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PhD Opportunities

PhD opportunities in the School of Social Sciences

There are currently self-funded PhD opportunities in the following areas. For further information, contact the named staff below.

You can find further details on studying for a PhD and details of how to apply by clicking here. 



Self-Funded PhD Opportunities

Title: Exploring the value of non-pharmacological stammering interventions from the experiences of adults who stammer

School: School of Social Sciences

Application Reference Number:  6

Supervisory TeamDr Aaisha Farooqi, Dr Helen Jenkins, and Dr Ian Mundy

Stammering is a speech disorder with significant socio-emotional consequences. However, studies evaluating the efficacy of stammering interventions have overwhelmingly reported on behavioural treatment programmes and neglected newer, more holistic approaches which aim to bring about improvements in individuals’ psychological wellbeing.

Furthermore, there is a dearth of research exploring the views of adults who stammer concerning their therapy experiences and long-term outcomes. Using predominantly qualitative research methods, the current PhD will explore various stammering interventions with a focus on the experiences of adults who stammer, and aim to inform recommendations to speech and language therapists supporting people affected by stammering.

Social Sciences School PhD Proposal - 6 CIS Exploring the value of non-pharmacological stammering interventions

Contact information:

Name: Dr Aaisha Farooqi

Email: aaisha.farooqi@bcu.ac.uk

Tel: 0121 331 6594


Title: Exploring the impact of touchscreen technologies on cognitive and social development of children

School: School of Social Sciences

Application Reference Number:  8

Supervisory TeamDr Olga Fotakopoulou (School of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology), Dr Jane O’Connor (School of Education, Department of Childhood, Youth and Community), Dr Shannon Ludgate (School of Education, Department of Childhood, Youth and Community)

In the 21st century, children from a very young age are growing up in a digital world (Marsh et al., 2019) surrounded by a wide range of technological devices on a daily basis.

This PhD study proposes to build on previous research to explore the impact of the use of touchscreen technologies (iPad and tablet devices) on pre-school and school-aged children’s cognitive and social development, children’s views and experiences, and practices, implications and benefits of technology use as reported by parents. A mixed-methods research design will be employed to investigate the impact of touchscreens on children’s cognitive and social development, children’s voices and parental views and practices.

Social Sciences School PhD Proposal - 8 CIS Exploring the impact of touchscreen technologies

Contact information:

Name: Dr Olga Fotakopoulou

Email: Olga.Fotakopoulou@bcu.ac.uk

Tel: 0121 333 6641


Title: Coercion and controlling behaviours in intimate relationships: An exploratory study

School: School of Social Sciences

Application Reference Number:  11

Supervisory TeamDr Natalie Harrison, Dr Chrisa Pornari, Dr Deborah Earnshaw & Dr Laura Hammond

In the UK, coercive and controlling behaviours are defined as “Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality” (Home Office, 2015). Since the implementation of these behaviours into the UK definition of domestic violence, recorded offences have steadily increased. Despite this, there is little evidence within the research literature to show if people understand what constitutes coercion and control, and whether or not they can recognise these behaviours (either as victims or as perpetrators).

This PhD aims to (1) explore current prevalence and perceptions of coercive and controlling behaviours, (2) to explore how people describe and make sense of these behaviours within an intimate relationship and (3) to develop a tool, to measure coercion and control.

Social Sciences School PhD Proposal - 11 CIS Coercion and controlling behaviours

Contact information:

Name: Dr Natalie Harrison

Email: natalie.harrison@bcu.ac.uk

Tel: 0121 331 7253