FACULTY OF EDUCATION, HEALTH AND WELLBEING PhD Opportunities
ABOUT PhDS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WOLVERHAMPTON At the University of Wolverhampton, the aim of our research programmes is to give each student the most solid base possible to launch further research and career development. We endeavour to provide you with relevant and appropriate research skills development and methods training, as well as support your development of research related skills including IT, presentation and career planning. You can undertake a research degree in prescribed fields of study and disciplines in which the University has appropriate and relevant research expertise and resources to support high-quality research degree programmes.
To receive your degree, you must satisfy a team of specially-appointed examiners that both your thesis and oral defence have achieved the learning outcomes appropriate to the award sought.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS Applicants for a research degree will normally hold: • a first or upper second class honours degree, or • a Master’s degree, or • evidence of prior practice or learning that is accepted by the Dean of Research Applicants whose entry award was not delivered in English, or non-native speakers of English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English to the level of an overall IELTS score of 7.0
FACULTY OVERVIEW It’s an exciting time to be in the innovative and enterprising areas of education, health and wellbeing. The Faculty supports over 450 research-engaged academic staff, as well as over 30 dedicated research staff, including Professors, Readers and Research Fellows. Our teams are at the forefront of research and practice in their subjects and make a direct impact in many ways. We have over 240 doctoral students, many of whom are studying for a Professional Doctorate and making a direct impact in their workplaces.
SAMPLE PHD RESEARCH PROJECTS The rest of this booklet contains a list of sample PhD research projects that are available now for applicants in the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing. These are sample projects for guidance, for applicants who wish to research in these particular areas. We are happy to receive new proposals, specific to the research interests of applicants.
HOW TO APPLY If you wish to be considered for PhD research in any of these areas, please indicate this as part of your initial application to us. You can make your application online. Visit: wlv.ac.uk/study-here/how-toapply/3---making-your-application/ research-applications/. Please complete an Expression of Interest, and note which project you wish to engage. Alternatively the Expression of Interest can also be used for any proposed area for MPhil or PhD research.
FACULTY OF EDUCATION, HEA AND WELLBEING
FACULTY OF EDUCATION, HEALTH AND WELLBEING: Positive risk taking online amongst people with intellectual disabilities
Promoting communication with people with profound and multiple learning disabilities
Emotions and dieting behaviour
Partner preferences and entitlement in online dating
Develop and testing interventions for impact
Student Journey: Physical activity interventions to help students achieve success and happiness
Sport through the ages: Developing intervention to develop positive beliefs among the ageing
Can we eat and exercise ourselves happy?
Employment and workforce development
Sport performance: Doing the same for less â€“ ways to manage fatigue
Education and Social Justice
The Student Journey
Understanding inspirational leadership in elite Paralympic sport
Internet information and help-seeking for medical care for cancer
Pregnancy and inflammatory bowel disease
Printed information or Online information after cancer diagnosis: preference of cancer patients and when different types of information should be provided
Social Welfare Services and Communities: Accessing and Sharing Information
Analysing the treatment of informal carers by state care policies
Social Welfare Practitioners Framing of Violence against Women and Girls
Experience Centred Narratives and Domestic Violence
Discourse, Identity and Praxis in Social Work
The Future of Social Welfare Work
The Impact of Robotic and Automation Technologies (RATs) on Social Welfare
From Daniel Mendoza to Caitlyn Jenner: The Historical Development of Sporting Autobiographies
Learning, life stages and the voluntary sector
Perceptions of preparedness for practice of newly qualified teachers in the West Midlands
Teachers’ resilience: why some last in the profession and some don’t
How good are schools in the West Midlands?
How schools survive and thrive in a fragmented education system
CROSS-FACULTY PROJECTS: FACULTIES OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, AND EDUCATION, HEALTH AND WELLBEING: Gendered interests and career choices in Science and Engineering
POSITIVE RISK TAKING ONLINE AMONGST PEOPLE WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES The online world has become a fundamental aspect of human existence. However for some groups barriers to accessing the online world remain. People with intellectual disabilities are one of the main groups experience this digital divide. Alongside many potential benefits of being online, including increased opportunity for building and maintaining relationships and friendships, there exist numerous risks associated with being online. These risks include contact risk (e.g. Being groomed or scammed online), content risks (e.g. Exposure to extremely violent or coercive information) and conduct risks (e.g. Online bullying, trolling). The extent to which people with intellectual disabilities experience the risks and the role risks play in promoting digital exclusion is not well understood. Evidence suggests that experiencing online risk can support resilience and development of skills to manage online risks in the future. But this has yet to be fully studied in those with intellectual disabilities and many questions around online risk experience remain unanswered. To what extent are risks experienced? What role does risk play in digital exclusion? How is risk managed and negotiated between people with intellectual disabilities and those who provide them with support? What are the psychological impacts of experiencing online risk? Can an intervention be developed to support positive risk taking online for both people with intellectual disabilities and those providing the win support? The proposed PhD will explore some of these questions around online risk in people with intellectual disabilities to add to the existing literature. Possible supervisor: Dr. Darren Chadwick (Reader in Applied Psychology)
PROMOTING COMMUNICATION WITH PEOPLE WITH PROFOUND AND MULTIPLE LEARNING DISABILITIES People with profound and multiple learning disabilities are one of the most disadvantaged and overlooked groups within society. Diagnosis necessitates existence of profound cognitive impairment (IQ<20) and additional impairments (e.g. Sensory, physical). The communication of people with a diagnosis of Profound
and multiple learning disabilities is often at a very early developmental level and it is often challenging for family members and those providing support to discern their needs and preferences. A number of interventions exist for assessing and promoting communication with this group, including the use of intensive interaction, objects of reference and micro-switch technologies. However, despite extensive use of these interventions in practice, the evidence base for their use is not well formed. The effects they have on the quality of interactions, determining preferences and the development of communicative competence in people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their communication partners is not well understood. The proposed PhD will involve developing knowledge of one of these communicative interventions and evaluating its utility in promoting and supporting communication in order to contribute to the existing evidence base. Possible supervisor: Dr. Darren Chadwick (Reader in Applied Psychology)
EMOTIONS AND DIETING BEHAVIOUR It is well documented that individuals often struggle to follow a diet in the long-term, and that relapse into patterns of overeating is commonplace. Restraint Theory suggests a cyclic association between dieting and obesity in which dieting contributes to obesity through bringing about disordered eating behaviours, such as binge eating (Polivy & Herman, 1985). In seeking to understand the dieting-obesity cycle, it was suggested that following perceived diet violation (e.g., eating a forbidden food), restrained eaters abandon their diet and overeat – so called counterregulatory eating (Mills & Palandra, 2008). This overeating has been termed the “what-the-hell-effect” (Herman & Mack, 1975). We warmly welcome applications that seek to look at this area – particularly research examining why restrained eaters overeat after a diet violation, and what causes them to abandon their diets. Whilst there has been much research into the relationship between emotions and restrained eating, much of the research assesses the effects of experimentally induced emotions and their effects on intake (Canetti, Bachar, & Berry, 2002; Johnson & Wardle, 2005; Kubiak et al., 2008; Svaldi et al., 2012). Furthermore, much of the research is concentrated on unpleasant emotions (Macht, 2008). We are interested to hear from potential applicants who would like to better understand the influence of emotions as they occur ecologically, and their influence on dieting behaviour in restrained eaters. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s78Q7LGoPbo&t=74s Possible supervisors: Wendy Nicholls with Tracey Devonport as co-supervisor
PARTNER PREFERENCES AND ENTITLEMENT IN ONLINE DATING Online dating is becoming an increasingly popular way for individuals to meet potential partners; however the dynamics of communicating with other singletons in the online world are quite different from meeting in more traditional face-to-face contexts. For example, we have the ability to more precisely manipulate our presentation of self online through carefully selecting desirable photographs for optimal self-presentation. Although online daters may not be inclined to intentionally deceive others, particularly if they anticipate making a serious connection with someone offline, they may stretch the truth or accentuate their positive attributes to attract the attention of other daters. Although there has been an abundance of research which has examined the ways in which online daters manage the impressions of others and some of the characteristics (e.g. personality traits) which may predict this tendency, research has yet to fully consider how seeking partners online may feed into self-evaluations and oneâ€™s sense of entitlement. For example, might the potential to present a more positive image of the self alter and possibly skew the perceptions one has regarding success in the dating pool? Moreover, might this affect the types of partners one seeks to pursue, for example in terms of their qualities, attributes and characteristics? Furthermore, might the act of looking for love online lead to more positive evaluations (e.g. in terms of self-esteem) about the self? The proposed PhD project aims to fill these current gaps in the literature by exploring some of these questions. Possible supervisor: Dr Chris Fullwood (Reader in Cyberpsychology)
DEVELOP AND TESTING INTERVENTIONS FOR IMPACT A dominant theme in the Research Centre for Sport, Exercise, Performance (RCSEP) is to help in the pursuit of goals. We are interested in testing how useful interventions are, (do they work) and if they can be rolled out to a wider population (will people use them). We are flexible in the goals people wish to pursue. This can be to run a personal best in marathon, score goals in soccer, win combat sport competition, or for a health-related goal such as adhering to an exerciserelated programme. A PhD will involve testing existing intervention, develop new ones, and developing new and innovative methods. The work will be grounded in applied experiences and will aim at producing materials for usage by athletes and coaches. It will also aim to develop innovative ways to disseminate findings such
as infograms, podcasts, films. Please see examples of previous work as a guide. We developed an intervention (http://www.bbc.co.uk/labuk/experiments/ can-you-compete-under-pressure), published the findings from the intervention (http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00413/full) and produced guidelines for practice (http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zwr2mnb) Possible supervisor: Andy Lane
STUDENT JOURNEY: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTERVENTIONS TO HELP STUDENTS ACHIEVE SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS Beliefs about self can have an important role in the health and actions of an individual. Self-beliefs are influenced by interactions with others. Going to university has an important effect on health and well-being and can offer lifelong opportunities. However, late adolescence, particularly among males is a period of extreme risk of poor mental health. Developing coping skills to build positive responses to difficult situations coupled with interventions that help develop self-esteem, creating a positive self-awareness could have lifelong benefits. This project examines health and well-being among students and how self-beliefs develop in response to relationships with others. It will examine the extent to which participation in competitive sport, physical activity for health benefits, and striving to achieve academic grades contribute to develop a sense of self. Key variables with include an examination of emotional state in others and self, strategies to manage oneâ€™s own and other emotions, and perceptions of success. The present study will develop and test interventions that help people experience positive emotions and focus on strategies to self-regulate emotions and regulate emotions of other. Possible supervisor: Professor Andy Lane A.M.Lane2@wlv.ac.uk
SPORT THROUGH THE AGES: DEVELOPING INTERVENTION TO DEVELOP POSITIVE BELIEFS AMONG THE AGEING Physical activity is associated with positive changes in physical and mental health. Positive emotions are often reported immediately after exercising, and a general sense of improved mood is a feature of people who regularly exercise. Positive emotions from exercise are linked to experiencing a sense of satisfaction that comes from goal achievement. One factual feature of the ageing process is that physical performance deteriorates. If ageing associates with decrements in performance, then exercising can produce negative feedback about performance, or each time an individual exercises, he/she runs slower than previously or lifts less weights, does not experience positive emotions, and mood is not positively affected. Over time, this can reduce motivation, and reduce the potentially positive effects of exercise. The present PhD programme of study will test interventions designed to help an ageing population develop positive beliefs about exercise. It will test multiple different interventions, explore beliefs and experiences of participants and develop new interventions based on evidence. Testing interventions will need to use rigorous and robust methods with appropriate controls being highlighted as a limitation in applied research (see our work with UKActive and with Public Health England). Possible supervisor: Professor Andy Lane A.M.Lane2@wlv.ac.uk
CAN WE EAT AND EXERCISE OURSELVES HAPPY? A challenge for exercise and diet based interventions is that many people accept that they should exercise more often and eat healthily, but few manage to successfully act on good intentions to exercise or eat healthily. Recent research has argued that non-conscious priming could be an effective strategy to help people act on their good intentions. When people experience environments with cues that encourage following conflicting goals, pursuing their good intentions is difficult. For example, when faced with an option to eat a biscuit in a setting where everyone is eating biscuits, it is easier comply and eat a biscuit and comply with the seemingly shared goal than say â€˜no thank-youâ€™. The present PhD programme will develop and test interventions to help people act on their good intentions. It will test multiple different interventions. Interventions will be contextualised into appropriate settings where individuals typically fail to act on good intentions and will explore beliefs and use this knowledge to revise and develop further interventions based on evidence. Possible supervisor: Professor Andy Lane A.M.Lane2@wlv.ac.uk
EMPLOYMENT AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Emotional control and being able to develop positive working relationship is arguably a key employable skill. People need to make decisions under pressure or present a calm exterior and support colleagues and do so when their emotional state is experiencing intense anxiety. The ability to regulate emotions and be flexible in your use of emotional skills is an important skill. People with good emotion regulation skills can identify how they would like to feel, what feelings are needed to achieve goals and be able to get themselves into that emotional state. Recognising that your work could suffer as a consequence of your emotional state is important. Emotion regulation has relevance to social and team settings and the ability to improve the emotions of others can be highly valuable to the achievement of personal, and importantly an organisationâ€™s goals. The present PhD looks at how playing sport helps develop emotion regulation skills and how emotion regulation skills can transfer from sport to be a key employable skill. Possible supervisor: Professor Andy Lane A.M.Lane2@wlv.ac.uk
SPORT PERFORMANCE: DOING THE SAME FOR LESS â€“ WAYS TO MANAGE FATIGUE The ability to perform optimally in the later stages of competition typically involves managing sensations of fatigue. There are large differences in how people respond to the same physiological symptoms of fatigue; some people will use this information and reduce the intensity of physical activity, whilst others will seek to ignore fatigue and maintain an intense performance. One option to managing fatigue is to alter concentration and maintaining or enhancing efficiency (doing the same for less). The present PhD programme of study will look at strategies to help athletes improve their capacity to manage fatigue. The PhD will be intervention led. The work will develop contextually appropriate interventions via a detailed exploration of situational cues, physiological analysis, and beliefs, emotions and attitudes around fatigue. Possible supervisor: Professor Andy Lane A.M.Lane2@wlv.ac.uk
EDUCATION AND SOCIAL JUSTICE Wolverhampton has a strong commitment to social justice; “opportunities which target the economic and social needs of the areas in which we operate”. Education is a key driver to increase social mobility and address issues of social justice. Research in this field, from Early Years to Higher Education has focussed on gender, race, disability and class, for example, to highlight patterns of engagement and progression in education. Widening participation and lifelong learning are key mechanisms to encourage more people to benefit from University study. In the “Black Country” research suggests that an extra nearly 90,000 people would have to be educated to degree level to bring this region up to the national average for young people attending university. We welcome applications that seek to contribute to this field in a variety of different ways: aspiration raising, engagement, removing barriers to HE, social mobility, progression, supporting diversity, to name but a few. This phenomenon is not confined to this region, we especially welcome applications across the education spectrum, both nationally and internationally. Possible supervisor: David W Thompson
THE STUDENT JOURNEY The ability of students to maximise their understanding from feedback provided by staff is a key feature of effective learning. ‘Why did I get this grade?’ is a common question asked (or considered) by students, especially if the grade is unexpected. It is also a source of potential stress where misunderstanding and ambiguity arise from feedback. In particular, understanding why a piece of work is awarded a specific grade and ensuring this understanding is shared between learner and assessor is vital to an effective learning environment. This project will adopt an ‘attribution theory’ approach to identifying features of shared ‘explanation making’ and seek to develop and test interventions to reduce attribution incongruence and incompatibility between assessor and learner. Attributions are key ingredients in motivation and emotion development, and hence have the potential to significantly impact student progress and happiness. This interpersonal approach will seek to assist both assessors clarify key features of feedback and learners make better sense of the feedback they are provided within a collaborative learning space. Possible supervisor: Dr Chris Sellars firstname.lastname@example.org
UNDERSTANDING INSPIRATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN ELITE PARALYMPIC SPORT Leadership is a pervasive psychological factor affecting the effective performance of all areas of group sport (and other) activity. The study of leadership has in recent years moved from intrapersonal to interpersonal approaches and one developing approach is the study of ‘inspirational leadership’. Paralympic sport in general, and leadership within Paralympic sport in particular, is much under-researched. Therefore we are interested in examining the processes by which ‘inspirational’ Paralympic leaders (e.g. coach, captain) exert their influence and how this impacts on athletes involved in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic cycle. The PhD will focus on ‘inspirational’ leadership within elite Paralympic sport and will use qualitative methods (interviews, observations and visual methods – e.g., auto-photography) to examine this in real time, and over time. The research will be grounded in the experiences of leaders and those they lead and will aim to produce recommendations for application by leaders within the wider Paralympic community. It will also aim to disseminate these findings via the publication of research paper(s) and at conferences (e.g. UK Paralympic sport science and sport medicine). Possible supervisors: Dr Mel Best & Dr Chris Sellars
INTERNET INFORMATION AND HELP-SEEKING FOR MEDICAL CARE FOR CANCER In a recent evaluation of internet information on breast symptoms1, we observed messages: “Not all lumps are cancerous - they may be benign cysts or overgrowth of tissue” “A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous” “Pain is more often a symptom of a non-cancerous (benign) condition” “If it is mobile, it is not cancerous” “...benign .... fibroadenoma” “...in the armpit, it has spread to lymph nodes...” The extent to which these messages are promoting early presentation for breast cancer is not known.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer searched online2 and “breast cancer symptoms” is the most searched breast cancer topic in the UK, followed by “breast cancer care”, “breast cancer stage”, “breast cancer survival”3. Breast cancer specific websites (CRUK, Cancerbackup, Cancer Black Care, Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care) contained quality and complete information on risk factors, screening, treatments and complementary therapies, and psychological issues4. Despite being the most searchable topic, quality of breast symptoms information has not been examined. Lump, the most common breast cancer symptom, is the first symptom presented by 90% of women. Although symptom knowledge, particularly breast lump, has improved5, not all women seek medical attention immediately upon a discovery. Late presentation of breast symptom leads to advanced cancer and poor survival6. There is evidence that patients delayed help-seeking after reading online information for breast cancer7. Using a mixed-methods, translational, study design, this project aims to: (1) systematically review and evaluate the quality of online breast symptoms information (2) examine pattern, type and extent to which online breast symptom information influences help seeking for medical care (a cross-section online survey) (3) qualitatively explore association between internet information and presentation with breast cancer survivors (4) develop and pilot a breast symptoms website to promote early presentation Possible supervisors: Dr. Jennifer NW Lim; Dr. Ian Lahart (TBC) References: 1. Lim JNW, Muoneme C (2015) A review of breast cancer symptoms and breast self- examination information on the internet 2. McHugh SM, Corrigan M, Morney N, Skeikh A et al. (2011) A quantitative assessment of changing trends in internet usage for cancer information, World Journal Surgery; 35 (2): 253-7 3. Quinn EM, Corrigan MA, McHugh SM, Murphy D, et al. (2012) Breast cancer information on the internet: Analysis of accessibility and accuracy, The Breast; 21:514-517 4. Ream E, Blows E, Scanlon K, Richardson A. et al. (2009) An investigation of the quality of breast cancer information provided on the internet by voluntary organisations in Great Britain, Patient Education and Counselling; 76:10-15 5. Walter et al, 2011 6. Richards et al, 2009 7. Lim JNW, Potrata B, Aw TC, Taib NAB, Hartman M. and the UK-SEA-ME network. (2015) The psychosocialcultural factors influencing presentation for medical care upon breast symptom discovery: a comparative analysis between Singapore and Malaysia (submitted)
PREGNANCY AND INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic illness that usually affects patients in their childbearing years. High rates of voluntary childlessness or having fewer children have been reported among IBD populations. Further, IBD is associated with poor maternal and infant outcomes. Students interested in studying for a PhD are offered in a series of innovative and interdisciplinary research pathways that explores how disease activity and psychosocial factors impact on pregnancy and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The successful candidate(s) will work under a multi-disciplinary supervisory team including Psychologist (Dr Satvinder Purewal, Department of Psychology, University of Wolverhampton) and Gastroenterologists (incl Professor Matthew Brookes, University of Wolverhampton and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust). The minimum entry requirement is 2:1 in psychology, medicine or a related discipline. For further information, please get in touch with Dr. Purewal (email@example.com) and Prof. Brookes (Matthew.Brookes@nhs.net).
PRINTED INFORMATION OR ONLINE INFORMATION AFTER CANCER DIAGNOSIS: PREFERENCE OF CANCER PATIENTS AND WHEN DIFFERENT TYPES OF INFORMATION SHOULD BE PROVIDED Patients are currently receiving printed information of the disease and treatment from health professional after a cancer diagnosis. Some patients have reported that they did not read the printed information but instead searched for the information from the internet. Patients who are familiar with the internet and of younger age, have said that they prefer to seek information from the internet of their condition and treatment information. Some patients have also reported that they were given huge amount of information which they were too distressed to read after a cancer diagnosis. This project will (1) Systematically review the area (2) investigate clinical practice in communicating information to patients after a diagnosis of cancer in secondary care (3) examine patient preferences for printed or online and when such information should be provided (4) examine the types of information to be provided at what particular time after diagnosis Possible supervisor: Dr. Jennifer Lim
SOCIAL WELFARE SERVICES AND COMMUNITIES: ACCESSING AND SHARING INFORMATION Accessing cultural knowledge from BAME communities for Social Welfare services is a major issue (Partridge, 2013). Likewise, these communities have difficulties in accessing information from such services (Yeung et al, 2015). The aim of this study is to explore and gain an understanding of these problems and how such issues that create barriers to informing the development of services and sharing of information can be resolved. Of particular interest are social welfare services who work with Chinese communities outside of China and those communitiesâ€™ experiences of accessing information and active with vulnerable groups of people. A qualitative research design will be adopted to gain an understanding of the issues and barriers both services and communities experience. It is anticipated that the impact of such a study will aid co-production between services and communities and inform both policy and practice. Possible supervisor: Dr Martin Partridge
ANALYSING THE TREATMENT OF INFORMAL CARERS BY STATE CARE POLICIES Many adults with long-term care needs rely on the care and support of family and friends to enable them to live independently within the community. Providing care to loved ones can be a positive experience for many people, however it can also place carers at risk of experiencing financial poverty and welfare loss, including poor health, injuries and time poverty. The aim of this study is to analyse the extent to which states recognise the risks that informal carers face as social risks and seek to protect them from those risks via policies and various forms of statutory support. A qualitative, comparative research methodology would be used to gather data to ascertain which cash benefits, social care support and employment support are available to address the risks faced by different types of informal carers and the selected group of adults whom they care for. The specific service user group and national context of the project can be determined according to studentsâ€™ interests. For example the focus of the project could be on analysing the treatment of informal carers and the selected group of adults they care for in England following on from the implementation of the Care Act 2014. Alternatively other national case studies could be selected and potentially compared. Possible supervisor: Dr Fiona Morgan
SOCIAL WELFARE PRACTITIONERS FRAMING OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS Domestic Violence is a serious problem, and social welfare practitioners play a vital role in preventing, identifying and supporting victims of domestic violence. The aims of this study are to identify and examine the discourses and frames of domestic violence used by trainee and qualified practitioners from across a mixed economy of social welfare. Of particular interest are practitionersâ€™ knowledge and understanding of the range of forms of violence against women and girls and how practitioners see their own roles in the process of preventing and responding to violence against women and girls. An intensive research design, adopting a critical discourse analysis approach will contribute to discussions on the actual and potential role of social welfare practitioners for the prevention and response to Violence against Women and Girls and the implications for future training, policy and practice. Possible supervisor: Dr Angela Morgan
EXPERIENCE CENTRED NARRATIVES AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE This study aims to explore the narratives of women survivors of abusive relationships with a particular emphasis on exploring what discourses help women to remain outside of these. Experience-centred narrative is a research methodology which assumes that when any story is told, it becomes part of the social actorsâ€™ consciousness. Thus it can be considered as a transformative methodology and can be aligned with feminist theory. In adopting a socio-cultural methodology, this study will aim to explore what are the discourses of successful survival of domestic violence as well as how these discourses are deployed over others. Possible supervisor: Dr Karen Roscoe
DISCOURSE, IDENTITY AND PRAXIS IN SOCIAL WORK The aim of this proposed qualitative study is to explore the identity of student social workers during their professional socialisation with practice contexts and education. Drawing on critical discourse analytic methods, this study will adopt a longitudinal and case study design to explore how discourses of students are adopted, transformed and acted upon in practice as they begin to mediate policy objectives. In adopting a historical, cultural and political analysis of discourse in social work, this study will explore how the changing landscape and its ideology impacts upon the subject (student social worker). Possible supervisor: Dr Karen Roscoe
THE FUTURE OF SOCIAL WELFARE WORK The aim of this proposed study is to identify and explore key drivers of change and claims regarding the future of social welfare work. Of special interest are the questions regarding claims being made regarding the probable, possible and preferable nature and role of social welfare work. Several key drivers of change are expected to affect demands on social welfare and the nature and structure of the social welfare workforce. These trends and drivers include demographic and societal change, uncertain economic context, shifts in political and social attitudes and technological advances and increasing globalisation. It is anticipated that these changes will have a fundamental impact on the demand for, capacity of and delivery of social welfare services. A critical realist approach will be taken to identify the conditions anticipated challenges of meeting social welfare needs and the implications this has for training, education and workforce development. Possible supervisor: Dr Stuart Connor
THE IMPACT OF ROBOTIC AND AUTOMATION TECHNOLOGIES (RATS) ON SOCIAL WELFARE Developments in the sophistication of robotics and artificial intelligence have meant that technology has now entered a realm once thought to be the exclusive domain of humans. Similar to previous industrial revolutions, new technologies present a number of opportunities and challenges. The aim of this study is to review and inform how institutions from across a mixed economy of social welfare are anticipating the potential social impact of RATs. Particular attention is to be paid to identifying the nature and scale of the impact of RATs on social, political and economic relations, the awareness and orientation of policy makers to the potential risks and benefits of RATs, and what policies and practices could and should be developed to mitigate the risks and realise opportunities. Possible supervisor: Dr Stuart Connor
FROM DANIEL MENDOZA TO CAITLYN JENNER: THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF SPORTING AUTOBIOGRAPHIES Sporting autobiographies pre-date modern codified sport. Though Daniel Mendoza stood only 5 feet seven inches and weighed 160 pounds, he was boxing champion of England 1792-1795. Of Portugese descent, Daniel Mendoza was the first Jewish-English champion boxer and the first to be presented to a reigning monarch. Often considered to be a key figure in the historic development of the scientific approach to training and fight craft, Mendoza authored The Art of Boxing, a coaching manual, and an important autobiography The Memoirs of the Life of Daniel Mendoza. Part self-branding and part inspirational in its narrative, the autobiography has since become a staple of the sports personsâ€™ career from youth to late work. Caitlyn Jenner released her autobiography at the age of sixty-seven in 2017, detailing how her experiences of gender dysphoria shaped her life. As Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn won a gold medal in the decathlon in the 1976 Olympic Games in a new world record for the decathlon, with 8,176 points. After announcing a gender transition in 2015, Caitlyn has subsequently become a campaigner for the LGBT community, although controversially Conservative politically. We warmly welcome applications â€“ particularly in respect to aspects of biography and autobiography, popular culture, and sport-related careers. Researching at the University of Wolverhampton would offer a unique opportunity for a comparative study of how the texts discuss gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation and to extend theoretical / analytical models to international examples. Research can be archival, theoretical/historical and include close textual analysis. We offer support for the dissemination of your research, via conferences, blogs and social media, and help with publication writing and developing a strong online profile for yourself and your work. Possible supervisor: Jean Williams
LEARNING, LIFE STAGES AND THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR Voluntary organisations offer rich opportunities for learning, critical action and reflection. The research will explore differences at various life stages in the motivations, experiences of learning, and uses made of the learning by adult participants in voluntary sector organisations. It will explore factors affecting these learning experiences, deriving from organisational arrangements, gender, race, class, disability and other issues of inclusion. The research could use qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods. Possible supervisors: Alan Tuckett and Peter Lavender
PERCEPTIONS OF PREPAREDNESS FOR PRACTICE OF NEWLY QUALIFIED TEACHERS IN THE WEST MIDLANDS At present, England has a diversity of routes into teaching, be this through an undergraduate degree with qualified teacher status, a postgraduate certificate in education, school-centred initial teaching training programmes, School Direct or Teach First, most of which have existed for a relatively short period of time. The aim of this project is to discern and examine the extent to which new teachers emerging from these diverse routes are felt by themselves, by more experienced teachers and by their school’s management to be adequately prepared for practice. It will be up to you, working with your supervisors, to define and delineate your research, its locus and its methodology. You might, for example, wish to do a case study within a single school, provided of course that there are teachers there who have qualified through different routes. You might wish to conduct a mixed-methods enquiry and recruit participants by a snowball method. Or, indeed, you may wish to approach the issue by some other means. The decision, with your supervisors’ advice and guidance, will be up to you. Possible Supervisor: David Matheson
TEACHERS’ RESILIENCE: WHY SOME LAST IN THE PROFESSION AND SOME DON’T In July 2017, the Guardian cited government figures which showed that three-quarters of the teachers who qualified after 2011 had left the profession. The aim of this project is try to discern and examine the factors which determine whether teachers leave or remain in the profession. It will be up to you, working with your supervisors,
to define and delineate your research, its locus and its methodology. You might, for example, wish to do a case study within a single school, examining the professional longevity of the teachers and seeing if there are common factors cited by them as to how and why they have remained as teachers while also considering the reasons for others leaving the profession. You might wish to conduct a mixedmethods enquiry and recruit participants by a snowball method. Or, indeed, you may wish to approach the issue by some other means. The decision, with your supervisors’ advice and guidance, will be up to you. Possible Supervisor: David Matheson
HOW GOOD ARE SCHOOLS IN THE WEST MIDLANDS? Government data indicates that schools in the West Midlands on the whole perform less well than schools in other parts of England on a range of measures. Recent Ofsted annual reports have claimed there is a North-South divide in school performance, particularly in secondary schools. This research project explores where schools in the West Midlands stand in all this. You will ideally use mixed methods to explore a) the extent these characterisations can be trusted; b) the effects of such criticism on the lived experiences of students and staff in West Midlands schools; and c) different conceptualisations of what it means to be a ‘good’ school. We will work with you as a supervisory team to develop a research approach which enables you to explore these issues critically and in depth. Possible Supervisor: Michael Jopling
HOW SCHOOLS SURVIVE AND THRIVE IN A FRAGMENTED EDUCATION SYSTEM Since 2010 the school system in England has become increasingly fragmented through the introduction of new structures such as multi-academy trusts, teaching school alliances, free schools and studio schools. This research project gives you the opportunity to examine in detail the impact and implications of these changes, their effects on students and staff in schools and the strategies schools use to survive, work together and/or thrive in an education landscape characterized by perpetual change and increasing fragmentation. We will work with you as a supervisory team to devise a research approach which enables you to explore these issues in depth. Possible Supervisor: Michael Jopling
FACULTIES OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING, AND EDUCATION, HEALTH AND WELLBEING: GENDERED INTERESTS AND CAREER CHOICES IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING This project will investigate young people’s gendered interest and decisions about University study and careers in Science and Engineering by analysing quantitative and qualitative data from 15 and 16 year old pupils and teachers in a diverse sample of schools in the West Midlands and Yorkshire. Research questions • How does gender influence young people’s interest and decision to study science and engineering? • How might gender interact with ethnicity in the generation of science capital and young people’s decisions to study science and engineering at University? • To what extent schools reproduce persisting gender and ethnic inequalities in regards to interest, S and E subject and career choice? Possible supervisors: Dr Maria Tsouroufli Reader in Education and Professor Nazira Karodia, Professor of Science Education
Find out more Contact: Ben Halligan Director of the Doctoral College Email: B.Halligan@wlv.ac.uk /wlv_doctoralcol /wlvdoctoralcol ER709