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Drinking events – what are the best ways to collect data on how people drink?

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  • Full or part time
    Dr J Holmes
    Prof P Meier
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Proposed start date: September 2018

We typically use people’s average alcohol consumption to estimate alcohol-related risks and the effects of alcohol policies. However, there is increasing interest in what happens during drinking occasions, particularly where, when, with whom, and why people drink, and what else they are doing at the time, for example socialising or watching TV. We also want to understand the different types of drinking occasions people have. The University of Sheffield’s Alcohol Research Group are developing several research projects to understand the characteristics of people’s alcohol drinking occasions and a key element of this is identifying the best ways to collect relevant data.

More information on our work to date can be found in the following journal article:

This PhD project aims to drive forward occasion-level alcohol research by developing and validating data collection methods for the quantitative study of occasion-level alcohol use.

Methodological approach:
There is some flexibility, but we anticipate that the project may include: (a) systematic and/or realist reviews of relevant literature to identify potential data collection approaches and their relative strengths and weaknesses; (b) collecting primary data to test the reliability and validity of alternative questions or wording of questions; (c) collecting primary data using alternative methods (e.g. ecological momentary assessment, drinking diaries, face-to-face surveys) to test their relative reliability, validity and feasibility; (d) working with other academics to develop best practice recommendations and consider adaptability to other countries.

Research environment:
The successful candidate will join the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group, an internationally-leading centre of excellence for alcohol policy research. We are an interdisciplinary group of researchers and PhD students with backgrounds in public health, psychology, operational research, mathematics, systems engineering, behavioural science, social policy, demography and economics. The group attracts significant grant income, and publishes in leading academic journals including the Lancet, BMJ and PLOS Medicine. In addition to Sheffield’s excellent doctoral training programme, the candidate will have the opportunity to engage in the group’s wide range of research activities, including going to conferences, contributing to publications, gaining experience of writing funding applications and developing their teaching experience.

Entry Requirements:
Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree and a Merit at masters or relevant research experience. Degrees should be in relevant disciplines.

Eligibility Criteria:
This PhD project would suit candidates who are effective communicators, with strong quantitative skills and an interest in research methods, interviewing, survey design and behavioural research. We particularly encourage applications from students aiming to use their PhD as a springboard to a scientific career. Applicants must intend to work in the UK after completing their studies.

Funding Notes

The studentship is only open to candidates who are eligible for Home/EU fees status:
The studentship covers tuition fees at the Home/EU level, an annual stipend at the RCUK level (currently £14,777), and £750 per year to cover training and support costs.

How to apply:
Complete a University of Sheffield Postgraduate Research application using the link below.
Select the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) as the department, clearly state the names of the supervisors, and include the title of the research project in your application.

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