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Evaluating the effectiveness of Paths for All’s Workplace Step Count Challenge to promote walking for health

   School of Education (Moray House)

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

About the Project

This is a prestigious fully-funded ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences Collaborative PhD studentship (1+3 or +3 years) in the area of physical activity and health. The University of Edinburgh offers world-class research infrastructure, training and facilities, and the successful applicant will join the thriving Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC) within Moray House School of Education. The supervisory team of Dr Ailsa Niven from PAHRC and Dr Ruth Jepson from the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP) brings an excellent mix of experience and skills to support the project. The student will also gain invaluable experience by working closely with Paths for All who are at the forefront of physical activity promotion in Scotland.

Applications from MSc graduates in a related area are particularly welcome, but we will also consider students with 1st or 2-1 in a related undergraduate degree. Dependent on qualifications and experience applicants may be eligible for appointment to either the +3 pathway (direct to PhD enrolment) or 1+3 doctoral pathway (includes a 1 year MSc) (see further information on web link).

Background and Project Details:
Despite the established physical and mental health benefits of physical activity, the prevalence of physical inactivity has been described as ‘pandemic’. In 2014, the Scottish Government launched a National Walking Strategy that identified increased walking as a key mechanism through which the population’s physical activity levels can improve. Paths for All are a key partner in delivering the walking strategy, and their annual 8-week Walk at Work Step Count Challenge (SCC) is a flagship activity. Building on previous collaborative work, the overall aim of this PhD is to work with Paths for All to undertake a realist evaluation of the SCC in order to understand for whom, under what conditions, how and why the programme is effective in changing PA behaviour.

In line with realist evaluation, the proposed project will address 3 objectives. Firstly, in order to develop a programme theory (Context-Mechanisms-Outcome) of how the SCC may lead to increased physical activity, the student will undertake a realist review of existing literature on work-based interventions similar to SCC, and interview key stakeholders. Secondly, in order to test the programme theory the student will undertake a longitudinal qualitative study with SCC participants to gain a nuanced understanding of their experience. Thirdly, the programme theory will be revised based on the findings of the longitudinal study and stakeholder input. It is anticipated that the project will result in at least 3 high quality academic outputs, and the project team will work with Paths for All to produce useful outputs that have clear pathways to impact on both policy and practice.

For further information and application details please see http://www.ed.ac.uk/education/graduate-school/studentships/doctoral-awards

Funding Notes

Appointment to a +3 PhD or 1+3 studentship will be dependent on the student's experience and qualifications (please see link for further details).

An applicant must be a United Kingdom citizen or be a resident of another European Union country. European Union applicants who have not been resident in the UK for the last three (3) years before the start of their studentship are only eligible for a fees-only award. EU students who start in 2017-18 will have their fees status guaranteed for the duration of their studies.

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