Meet Our Researchers

Charlotte Barlow profile picture

Below is a transcript of an interview carried out with one of the School of Social Sciences researchers, Dr. Charlotte Barlow. 

Dr Barlow, could you tell us about your research?

Most of my work is around woman who have offended, but who are also victims of domestic and/or sexual violence. My PhD looked at female offenders who co-offended with their male partner.

I took some high profile cases and looked at how they were represented in the media, then I compared it to the legal discourse and looked into how women talked about their own experiences of offending and their relationships with their male co-offenders.

At present I am extending my PhD and starting a project speaking with the female offenders who co-offended with their male partner to find out how that relationship may or may not have influenced their offending. I am also doing some work around domestic violence and sexual violence for woman, particularly young people. We have just applied for funding on a project to explore young people’s experiences of sexting, especially revenge porn and things like that. The heart of my research is mostly gender issues.

What impact has your research had on the world outside the University?

I helped to develop this programme, and my work and research was used as evidence to support its ongoing development. The programme will soon be officially up and running and I hope that its success will demonstrate the impact of my research beyond the academic sphere.

How does your research impact students that you teach on a daily basis?

Gender based violence Hopefully a lot, as with a lot of the stuff I teach on the Gender and Crime module, and I also try to draw on my research for other modules. I have done some lectures on co-offending that were guided by a lot of my work that I have done and am going to do. I have also done a lecture on social construction of gender where I looked at my research of media-based, discourse-based and gendered ideals.

I also teach a lot on the Research Methods module. There, even if my research findings are not directly relevant, I tend to draw on my research methods and reflect on the research process for the purpose of the lecture, bringing in personalised first-hand experience for the students.  I try to bring as much of my work and research experience into teaching as possible because that is what I am passionate about. Therefore, it makes sense to put it out to my students and see how they react and interact with it.

How do students react towards your research?

I think it helps as I really believe in research-led teaching and I believe that is what makes academia and higher education different from school or college. What you do as an academic and practitioner influences not only the work that you are delivering but also how students receive information and develop their knowledge.

So as Research Methods module lecturer, rather than talking about interviews generally, I think it is more beneficial for me to reflect on my experience of interviewing in my research on women offenders, for example. This makes it much more real to students as it brings real-life examples and students like examples! I believe that providing examples in your own research context makes often complicated ideas really understandable and grounded.

Particularly in the co-offending lecture that I delivered for the Gender and Crime module, so many students were really interested in that area and wanted to do their essays on it. I really believe that when you are expert in an area, rather than talking generally about the topic, students know and are aware of that; they feel your passion for the subject and it becomes infectious for them and for some it becomes their area of interest.

Do students get involved with your projects and research?

There are certainly opportunities, particularly for postgraduates or third year graduates to get involved. If researchers are lucky enough to get some money to fund research, it raises an opportunity for research assistant roles, which obviously brings its own benefits. On the whole, I think that research-led teaching is a very important experience for both lecturers and students, as it provides an opportunity for a unique knowledge exchange.