College of Social Science Research Showcase 2021

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The annual College of Social Science Research Showcase highlights the amazing research that we’ve got happening in the college. This year we will be hosting a virtual event where live and pre-recorded talks will be available to watch from 14th July, 9.30am.

For more information, please contact:

Here is a summary of what will be available:


Covid-19 And Probation’s Health Related Practice | Dr Coral Sirdifield and Dr Helen Nichols

The prevalence of many health conditions is higher amongst people under probation supervision than in the general population. Probation staff work in partnership with healthcare organisations to identify health needs and improve the health of people under supervision. During the pandemic, probation adopted an Exceptional Delivery Model, replacing most face-to-face supervision with remote supervision.

Using qualitative staff surveys with a convenience sample of frontline staff (n=27) and interviews with people under supervision (n=11), we investigated perceptions of the impact of the response to covid-19 on health-related probation practice, the lived experience of seeking health support whilst under supervision, and partnership working and pathways into healthcare.

To date, we have created themes around the importance of face-to-face communication; partnerships and service access; impact on health; remote appointments; innovations; impact on staff; risk management; digital capability and access; and flexibility, discretion, trust and choice. This research will have real world benefit as findings will inform recovery planning in probation, including for the delivery of community sentence treatment requirements, and the NHS England RECONNECT project to improve continuity of care for prisoners.

We will make recommendations around avoiding negative consequences of change, and spreading beneficial innovations identified in the research in future practice.


Reflections on Interviewing at a Distance With Young Fathers and Professionals | Dr Anna Tarrant, Dr Laura Way and Dr Linzi Ladlow

Following Young Fathers Further is a 4-year qualitative longitudinal and participatory study exploring the lives and support needs of young fathers, funded by UKRI.

The pandemic has required us all to adapt our research in various ways. In this presentation, the research team will talk through some of our reflections on interviewing and conducting research at a distance. We began with a series of questions; how do we ensure inclusivity and adhere to principles of participation and co-production? Which technological formats are accessible and valuable to young fathers? How do we access participants and build relationships at a distance? In tackling these questions, we worked closely with our project partners to rapidly develop a new research strategy.

In our presentation will briefly reflect on both the ethics and practicalities of fieldwork at a distance focusing on themes of connection and connectivity. Researching from a distance has provided an opportunity to try new methods and to critically reflect on our methodological practice. At the heart of our approach is a commitment to core ethical principles and a responsibility of care towards our participants.


Navigating the Doctoral Journey During a Pandemic | Dr Hannah Henderson, Mrs Joanna Blackwell and Miss Georgia Clay

The doctoral journey can be a winding road, throwing up challenges at every twist and turn but the arrival of Covid-19 and the resulting restrictions, created a host of challenges that could never have been predicted and rapidly changed the way we live.

For doctoral researchers this meant the closure of university facilities, services at a halt for those working in the field and for some, data collection at a standstill. In this presentation two doctoral students from the University of Lincoln, share their experiences of their personal research journey during a pandemic and how they overcame the challenges they faced.


Overcoming the Challenges of Doctoral Study During the Pandemic | Dr Joss Winn and Ms Alison Raby

Director of Studies, Dr Joss Winn, talks with colleague and PhD Professional candidate, Alison Raby, about the challenges she has faced during the pandemic when undertaking her research, An exploration of the personal tutoring experiences of Chinese students in the UK. The impact of Covid-19 has meant that Alison has had to rethink her data collection methods and timeline, and work around the cancellation of a planned trip to China.


Reflecting on PhD Supervision During the Pandemic | Dr Trish Jackman, Dr Joss Winn, Dr Rachael Sharpe and Dr Hannah Henderson

Postgraduate Research students have faced a difficult time during the Covid-19 pandemic, when carefully planned research has been disrupted due to recurrent lockdowns, mental health problems have come to the fore, and the challenges of doing a doctorate have been made greater due to pressures on work and family. In this short talk, doctoral supervisors from the College of Social Science talk about their experience of supervising students during the pandemic.


Live Talk | Impact at the University of Lincoln; Celebrating COSS Impact and Looking to the Future | Dr Julie Bayley

The University of Lincoln has a proud history and ongoing commitment to purposeful research, and research which makes a difference regionally, nationally and internationally. Impact – or the provable benefits of research in the ‘real world’ – is central to many of our activities, and reflects the commitment of so many colleagues in engaging with businesses, charities, schools, public services and many other areas outside the university setting.

In March 2021 we submitted a range of impact case studies to the Research Excellence Framework (REF), showcasing some of the wealth of benefits UoL research has had in many aspects of life. As we emerge from that process, we can turn attention to stronger approaches not only to generate more impact, but also to support staff build impact into their research and individual professional development. In this session we will celebrate our REF submissions, update on developments within the institution and across the sector, and look ahead to collaboratively shaping how Lincoln best contributes to the world around us.


Enhancing Policy Engagement: Collaboration and Capacity Building | Dr Mark Bennister

In 2020-21 the University was allocated £117,000 from Research England’s QR Strategic Priorities Fund (QR SPF). A key aim of QR SPF is to support universities to link effectively with policy research priorities and opportunities, from the local to the international.

With support from the College Research Office, I coordinated the distribution of the funds. This involved setting internal priorities and allocating funds to support policy focused research in the College and beyond. Also by facilitating specific training with external providers, such as a Government Policy Masterclass, and launching a Policy Hub, the SPF will enhance research policy capacity for the future. In this presentation I reflect on the importance of policy engagement for academics and consider how the QR SPF has helped to lay the platform for a more sustainable policy focused research environment.


Combining Our Virtual Isolation Discussions | Dr Rachael Sharpe and Mr Jamie Ainge

In this presentation, Jamie, a PhD Student studying the pathways into teaching: exploring the preparation and retention of maths and science teachers, converses with his supervisor Rachael about their combined experiences of the virtual isolation over the past year.

They discuss the challenges and benefits put upon them by the situation over the last year, such as research designs and data collection, and how together they have found innovative ways to overcome them. Finally, conclusions are drawn as to possible support for future researchers and supervisors to ensure that the journey whilst challenging is a successful and enjoyable one!


Getting Consultancy off the Ground | Dr Roger Bretherton and Mrs Michelle Smith

Roger and Michelle reflect together on the challenges and opportunities involved in delivering consultancy projects. Michelle talks about her ten-month contract with Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH), delivered under the very challenging circumstances of the pandemic. She covers how she used her existing expertise to build a relationship with an external partner, how she navigated the internal systems of the university, and what she has gained from the experience.

Roger summarises his current project, funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), in which he is bringing together the short-term training and coaching he has been delivering into a multiday programme for senior leaders. He acknowledges the challenges of workload and time availability in getting projects like this done to a high standard, but suggests that the energy involved in sharing academic expertise with external agencies makes it worthwhile. Both Roger and Michelle are available to advise or support anyone in the college considering getting into consultancy.


Collaborative Partnerships Between the Clinical Research Network and the University of Lincoln School of Health and Social Care | Dr Ros Kane, Dr Samuel Cooke, Professor Mo Ray and Ms Louise Marsh

The Clinical Research Network (CRN) National and the CRN East Midlands funded two Research Associate posts for one year in order to promote and develop research in Public Health and Social Care.  Both posts are based at the University of Lincoln in the School of Health and Social Care. The social care post, held by Louise Marsh, is intended to promote the social care research agenda by raising awareness and activity within the social care sector.

A previously poorly engaged and under-researched area, it comes with unique challenges but great opportunities. Drawing from established models like ENRICH, Louise, who has extensive experience in the social care sector will engage with domiciliary and day care services, charity, voluntary and faith sectors as major social care providers. The public health post, held by Sam Cooke, will aim to champion public health research across the East Midlands by promoting and engaging in research activity within the public health sector. Sam will work closely with researchers, local authority staff, and organisations to develop public health networks, facilitate shared learning, and drive areas of high research priority. This post will offer great opportunity in contributing towards building public health research capacity across the region. Our presentation today will summarise how the roles were developed, what they hope to achieve and the kinds of benefits and impact that collaborative partnerships such as this one can have on research within the University and the wider public health and social care arena.


Creating Connections in a Virtual World | Dr Trish Jackman, Miss Rachel Langbein, Mr Ollie Williamson, Miss Rebecca Hawkins and Dr Matt Bird

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 in the UK, it quickly changed our day-to-day lives. With the closure of university facilities, doctoral researchers suddenly found themselves out of the postgraduate office and left to continue their studies from home. This shift triggered an almost overnight change in the environment surrounding many doctoral researchers, especially in terms of the interpersonal relationships with peers and supervisors. As a result, this may have increased the risk of social isolation.

This presentation will provide an insight into the PGR Connect Series, which was organised to provide sport and exercise psychology postgraduate researchers at the University of Lincoln with a chance to present their work and connect with researchers at other institutions in the summer of 2020.

The team at Lincoln Sport and Exercise Psychology Research will share their experiences of organising and presenting on the seminar series, which ran over nine weeks and eventually involved over 20 speakers from over a dozen institutions across six countries.


Live Talk | COSS Research Strategy 2021 – 2026 | Professor Duncan French and Professor Todd Hogue

The next 5 years represent an opportunity for The College to increase the breadth, depth and intensity of its research to world leading levels. By implementing an action-oriented strategy which focuses on a strengths-based research culture we aim to increase interdisciplinary and external collaboration, continuously improve our recognition of diversity in research and further develop our postgraduate research offering.

Join The College’s PVC Professor Duncan French and Director of Research Professor Todd Hogue for the launch of the College of Social Science 2021 – 2026 Research Strategy and find out more about our future research ambitions for The College.


Face Masks and Face Recognition | Dr Kay Ritchie

Face masks present a new challenge for face identification in Western cultures, but we are used to seeing people with the upper half of their face covered by sunglasses. My collaborators and I set out to establish whether face masks present any greater a problem for face recognition than sunglasses.

Our results showed that people were slightly poorer at recognising familiar faces when they wore face masks, but overall performance was high. For unfamiliar faces, people were poorer with sunglasses compared to unconcealed faces, and poorer still with masks. But this decrease in accuracy was small, and people could still perform the task well above chance level.

Face masks, therefore, may not have as devastating an effect on face recognition as people may fear. We also tested a group of people who perform very well on standard face tests, so called ‘super-recognisers’. They too were impaired by face masks, but out-performed control participants across all of our experimental conditions. In this talk, I will discuss how we assembled a team of people who had never worked together before, I will talk through the research, and outline our future plans which include testing face recognition algorithms, and working with international organisations.


Navigating Global Collaborative Research Projects in Times of Covid | Professor Louis Kotze

The Covid 19 pandemic is presenting researchers with a range of challenges. One of these is how to successfully execute larger collaborative global research projects, such as an edited book, involving numerous researchers from various countries. During this brief talk, we will discuss some of these challenges that are likely to arise in such a context, and we will share ideas on how to confront these challenges in order to ensure a smoothly run project.


Prisons in a Pandemic: Examining the Impact on Prisoner Wellbeing and Mental Health | Mrs Rachael Dagnall

Rachael Dagnall joined the University of Lincoln in 2018 following a 17-year career as a Chartered and Registered Forensic Psychologist within Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). Rachael will deliver a talk on how her previous experiences of working within the Offender Personality Disorder Pathway (OPDP) services have enabled her to become part of a research team that has recently been successful in securing funding for a national research project within HMPPS.

Still in its infancy, Rachael will describe the teams plans for the Swansea University led project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to Covid-19. The project, led by Professor Jason Davies, has collaborators from universities in Belfast, Lincoln, Liverpool and Leicester as well as from the Ministry of Justice. Rachael will describe how the team plan to focus on a sub-group of people living in prison who will be following the Offender Personality Disorder Pathway, to establish the impact of introducing restrictions – and of easing them – on prisoners’ psychological wellbeing and behaviour.


Caregiving Dads, Breadwinning Mums: Transforming Gender in Work and Childcare | Dr Ruth Gaunt and Dr Ana Jordan

Despite a gradual increase in fathers’ time with children and its positive effects on families, mothers continue to bear main responsibility for childcare, and fathers for breadwinning. This mixed-methods project seeks to identify routes and barriers to greater gender equality in the home. Funded by the Nuffield Foundation, it investigates opposite-sex couples who share childcare equally or reverse roles so that the father is the main caregiver. The project compares these couples with traditional couples to explore the nature of their work and care arrangements and the effect of these arrangements on parents’ well-being and relationship satisfaction.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed significant operational and methodological challenges to the project. In this presentation we discuss the challenges we have faced and the measures we have put in place to overcome these challenges. We reflect on the lessons we learnt from the process and outline our plans for the future.


Covid-19: Relationships Between Children and Their Non-resident Parents in the Early Months of the Pandemic | Professor Steve McKay

COVID-19 has had particular ramifications for separated families. It has introduced potential barriers to children seeing their non-resident parents and risks to these parents having the earnings to provide financial support. Using data from the UKHLS COVID-19 study, for June 2020, this paper presents an encouraging picture of more solid relationships and financial support arrangements weathering the early storm. However, this sits alongside concerning reports of deterioration among those with poorer relationships prior to the pandemic. If this pattern persists, the pandemic has the potential to have an impact on the well-being and longer-term outcomes of children from separated families.

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