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Dr. Catherine Conlon
Assistant Professor, Social Studies


I am Director of the BA Sociology and Social Policy and PI of the Unplanned Pregnancy and Abortion Care Study (UnPAC) at the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin.

My research focuses on the social politics of reproduction and sexuality which has generated high impact publications including lead authored articles in Gender & Society and Qualitative Research. My research areas include abortion and crisis pregnancy, sexual socialisation and inter-generational relations. My current research is a study of women's experiences of using unplanned pregnancy supports and abortion care services in Ireland since legalisation of abortion in January 2019, funded by Irish Government's Health Service Executive Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme.

My research agenda displays methodological innovation and scholarly excellence and my publications span both substantive areas and methodological papers in high impact journals and edited collections. My commitment to trans disciplinary and creative research practices saw me join the Creative Arts Practice Research Theme Steering Group in TCD and a collaboration with Prof Evangelia Rigaki in the School of Music to translate material from my PhD research concerning women concealing pregnancy into an Opera Performance The Pregnant Box (Conlon and Rigaki, 2014) for Trinity College Dublin Discover Research Night 2014.

I am a member of the Organising Committee of the annual Irish International Narrative Studies Conference and hosted the conference in TCD in May 2019 as part of the Irish Narrative Studies Group in collaboration with colleagues from NUI Maynooth, Dublin City University and IT Sligo. I serve on the Board of the Centre for Gender, Feminisms and Sexualities at University College Dublin

I teach across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and supervise Masters and PhD students. I teach in both mediums of classroom and online education on substantive subject areas and research methodologies. Core module curricula I have designed and taught include: Introduction to Social Policy; Principles of Social Policy [online]; Families and Society; Ageing and Intergenerational Relations; Research Design and Research Methodologies for Practitioners.

My research has featured in both national and international print media including the Irish Times, The London Independent and Le Monde. I have been interviewed about my research on current affairs news programmes including RTE's Morning Ireland and the Pat Kenny Show and Newstalk's The Right Hook. I have featured on TV current affairs programmes including RTE's PrimeTime and Virgin Media's Ireland AM.

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

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quilty, A, Kennedy, S and Conlon, C, Abortion Papers Ireland Vol II, Cork, Attic/Cork University Press, 2015 Book, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research Expertise


My research interests encompass: women's fertile bodies; sexual and reproductive health policy and inter-generational relations. My current research project focuses on women's experiences of seeking pregnancy support and abortion care since the introduction of legislation providing for abortion services in Ireland in January 2019. This follows on from research I carried out with Irish women attending abortion services in England in 2004-6 and 1996-8. Together the data generated across these projects constitute a unique and highly valuable data-set capturing women's experiences of seeking abortion care on a transnational basis and within the state. A recently completed project explored parents accounts of talking with their young children (aged 4-9) about sexuality, the body and growing up. This focus on 'sexual socialisation' from parent's perspectives continues my interest in sexual subjectivity, discourses of heterosexuality and sexuality and reproduction as practice. My research inquiries are undertaken under conditions of on-going interrogation of ontological, epistemological and methodological concerns raised by post-structuralist, post-humanist and post-qualitative perspectives. This involves a social research inquiry praxis interrogating what constitutes as knowledge for social science/policy as well as what constitutes as data-for-knowledge. These inquiries generated an interest for me in Research Creation and collaborations with arts practitioners including Dr Evangelia Rigaki, TCD School of Music and film-maker AnneMaree Barry to explore productive modes of trans disciplinary inquiry. My collabortion with Evangelia led to the development of the Opera performance 'The Pregnant Box' as part of TCD's Discover Research Night in 2014. The translation represents an embodied materializing of data that instantised and made visible the inquiry as an affective intervention where the audience is brought into an entangled web of being, meaning and sound that de-centers all subjects.


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


Awards and Honours

UCD Ad Astra Doctoral Research Scholarship 2006-2010

Crisis Pregnancy Agency Phd Scholarship 2007-2010


Sociological Association of Ireland

British Sociological Association