, Iwona; Bieri, Cordula (2013): Mehr als ein Dach ueber dem Kopf. In: Caritas
Schweiz (Hg.): Sozialalmanach 2014 - Unter einem Dach. Caritas-Verlag. Luzern. (More
than a Roof Over One’s Head)

Bieri, C. (2020) Asylum Seekers’ and Refugees’ Health and Well-Being during the Pandemic in Ireland: The Role of Integration and Housing Policy. Presented at the Health, Migration and Integration Symposium on 26th November 2020 organised by the Maastricht Graduate School
of Governance/UNU-MERIT and the Radboud University Network on Migrant
Inclusion (RUNOMI).

Bieri C. (2015) The Case for a Social Minimal Income. Presented at Caritas Zurich’s annual conference.

Bieri C. (2014) Why do we need Visions for Housing? Presented at Caritas Zurich’s annual conference.

Bieri C. (2013) Results of the Study on Housing with little Money in the Region of Zurich. Presented at Caritas Zurich’s annual conference.


[English translation of titles in italics]
Bieri, Cordula (2016): Armut grenzt aus. In: Caritas Zurich: Schein und Sein. (How Poverty leads to Social Exclusion)

Bieri, Cordula (2015): Plaedoyer fuer eine engagierte Armutspolitik. In: Caritas Zurich:
Leben am Existenzminimum - aus persoenlicher und sozialpolitischer Sicht. (The Case for
a Dedicated Policy on Poverty)

Bieri, Cordula (2014): Einfuehrung und Fazit. In: Caritas Zurich (Hg): Bezahlbar
wohnen - drei wohnpolitische Visionen. Zurich. (Introduction and conclusion of: Affordable
Housing - Three Visions for Housing Policy.)

Bieri, Cordula; Elmiger, Max (2013): Prekaere Wohnverhaeltnisse und ihre gesellschaftlichen
Folgen, in: Caritas Zurich (Hg.); Zu wenig Wohnung, Zurich: Caritas, S. 6–9. (Precarious
Housing and its Social Consequences)

Tom ConlonTom Conlon

  1. Supervisor: Dr Trevor Spratt
  2. Nationality: Irish
  3. Working title of PhD
      The Health-Related Quality of Life of Adolescents in Ireland with overweight/obesity from lower socioeconomic position
  4. Description of research: Contemporary research on the incidence of obesity among adolescents in Ireland suggests a widening social gradient with children from lower socioeconomic position experiencing higher levels of obesity than their more advantaged peers. Additionally, the research suggests that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) predict obesity risk among Irish adolescents. Community-based family interventions in the area of obesity in Ireland with adolescents from lower socioeconomic position have typically focused on energy intake and dietary imbalance. Thus, the main aim of policy and practice in this area has been to increase physical activity levels and reduce caloric intake, so as to reduce Body Mass Index. However, there have been no interventions in Ireland which have looked to engage with the mediating factors of ACEs-associated psychological distress when considering obesity. My hypothesis is that an intervention which addresses these psychosocial factors (whilst simultaneously addressing the diet/exercise issue) within a family context, will not only have a positive impact on the quality of life and longevity of participants but will also develop an awareness of the heritability and intergenerational transmission of obesity. My main aim is to improve the Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) of those involved in the intervention. The experimental design will look, via psychotherapy, to intervene in the area of current psychological distress (and possible trauma) associated with ACEs. My primary contribution will be to evaluate the impact of psychosocial factors such as stress and ACEs on obesity among the experimental group which is situated within lower socioeconomic position. Whilst the research data in Ireland suggests that policy measures may have arrested the growth of absolute levels of obesity in the population as a whole, there continues to be an increase in the social gradient of obesity. Thus, there are specific factors at work among people from lower socioeconomic position and this study hypothesizes that psychosocial factors are important variables to consider. This study will also consider the issue of intergenerational transmission and heritability of obesity. The research evidence shows that these phenomena are at significantly higher levels among people from a lower socioeconomic position. This study will look to contribute new thinking as to aetiology and rationale for these phenomena. This work will be situated within the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan; the concept of ‘habitus’ and analysis of social practices of Pierre Bourdieu; and Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis.
  5. Conference Presentations:

Association of Psychoanalysts and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists in Ireland. Member of Seminar Discussion Panel, ‘The Clinic of Excess’. (October 2020)

Association of Psychoanalysts and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists in Ireland. 2019 Annual Congress. Presented on the subject of ‘The contemporary clinical relevance of Freud’s concept of ‘Nachträglichkeit’’. Dublin, November 2019

11th Annual ‘Critical Voices’ Conference 2019. Member of team presenting on subject of  ‘Attending to the mental health aspects of Obesity/Binge Eating’. Cork, November 2019

Early and Mid-Career Researchers’ Seminar at University College Cork. ‘Positive mental health outcomes resulting from a Tri-Factor Health Programme.’ Cork, October 2019        

Association of Psychoanalysts and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists in Ireland. ‘Trauma and Obesity’. Dublin, September 2019

mary kennedyMary Kennedy

  1. Supervisor: Dr 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.
  5. Publications:
    Spratt, T. and Kennedy, M. (2020) Adverse Childhood Experiences: Developments in Trauma and Resilience Aware Services. The British Journal of Social Work, 0, pp. 1-19, DOI:
  6. Conferences, Presentations & Panel Participation
    • Kennedy, M. (Oct. 2020) The strength in differences between health and social care interpretations and implementations of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) evidence base. Oral Presentation at the Health and Care Research Wales Conference (Online). Event URL:
    • Kennedy, M. (October 2nd 2020). The importance of integrating the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) evidence base into mental health multi-disciplinary team practice. Oral Presentation at the 9th European Conference on Mental Health (Online). Event URL:
    • Kennedy, M. (Mar. 2020). What should social workers know about the ACEs evidence base? The good, the bad and the ugly. Oral Presentation at the Irish Association of Social Workers ACEs Associate Group, Academic and Practice Forum on Domestic Violence in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin. Event URL:
    • Kennedy, M. (Feb. 2020) Film & Panel Discussion on Resilience: The Biology of Stress and The Science of Hope. Panellist at the Irish Association of Social Workers event at the Richmond Education Centre, 1 Brunswick St N, Smithfield, Dublin. Event URL:
    • Kennedy, M. (Oct. 2019). How is Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) knowledge Informing Irish and International Service Provision? Oral Presentation at the Irish Association of Social Workers ACEs Associate Group, Let’s get practical about Adverse Childhood Experience Seminar. Event URL:

Sarah MaleSarah Male

  1. Supervisor:  Dr Julie Byrne
  2. Nationality:  American
  3. Working title of PhD:  Hospital Discharge Planning: How Professionals Collaborate in Team Structures to Coordinate a Patient’s Discharge Plan
  4. Description of research: Hospitals today are dependent upon the successful collaboration of multiple professionals to achieve the growing policy objective of integrated healthcare.  This integration requires the healthcare organization to collaborate within its own organizational boundaries, and for each professional within the organization to collaborate within their own professional boundaries.  Collaboration between multiple professionals, each of whom has been shaped by their own profession-specific frameworks, theories and goals, is clearly required in the work of the discharge planning team.  Hospitals in both Ireland and the United States are mandated to have written discharge planning polices and procedures and it is the responsibility of the discharge planning team to carry out these polices and procedures.  Implicit to the successful patient discharge is the ability of these multiple professionals to collaborate.  However, as the literature shows, though professionals may be co-located on the same team, their co-placement does not ensure effective collaboration.  In order to de-mystify the elements of successful collaboration, this qualitative study aims to identify how the professionals involved in hospital discharge planning collaborate through an embedded multiple-case study design, utilizing observation and semi-structured interviews.
  5. Funder of the research: 3rd year of this study was funded by the School of Social Work and Social Policy 1252 Studentship, Trinity College Dublin
  6. Publications and Presentations


Male, S & Bryne, J. (2019).  Book Review of The Psychology of Oppression by E.J.R. David & Annie O. Derthick, Groupwork Journal special issue on Political Oppress

“Education Social Workers for Multi-Disciplinary Hospital Discharge Planning,” presentation at the European Association of Schools of Social Work Conference, Madrid, Spain, June 4-7, 2019

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 Dublin: A qualitative study
  4. Description of research: Despite clear evidence of an increase in the number of migrants experiencing homelessness in Ireland, there is a paucity of research on this specific dimension of homelessness and the dynamics and drivers of migrant homelessness are, consequently, poorly understood. This study sets out to address a gap in knowledge through the conduct of an in-depth qualitative study of migrant homelessness in the Dublin region. A core focus of the research is the identification of experiences that impact migrants’ routes or journeys ‘into’, ‘through’ and ‘out of’ homelessness. The present study aims to trace the events and processes that ‘shape’ the homeless and housing trajectories of homeless migrants; and to identify facilitators and barriers to housing stability. Grounded in social constructivist epistemology, the research combines ethnography with the conduct of life history interviews. The research aims to generate a robust understanding of migrant homelessness that has the potential to bolster the development of policy and service provision aimed at more effectively responding to migrants who experience housing instability and homelessness.
  5. Funder of the research: Provost’s PhD Scholarship Award
  6. Details of related presentations/papers:

    Pericin I, Mansflied G, Larkin J, Collins C. Future career intentions of recent GP graduates in Ireland: a trend analysis study. BJGP Open 20 February 2018. DOI:

    Conferences and presentations
    ‘Diagnostic coding of chronic diseases in Irish general practice’ European General Practice Research Network, October 2018, Sarajevo.
    ‘A qualitative evaluation of a shared care card for patients with enduring mental illness’ European General Practice Research Network, May 2018, Lille.
    ‘Trend analysis of the career intentions of recent graduates of General Practice training in Ireland’ The Association of Departments of General Practice Ireland, March 2018, Galway.
    ‘Making Every Consultation Count, an evaluation of the PMS systems in Irish General Practice’ European General Practice Research Network, October 2017, Dublin.

    Reports and other publications
    Collins C, Pericin I, Larkin J. Making Every Consultation Count. Irish College of General Practitioners, 2019.
    Collins C, Larkin J, Pericin I, Health Service Executive. Promoting the Physical Health of Patients with Enduring Mental Illness. Irish College of General Practitioners, 2019.
    Collins C, Larkin J, Pericin I. Health Status of Syrian Refugees in Ireland. Irish College of General Practitioners, 2019.
    Larkin J, Pericin I, Collins C. Healthmail Evaluation Report. Irish College of General Practitioners, 2017.
    Mansfield G, Collins C, Pericin I, Larkin J, Foy F. Is the face of Irish general practice changing? A survey of GP trainees and recent GP graduates 2017. Irish College of General Practitioners, 2017.

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 Experiences 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 Professor Virpi Timonen
  2. Nationality: Hungarian/American
  3. Working title of PhD: Older people and their care during the Covid-19 pandemic: A Grounded Theory discourse analysis of official and public discourses.
  4. Description of research: Originally planning an interview-based study of intersecting inequalities in access to home care, Katharine has shifted focus in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has exposed long-standing structural weaknesses in the Irish health and social care systems and the governmental and societal response will have long-term consequences for Ireland’s approach to ageing and care for many years to come. To contribute to a better understanding of the evolving situation, Katharine is undertaking a Foucauldian discourse analysis of official and public texts in an effort to unpack social constructions of older people and their care in Ireland’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Her research investigates the power relations involved in decision-making related to the pandemic and older persons, the actors driving the discourse and the messaging they use, and importantly, the actors whose voice are not being heard. The study adopts Clarke’s Situational Analysis variant of Grounded Theory as its methodology and the analysis of discursive texts as its method—including official texts published by governmental bodies, articles published by major national news outlets, and publications by relevant civil society and private sector organisations.
  5. Funder of the research: 1252’ PhD Scholarship.
  6. Presentations and Publications


“Rights-based approach to care and support for older persons” Irish Hospice Foundation Seminar, April, 2019, Dublin.
“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. (2019) “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: This study is about young people who, as children, left their homes in Sub Saharan Africa without their parents or guardians, and made their way to France in search of a better future. Using a participatory action research (PAR) approach with critical underpinnings, the research supported 12 separated young people to participate in an investigation of their perspectives on, and experiences of, their lives in Northern France. The core aims of the study are to produce a detailed analysis and contextualised understanding of the experiences of the young people during the transition to adulthood.
  5. Funder of the Research: Irish Research Council under the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Programme.
  6. Details of related presentations/papers:

    • Stapleton, A. and Mayock, P. (working paper). Critical reflection as a tool to recognise and address power: A PAR study with separated young people.
    • Stapleton, A., Mecea, M. and Beqiri, L. (2016). The European Union’s Contributions to International Stability: The Role of Education and Study Mobilities, AI & SOCIETY Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Communication. 31(3).

    Most recent academic conferences related to PhD research include but are not limited:
    • Life in Europe: Exploring the factors shaping aged-out separated children’s transition to adulthood’ at a Trinity Research in Childhood Centre (TRiCC) PhD Seminar. TCD, Ireland. 12 March 2020.
    • Participatory Action Research with Separated Young People: Overcoming Dilemmas in the Field. CARN- ALARA 2019 Conference ‘Imagine Tomorrow: Practitioner Learning for the Future. Split, Croatia. 17-19 October 2019.
    • Participatory Action Research with Separated Young People: Overcoming Dilemmas in the Field. Children’s Research Network PhD Symposium 2019 ‘Doing Research for and with Children and Young People’. UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway. 28 August 2019.
    • Understanding the Lived Experiences of Separated Young People during the Transition to Adulthood in France, 9th International Annual Action. Research Colloquium UCD, Ireland. 28 June 2019.
    • Unaccompanied Minors: Policy and Practice in European countries. University of Lille. France. 27 June 2019.
    • Policy workshop sharing the perspectives of separated young people. Lost in Migration Conference, Missing Children in Europe. University of Valetta. Malta. 20-22 February 2019.
    • Participatory Action Research with Separated Young People: Ethical Dilemmas. 8th International Annual Action. Research Colloquium UCD, Ireland. 27 June 2018.

    Reports and other publications:
    • Daniels, C., Roche, G., Hamill, C., Kaster, F., Stapleton, A., and Van Ravenstein, H. (in press). Enabling Entrepreneurship for Young Refugees: A Practice Guide for Youth-Serving Entrepreneurship Organisations. Better Futures.
    • Stapleton, A. (in press). Final Report on Consultative Meeting: Supporting Young Refugees in Transition to Adulthood through Youth Work and Youth Policy. Council of Europe Youth Department.
    • Stapleton, A., Wilkinson, O. (2018). Learning Brief: Spiritual Support. Joint Learning Initiative and World Vision International.
    • Stapleton, A., Wilkinson, O. (2018). Learning Brief: Continuum of Protection for Children. Joint Learning Initiative and World Vision International.
    • Stapleton, A., Wilkinson, O. (2018). Learning Brief: The Role of Faith in Building Peaceful Societies and Combatting Xenophobia. Joint Learning Initiative and World Vision International.
    • Bodrozic, M., Kuzmits, V., Utenkova, Y. and Stapleton, A. (2017). Joint Resolution on Key Issues Concerning European Youth, Youth of European Nationalities: Durrës.
    • Kilic, C. and Stapleton, A. (2017). Participation and Citizenship: Young Refugees in Europe, LOGBOOK, European Network of Professional Open Youth Work Organisations (POYWE). Available at
    • Stapleton, A. and Bethea, B. (2013). I Am Not For Sale Final Report and Training Manual: A Campaign Aimed at Ending Human Trafficking. Ratiu Center for Democracy: Turda.

    • Associate Editor and reviewer with the AI and Society Journal since 2015.
    • Reviewer with the Educational Action Research Journal since 2019.

    • Laureate award winner of High Level Scientific Mobility Grant scheme as part of the Grants of the French Government.
    • French Government Medal and NUI Prize for Distinction on Dual Degrees, 2017.
    • European Commission Erasmus Mundus Masters Scholarship Award, University Lille III, 2012-2014.

calvin_swordsCalvin Swords

  1. Supervisor: Dr. Stan Houston  and 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: I
  5. 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.
  6. Funder of the research:
    i) i) Irish Research Council under the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Programme.
    Prior to this, Calvin was a recipient of the ‘1252’ Studentship.
  7. Details of related presentations/papers:
    i) Houston, S. & Swords, C., (In Press) Empowering Scapegoated Groups in Society: Critical Realism, Mimetic Theory and Social Work, Journal of Social Work.
    ii) 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:
    iii) Norton, M.J. and Swords, C. (2020), "Social recovery: a new interpretation to recovery-orientated services – a critical literature review", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 7-20.
    iv) Swords, C. & M.J. Norton. (2020) "Is Sharing Really Caring? A Vision or an Aspiration? Irelands New Mental Health Policy 2020", Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, First View, pp.1-2, DOI:
    v) Houston, S. & Swords, C. (2020) ‘Analysing a parent’s capacity to change: towards a model for child protection social workers’, Journal of Social Work Practice, DOI: 10.1080/02650533.2020.1769581
    vi) Swords, C. (2019). ‘Recovery and Co-Production: Understanding the Diverging Paradigms and Potential Implications for Social Workers’, Irish Social Worker. (This is available in hardcopy from the Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW). Otherwise, it is available through Lenus, the Health Service Executive (HSE) open access).
  8. Conferences:
    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”.
    Kirwan, G. & Swords, C. (2020) Stronger Together: Members’ Perspectives on the Benefits of the Troy Social Club. Troy Mental Health Association in assoc with the Centre for Rights, Recognition and Redistribution, MU, Kildare, Ireland.
  9. Reviews:
    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.

SineadWhiting Sinead Whiting

  1. Supervisor:     Professor Robbie Gilligan
  2. Nationality:    Irish
  3. Working title of PhD:  The Lived Experience of Young Adults who Experienced Stability and Permanence, either Legal or Relational, while Growing Up in Long-term Foster care
  4. Description of research:  A lack of stability and permanence for young people growing up in long-term out of home care is a common critique of child welfare systems. Legal permanence through the use of adoption gained some priority, however, increasingly relational permanence, defined as an enduring and supportive relationships, is seen as important (Perez,2017; McSherry et al,2016 & 2018). In Ireland many young people raised in long-term foster care continue living with their foster carers even after aging out of care. Only a small number are adopted, and adoption tends to occur in late teen years, by long-term foster carers. Thus, while adoption occurs infrequently, stability within foster placements appears common, leading to young people potentially experiencing either legal or relational permanence. This study will investigate the lived experience of permanence, both legal and relational, for young adults who grew up in long-term stable foster care. In-depth qualitative interviews with 20-25 young adults in their 20s who grew up in long-term foster care, will be used to investigate the lived experience of permanence, both relational and legal. I will use thematic analysis to uncover insights into the young adults’ identity development, transition out of care and transitions to adulthood, and the meanings they attach to relational or legal permanence. This is relevant within the context of shifting academic and practice debates about whether permanence should be understood in the context of legally binding relationships or less formalised relationships and the significance of legal status for care experienced young adults.
  5. Website:
  6. 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).

Ann SwiftAnn Swift

  1. Supervisor: Dr. Edurne Garcia Iriarte and Dr. Philip Curry
  2. Nationality: British
  3. Working title of PhD: Strategies for identifying childhood disability and their consequences for measuring child outcomes over time: a mixed-method, multiple-case analysis of national birth cohort studies
  4. Description of research: Research output drawing on data from longitudinal birth cohort studies has grown significantly over the past two decades. Questions around the prevalence and trajectory of childhood disabilities over time, and outcomes for children with disabilities, are amongst the varied issues which researchers have sought to explore with such data. However, child cohort studies are varied both in methodology and instrumentation, which in turn may influence the findings of research which draws on them. This proposed study will focus in particular on the options for disability definition and measurement in a subset of such studies. It will sensitivity test a variety of approaches through secondary research, to discern any possible patterns between these strategies and findings for outcomes of children with disabilities. Improved understanding of any possible relationships between measurement and outcomes can inform the choice of measures in future research.
  5. Funder of the research:
  6. Details of related presentations/papers:

Swift, A., Iriarte, E.G., Curry, P. et al. How Disability and Other Socio-Economic Factors Matter to Children’s Socio-Emotional Outcomes: Results from a Longitudinal Study Conducted in Ireland. Child Ind Res (2020).

Swift, A. (2019). Differences in Socio-Emotional Outcomes between Children with a Disability
and from a Migrant Background and their Typically Developing Peers. Growing Up in Ireland 11th Annual Research Conference, Dublin, Ireland.