Doctoral Fellows

Ph.D. Topic: The Stories of Single Mothers in Ireland

This research is interested in the stories and storied lives of single mothers in changing cultural contexts and the processes of social change in Ireland, in the context of persistent patriarchal discourses and government policy orientated towards two parent families.

The research takes a critical interpretative stance and is interested in the subjective narratives of single mothers. It utilises the Biographic Narrative Interpretive Method (BNIM) for data collection and analysis.

Ciara Bradley

Ph.D. Topic: Holding a Vision: An Investigation of a Rights-Based Social Supports Infrastructure for Children/Young Persons with an Intellectual Disability in Ireland (completed in May 2013).

The study seeks to develop a rights-based policy instrument for the enhancement of an integrated system of rights-based social supports for children and young people with an intellectual disability in Ireland. 

Michael Browne

Ph.D. Topic: International Comparative Research on the Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Mentoring Programme in Ireland and the Czech Republic

The research is a qualitative study that explores 'helping processes' in youth mentoring relationships based on case studies of mentors, children and parents. 

Community Education Officer
+353 (0)91 49 3110

Ph.D. Topic: Transformative Learning in Adult Education at NUI Galway

Helen Casey has been employed by NUI, Galway as Community Education Officer since 1997 and has many years experience designing, delivering and assessing accredited adult and community education courses.

Ph.D. Topic: ‘I’m not going to be able to leave’, the impact of belonging to the Irish farming community on university students’ life experiences and transitions to adulthood (completed in November 2013).

Anne Cassidy

Ph.D. Topic: Street-level implementation of an ambiguous policy: the case of parenting support in Ireland.

This thesis specifically examines the utility of the Jewell and Glaser (2006) Framework in examining the behaviour of family support workers (as street-level bureaucrats) when implementing an ambiguous policy in the west of Ireland.

+353 (0)91 49 2062

Ph.D. Topic: ‘People think it’s not the real world - but it’s our world’. The significance of relationships found on the threshold between the private and the public: Exploring engagement between mothers and early years practitioners in a changing Ireland (completed in November 2013).

Sheila Garrity

Ph.D. Topic: Life Foundations - An Exploration of School Readiness

This research intends to explore the perceptions of school readiness of children, caregivers and educators, understand reasons behind decisions relating to when to send children to school, and identify the children’s level of school readiness and factors that influence these levels. This exploratory research is a form of model building where school readiness as a relatively non-researched area in Ireland is given a preliminary mapping (Wengraf, 2001).

Máire Hanniffy
Community Education Officer
+353 (0)91495203

Ph.D. Topic: A Life course perspective: Life course learning for Adult Learners in Higher Education

Ph.D. Topic: Advocating and Setting Agendas: An Exploratory Study of NGO Advocacy Surrounding the Reception Conditions of Asylum Seeking Children and Families in Ireland and its Influence on Agenda Setting (completed in March 2013).

Louise Kinlen

Ph.D. Topic: Generational and cultural understanding of youth civic engagement, social support and resilience in Socialist and Post-socialist Slovenia (1980-2011)

Tanja Kovacic

Ph.D. Topic: Zambian Perspectives: A Participatory Contextualisation of Youth Civic Engagement (YCE) from both Youth and Adult Zambian Perspectives (completed in December 2012)

Contemporary youth civic engagement (YCE) debates generally lack youth voices; especially those from the southern hemisphere and girls. In Zambia this study utilised inter-relational and inter-generational deliberations to generate collective knowledge pertaining to YCE underpinned by resilience. Accordingly unique insights were acquired into how gender impacts upon participation in YCE.

Sheila McArdle
00353 (1)4428109

Ph.D. Topic: Interviews with children: An experimental comparison of methods (completed in November 2012).

Child-adult interviews are a prominent mode of research and practice in psychology. There is a considerable knowledge-base in forensic interviewing but less is known about interviews in other settings.

The aim of the present study was to compare child-adult interview methods. In a mixed-methods design, exploratory phases used qualitative interviews with practitioners to establish the context of practice.

Brian Merriman
00353 (0)91 495791

PhD Topic: How Adults Tell: Messages for Society and Policy Makers in relation to Adult Disclosures of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

+353 (0)91 4048/ 0857412711

Ph.D. Topic: How do children in Ireland experience and cope with the process of their parents’ separation and divorce and subsequent changed family life?

Anne O'Kelly

Ph.D. Topic: Exploring the social, emotional and behavioural well-being of children (7-11 years), and young people (12-17 years), in families where parental mental illness is a factor

Ph.D. Topic: Assessing Leadership in Interagency Work for Children

Increasingly, policy makers and service managers, planners and practitioners are encouraged, and often mandated, to work together to achieve better outcomes for children and young people (CFRC/CAWT, 2008). While interagency collaboration has its challenges, leadership is a critical factor in terms of engaging partnership members, and has a great impact on the developmental trajectory of interagency groups (Horwath and Morrison, 2007).

Jessica Ozan
+353 (0)91 49 5743 / +353 (0)873257162

Ph.D. Topic: The Experience of Imprisonment for Incarcerated Mothers and Their Children in Ireland.

Sinead joined the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre in October 2013 as a doctoral fellow under the supervision of Dr. Carmel Devaney. Sinead’s research is concerned with how motherhood is accommodated within the Irish Prison System. Sinead began her research in this area in October 2012.

Ph.D. Topic: Investigating the Growing Appeal of ‘Community’ and ‘Partnerships’ in Addressing Crime and Disorder

Crime and the fear of crime, especially when combined with economic disadvantage and a poor physical environment has considerable negative impacts on the health and well-being of many children and families.

John Reddy

Ph.D. Topic: An Explorative Study on the Connection between Leadership Skills, Resilience and Social Support among Youth (completed in December 2012)

Youth leadership has received growing attention both nationally and internationally as a way of preparing young people to contribute meaningfully to society. Similarly, concepts of resilience and social support have gained increasing interest as mechanisms of enabling youth cope with adversity and deal with challenges of everyday life. 

Sue Redmond

Ph.D. Topic: My Place: An International Study Exploring Children’s Narratives of ‘Culture’.

The importance of allowing children to identify, describe and define what ‘culture’ is to them, appears to be something that has been ignored in the academic literature on this subject. Definitions and descriptions of ‘culture’ have emanated from a vast array of professions including anthropology, social work, psychology and sociology.

Leanne Robins

Ph.D.s awarded

Michael Browne, 7th May 2013

Thesis title: Holding a Vision: An Investigation of a Rights-Based Social Supports Infrastructure for Children/Young Persons with an Intellectual Disability in Ireland.

Louise Kinlen, 6th March 2013

Thesis title: Advocating and Setting Agendas: An Exploratory Study of NGO Advocacy Surrounding the Reception Conditions of Asylum Seeking Children and Families in Ireland and its Influence on Agenda Setting.

Sheila McArdle, 13th December 2012

Thesis title: Zambian Perspectives: A Participatory Contextualisation of Youth Civic Engagement (YCE) from both Youth and Adult Zambian Perspectives.

Sue Redmond, 12th December 2012

Thesis title: An Explorative Study on the Connection between Leadership Skills, Resilience and Social Support among Youth.

Brian Merriman, 28th November 2012

Thesis title: Interviews with Children: An Experimental Comparison of Methods

Lisa O’Reilly, 5th June 2012

Thesis title: The Voice of Children in Social Work Assessments: What they say? Or what they play?

Carmel Devaney, 15th July 2011

Thesis title: Family Support as an Approach to Working with Children and Families in Ireland: An Explorative Study of Past and Present Perspectives Among Pioneers and Practitioners.

Cormac Forkan, 2nd July 2010

Thesis title: Building Evidence on How to Support Adolescents through a Comparative Tracking of their Perceived Social Support Outcomes.

Bernadine Brady, 17th December 2010

Thesis title: An Assessment of the Viability and Value of Youth Mentoring as a Policy Option in an Irish Context.

Connie O’Regan, 12th November 2010

Thesis title: Methodology and Evidence in Evaluation: Lessons from a Randomised Control Trial of a Youth Mentoring Programme in Ireland.