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Faculty of Social Sciences research areas

Child Wellbeing and Protection

The Child Wellbeing and Protection Research Group is affiliated with and underpins the work of the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection. It comprises a broad network of scholars from across the University of Stirling who share an interest in childhood, children’s wellbeing, safety, and relationships. The Research Group has a strong interdisciplinary focus, and includes researchers from sociology, social work, health sciences, psychology, education, and beyond.

The Group undertakes research on, and has the expertise to tackle, the issues that affect children’s wellbeing and development at an individual, family, systemic and structural level, bringing a holistic and integrated approach to the field. Drawing on a range of methodologies, we work in a participatory and collaborative way to ensure that children, young people and families have a voice in the development of research (and research informed policy and practice) that impacts their lives. Our work is informed by an emphasis on children’s rights and empowerment; it is therefore important that children and young people’s perspectives are at the heart of what we do. We use intersectional and contextually sensitive approaches to challenge oppressive and exclusionary practices and to embed inclusive ways of working.

Current and recent studies have included work on improving responses to neglected children; children’s experiences of domestic violence and abuse; CAMHS policy and practice; the experiences of looked after children; resilience and strengths based approaches to wellbeing and mental health; children and young people’s views of poverty and inequalities; children’s language and communication needs; young people’s participation, achievement and attainment; decision-making and judgement of risk and food practices in residential settings.

Find out more about the Child Wellbeing and Protection Research Group.

Crime and Justice

The Crime and Justice Research Group is multi-disciplinary and collaborative, with membership including staff and postgraduates with a range of research interests and expertise related to crime and criminal justice, both theoretically and applied. The group’s research activities are focused thematically around four key areas: contested concepts and identities; criminal justice - systems and processes; critical social and criminological theory; and organised crime. Our research group and the Faculty of Social Sciences are co-host to the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR), a partnership between the Universities of Glasgow, Stirling, Edinburgh, and Strathclyde. We also host the Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research (SACASR), and we are a member of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) consortium. The groups’ research is underpinned by appreciation of and contributions to interdisciplinary, comparative and cross-cultural perspectives. Our research spans a spectrum of subjects and issues, including: gender, crime and justice; sexual abuse and domestic abuse; substance use and drug-affected individuals and families; problem-solving justice; technology and digital justice; sociology of punishment; rehabilitation, recovery, and desistance from crime; policing; trafficking; organised crime; criminal justice institutions and practices; criminal justice social work; prison education; penal policy and drug policy; critical criminology and abolitionism; citizenship, social justice and human rights. Research findings have been shared widely beyond the academy, making significant contributions to knowledge and informing policy and practice development within Scotland and internationally. We work with policymakers, practitioners, communities and the public to collaboratively build just societies.

Find out more about the Crime and Justice Research Group's projects and activities.

Dementia and Ageing

The Dementia and Ageing Research Group carries out multidisciplinary, policy and practice relevant social scientific research with particular emphasis on people with dementia and those who support and care for them. The perspectives of people with dementia, their supporters and carers are central, and we seek to understand their everyday lives and find ways of promoting wellbeing and better quality of life.

The spectrum of research spans from healthcare, looking at the outcomes of people with cognitive impairment and dementia in the hospital setting, through end of life care, decision making for care provision, the roles of community based care professionals in particular community pharmacists, and the importance of the dementia friendly neighbourhood. This large spectrum of research is made possible by the vast skill mix of the team: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, psychologist, economists, social workers, social scientists, musicians, carers and people with dementia. The Research Group works with researchers, clinicians and social care practitioners from many disciplines across the University and with national and international colleagues in Europe, North America, Asia and Australasia.

The Group is fortunate to be aided in the translation of their research into education and policy informing practice by their collaborative working with the Dementia Services Development Centre.

Find out more about the Dementia and Ageing Research Group.

Educational Practice/Theory

The Educational Practice/Theory Research Group comprises a dynamic group of researchers who bring innovative theoretical, conceptual and methodological insights to bear upon matters of learning and education. Our inter- and trans- disciplinary work plays a key role in the development of local, national and international policy and practice. Areas of expertise include digital social trends; curriculum-making and emerging pedagogies; language learning and teaching; professional learning and leadership; and philosophy of education. We are currently ranked highest in Scotland for the quality of our publications.

Find out more about the Educational Practice/Theory Research Group

Public Services and Governance

The Public Services and Governance Research Group brings together scholars from the Faculty of Social Sciences and the University of Stirling providing cutting-edge research on public service change, reform and leadership. The Research Group innovates in empirical, methodological and theoretical contributions to the challenges that public service face across the globe. The current research priorities of the Group are:

  • Place-making, place-keeping and place-based service delivery;
  • Co-production with service users and communities;
  • Co-production of research with policy customers and communities;
  • Digital citizenship and new methods of engagement;
  • Workforce change and development, and leadership, across all public services

In our teaching we deliver high-quality professional education across all areas of the Faculty, as well as offering practical ways for organisations to benefit from student projects and research. In our research we offer knowledge exchange across sectors, as well as providing leading research of immediate use and benefit to public sector organisations.

Find out more about the Public Services and Governance Research Group.

Social Surveys and Statistics

The Social Surveys and Statistics Research Group focuses on the analysis of social survey datasets.  There is an emphasis on detailed empirical research that is theoretically informed. Members of the Group employ rigorous social science methods of data analysis in the pursuit of internationally excellent social science outputs.  There is a broad spectrum of substantive social science topics and issues currently under investigation for example social stratification, ethnicity, social identity, citizenship, social capital, social networks, housing and social inclusions and exclusion.

There is also a strong methodological strand within the Group and a major emphasis on the application and interpretation of statistical models. A particular focus relates to issues surrounding 'data management' for large and complex social survey datasets, such as approaches to linking together datasets, and issues in operationalising complex measures, such as based upon occupational data, or data about the social connections between people.

Find out more about the Social Surveys and Social Statistics Research Group.

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