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Investigating the impact of police communications and initiatives on public perceptions of progress in enhancing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: A case study of Police Scotland

   Graduate School

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  Prof Denise Martin, Dr Kathy-Ann Fletcher  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

PhD Studentship: R-LINCS2 funded. The Studentship is available for an October 2022, February or June 2023 start.

A PhD studentship that comprises tax-free stipend of £16,062 (increasing in line with UKRI per annum) per year over 3.5 years, tuition fees paid, and a generous study package (e.g. limited research consumables, travel budget, and training when appropriate). 

The pan-University Graduate School offers an integrated training programme to the postgraduate community within a single centre, serving to inculcate interdisciplinary working in our next generation of researchers.

Interviews are likely to be online in early September.

Project Description:

The 2015 election cycle was filled with campaign promises from each political party to improve diversity within the police. EDI initiatives in the UK, especially in the last decade have largely been shaped to reflect the protected characteristics as outlined in the Equality Act 2010. However, police public relations designed to shape the public perception of its EDI progress have been ongoing for decades. The examination of the efficiency of these engagement strategies is essential to shape future strategies that are authentic, reflect the EDI progress of the Police in the UK and build confidence in the population, especially those from underserved and diverse backgrounds. 

This project’s investigation will include three main objectives: 1) Identify the range of public engagement initiatives within Police Scotland designed to build confidence in the EDI progress made within Police Scotland; 2) Categorise these according to nature of initiative, purpose and outcome; and 3) Evaluate the success of each of the categories of initiatives in building a positive perception within the public of the EDI progress within Police Scotland.

The project will adopt an action research-based model using a case study approach that will evaluate the various initiatives being implemented within Police Scotland to gauge the response to the initiatives.

The research has three main objectives

  • Gain insight into the progress of EDI initiatives in the police in Scotland and how embedded these initiatives are within the institution.
  • Determine the influence of the Communications and Engagement around these EDI initiatives on public perceptions of the growth of EDI within the police in Scotland
  • Identify any potential gaps in EDI from the perspective of the police stakeholders and the wider public.

Supervisory Team: The candidate will be supervised within the School of Business, Law and Social Sciences by Professor Denise Martin, and Dr Kathy-Ann Fletcher. Queries on this project should be directed to Professor Denise Martin ([Email Address Removed]).

Entry Requirements: Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a first class or upper second-class honours degree in a relevant discipline (Criminology, Policing, Social Sciences/ other academic studies including business and marketing can be considered). We are looking for an independent, enthusiastic, and driven candidate with an understanding of Policing and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Applicants should have experience in applying mixed methods in a social science/business studies context. 

For applicants who are non-native speakers of English, the University requires IELTS of 6.5 (with no band less than 6.0) or an equivalent qualification accepted by the Home Office.

Applications and closing date: 29th August 2022

Applicants should submit through the Abertay University jobs page, submitting a personal statement of application detailing why you are interested in undertaking this project, and a CV.

If you are selected for interview you will be required to complete an online Research Student Application Form which includes the submission of a research proposal. Guidance on how to write the proposal can be found here:, Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Professor Denise Martin ([Email Address Removed])

Abertay University was named The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year for Teaching Quality 2021. According to the results of the Research Excellence Framework 2021, Abertay recorded 60% of its research judged as 'internationally excellent' or 'world-leading', a 23% increase since the last REF2014 – the biggest climb of any Scottish university. Abertay was the first University in the world to offer a degree in games and in March 2017 and was top ranked in Europe for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses in 2019. The School of Business, Law and Social Sciences, is made up of three key divisions, Division of Accounting, Business and Management, Division of Law and Division of Sociology. Its research is interdisciplinary in nature and this PhD is aligned with one of the key challenge spaces Security, Equality & Social Justice, where researchers work towards fostering personal, societal and organisational security and resilience in a time of increasing local, national and transnational threats and socio-technical disruption together with growing economic and health inequality.

We hold an Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze award and were the first Scottish university to achieve the Race Equality Charter Mark.

Entry Requirements

Essential requirements:

  • First class or upper second-class honours’ degree in Social Sciences or a closely aligned discipline. 
  • Experience in applying mixed methodological approaches including qualitative and quantitative methodologies
  • Experience or knowledge of evaluation methodologies and practice
  • Awareness of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Legislation and debates.
  • Good critical writing skills
  • Good numerical and statistics skills and familiarity with text editing software, such as Word, Excel, etc.
  • Applicants who are non-native speakers of English, the University requires IELTS of 6.5 (with no band less than 6.0) or an equivalent qualification accepted by the Home Office

Desirable requirements (but not essential)

  • Masters of science/arts level qualification in a relevant discipline
  • Experience in working with key stakeholders in the Criminal Justice Sector.  
  • Experience of conducting evaluative research
  • Experience of working in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Involvement in the preparation of articles for publication in social science journal(s)
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