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Capturing understandings of, and responses to Loneliness: an iterative mixed method study with a focus on those from targeted ‘seldom heard’ minority population groups aged 70 years and over

   Faculty of Life Sciences and Education

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  Dr R Saltus  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This study addresses the current paucity of loneliness research that focuses on older minority population groups.

Aim 1: Map social policy context.

Objective 1: Examination of survey data (e.g., UK Census data, National Survey for Wales) in order to provide a national picture of the sample population and key loneliness and social isolation variables, as linked to relevant social and public policy and practice priorities. Underpinned by a review of the research literature, an explanatory statistical framing for the survey work to be undertaken will also emerge from this work package.

Aim 2: Capture (i) understandings of loneliness, (ii) levels of agency and coping strategies, and (iii) pathways to, and preferred models of, support. Two older population ‘umbrella’ groups will be targeted: (i) older migrant and minority population groups, and (ii) older people across all ethnic groups who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Objective 2: A series of focus and small group discussions (and possibly arts-based techniques) to explore the above areas and uncover new linked sub-themes as part of the development of the survey

Objective 3: national survey of respondents on above three areas, with some additional work to capture a snapshot of overall wellbeing and feelings of loneliness.

Objective 4: Based on emerging findings, to use arts-based methods (e.g., creative writing, film and storytelling), and other techniques with a self-selected group of survey participants, to capture their everyday rituals and routines, as well as experiences and reflections.

A steering group of older people, experts in policy, practice, equalities, community development, and research will be set up at the beginning of the project to help provide a steer and anchor to the emerging findings.

The successful applicant will attend the Doctoral Training Alliance Autumn and Summer Schools and have access to a bespoke ‘elective programme’ hosted across the alliance.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants should have a degree (2i or higher) in an appropriate discipline and a keen interest in research with older people. A post-graduate degree is desirable. Knowledge of health and social science research methods and creative methods of data collection (i.e., photo elicitation, creative writing, storytelling and other techniques) is necessary, as is knowledge of the Equalities Agenda and Welsh Social Policy context. Experience of community-based work is necessary, as is experience of working with minority or marginalised population groups.

Funding details

The successful applicant will receive: a tax-free bursary of £14,777 per annum, tuition fees paid (at the Home/EU rate) and £1500 per year for travel and subsistence to enable interaction between collaborating organisations.


To apply please visit: We encourage you strongly to contact the Dr Roiyah Saltus in the first instance to discuss your application.

Please note: a research proposal is not required for this studentship. Instead you need to provide a 600 word statement addressing (i) the importance of the proposed study, (ii) the target population groups and any issues that may need to be addressed when studying those groups (ii) how you would approach the key elements of the study design (iv) and how your own experience makes you a suitable candidate for the studentship.

Please select MPhil/PhD (Health) when applying and clearly state on your application that you are applying for a DTA Social Policy Studentship.

The closing date is November 30th and interviews are in December. The studentship will commence in January 2019.
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