Explore our Clearing places

Doctoral and post doctoral research

Staff in the Centre supervise 15 students who are undertaking research doctorates in a wide range of disciplines and interests, many of which are linked to workforce development, including the following:

  • Social work responses to child abuse (Sam Baeza)
  • Leadership in adult social care (Paul Temple)
  • Perceptions of child poverty (Sandra Lyndon)
  • Food Banks (Suzanna McGregor)
  • Patient Participation  in the NHS (Tom Thompson)
  • Resilience in team working (Chris Smethurst)
  • Practice supervision in palliative care (Marie Price)
  • Early years practitioner identities (Eva Mikuska and Nikki Fairchild)
  • Social Work Practice under Austerity (David Gaylard)
  • Leadership in Education (Andre Kurowski)
  • Social Work Practice and Dissonnace  (Jon Old)
  • ECEC -  emotional labour and professionalisation of the workforce (Eva Mikuska and Nikki Fairchild)
  • ECEC - posthuman and new material feminists articulations of gendered identity and subjectivity in the workforce (Nikki Fairchild)
  • Embodied emotionality, emotional labour in care work (Eva Mikuska)

Research is carried out using qualitative and quantitative methodologies rooted in theoretical approaches such as grounded theory, ethnography, post-humanism, feminist poststructuralist, narrative inquiry and critical race theory.  Our most developed research expertise is in the field of workforce development. In the early years Dr Nikki Fairchild leads this. 

Professor Janet McCray leads on, resilience, public sector workforce transformation and leadership. Kish Bhatti-Sinclair has focussed on developing the profiles of child sexual exploitation offenders and Chris Smethurst has published a book on Diversity, Difference and Dilemmas.

A vibrant research culture promotes researcher training and development events at pre and post-doctoral levels. The programme is led by Professor Janet McCray, and events take place throughout the academic year.

A Sample of  Workforce Development Doctoral Projects:

Contact us:

01243 816389

Thomas Thompson

Tom’s research explores the role of change agents by offering a theoretical and empirical perspective on patient participation in an NHS Trust’s Lean Service Improvement Programme (SIP).

He is building a new conceptual model of participation which can be utilised to embed patient participation in an NHS organizational change management programme.

Paul Temple

Paul’s study aims to capture the views of stakeholders in adult social care to investigate which features of current leadership and management practice are effective to meet the current and future complex challenges of delivering services in England.

Two key objectives are to:

(1) Critically assess the provision of leadership development and how that impacts on leading and managing service delivery.

(2) Critically evaluate how current leadership thinking is implemented and practised.

Sam Baeza

Sam’s research is concerned with how social workers work feel when working with families where there is an identified risk of sexual abuse by adult males.

His research question is ““What do Social Workers experience when working with families where sexual abuse is the primary factor?” 

The aims are to examine:

(1) What do social workers they feel about the adult male responsible/suspected of sexual abuse.

(2) How they deal with the emotions produced by the work

Jon Old

Jon’s research aims to critically explore the experience of social work practitioners who have experienced Cognitive Dissonance transitioning through their career and to investigate the techniques employed by social work practitioners to resolve dissonance and explore how these shape their social work practice as move through their career.

Marie Price

Marie’s study will  discover whether the provision of clinical supervision can provide adequate support for people working in palliative and end of life care settings and in turn provide enable the workers to provide adequate emotional care for the patients. 


(1) exploring the role that clinical supervision plays in providing a supportive environment for both those who are employed in palliative care settings and those who receive that care.

(2) Focussing particularly on whether the provision of supervision enables deeper and more fulfilling relationships to be formed.

Suzanna McGregor

Suzanna’s research is capturing the experiences and motives of volunteers who work in church-based food banks.

Volunteers are increasingly important members of the health and social care workforce and the outcome of the study will be a significant contribution to the body of knowledge in the field, which is currently under- researched.