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Masters by Research: Exploring how families are coping during and beyond the Covid-19 lockdown

School of Applied Sciences

About the Project

Families with primary aged children in Scotland are currently dealing with the impact of a combination of factors including social distancing, social isolation and school closures. The dramatic nature and speed of changes in children’s and families’ lives as a result of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to have a serious impact on the ongoing wellbeing of children and their parents, particularly on families living in poverty and lone parent household (Treanor, 2016). It is also critical to obtain an understanding of the impact of the coronavirus on household financial concerns – wages and job furloughs, unpaid caring work, and the effects of inadequate housing. This longitudinal qualitative project will explore the wellbeing of families during the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on parental and child mental health.

Families will be recruited from across Scotland; purposive sampling will be used to ensure that the study includes lone and dual parent families, families with parents in work and out of work and families across a range of socially advantaged and disadvantaged settings. The focus of this MRes studentship will be on conducting interviews with family members to reflect on their experience of lockdown, children’s return to school, and their views of the support required by, and received by, families during a pandemic.
There is scope for this MRes project to be carried out by two part time students; we therefore welcome applications from potential full time or part time candidates, and particularly welcome candidates who have experience in the field of family/child health and wellbeing.

Academic qualifications
A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in a social science degree, e.g. Sociology, Social Sciences, Social Policy, with a good fundamental knowledge of sociology and/or social policy relating to the family.

English language requirement
IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:
• Experience of fundamental research skills training.
• Competent in reviewing and analysing relevant literature.
• Knowledge of sociology of the family and/or social policy relating to families and children.
• Good written and oral communication skills
• Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
• Good time management

Desirable attributes:
• Experience of undertaking independent research ( including dissertation research)
Qualitative research skills, e.g. interviewing Experience in conducting systematic reviews

Please quote project code SAS0067 in your enquiry and application.

• Completed application form
• CV
• 2 academic references, using the Postgraduate Educational Reference Form (Found on the application process page)
• A personal research statement (This should include (a) a brief description of your relevant experience and skills, (b) an indication of
what you would uniquely bring to the project and (c) a statement of how this project fits with your future direction.)
• Evidence of proficiency in English (if appropriate)

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded MRes position

For informal enquiries about this PhD project, please contact Dr Fiona McQueen;


Treanor, M (2016) The effects of financial vulnerability and mother's emotional distress on child social, emotional and behavioural well-being: A structural equation model, Sociology, Vol 50:5

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