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The impact of volunteering on communities (PHDED006)

   School of Education

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  Prof R Murray, Prof A Coburn  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The idea of volunteering, giving something back to a community or worthwhile cause, has underpinned philanthropic interests in the UK for over 100 years. While research has shown individual benefits to volunteers and beneficiaries (Dekker & Halman, 2003; Piliavin, 2003; Wilson & Musick, 2000), little is known about the collective impact of volunteering on communities. This is an area of importance because it has been estimated that approximately twenty two million people volunteer in the UK every year (Hudson, 2006) while voluntary involvement in governance and citizenship roles suggests a direct relationship between deep participation and feelings of connectedness and social integration (Dinham, 2007).
This study will examine why people volunteer in order to consider their motivations for volunteering in community contexts. It will focus on how volunteering might help to build community connectedness and social cohesion in four to eight case settings. The extent to which volunteering contributes to the social economy and can enhance feelings of well-being and human flourishing will be analysed.
To gain deep understanding of potential impacts, the research will examine different case sites, in rural and urban locations and will examine the widest possible variation in volunteering experience. For example, areas identified as experiencing high levels of deprivation and poverty will be compared to more affluent communities, and the experiences of different social groups in terms of, for example age, gender or ethnicity, will enable comparisons to be made, and conclusions drawn. The research will involve in-depth analysis of specific cases where volunteering is perceived as making an impact.

Funding Notes

UWS is an inspiring, vibrant place to study with a growing research community; an important aspect of which is its outstanding and committed research students.

Successful candidates will receive a £13,863 annual stipend payable for three years and payment of tuition fees (current value £3900).

This studentship is open to Home/EU candidates with a first degree in a relevant discipline. Non-EU students can apply, but will not receive the stipend and will be required to pay fees.

The deadline date for applications is 16th May 2014. Candidates must be available to commence their studies in October 2014.


How to apply:

Postgraduate Degree by Research Applications should be completed online at

Applications without all relevant documents will not be considered. Please quote the Project Reference Number.

Should you have any queries please contact the Innovation & Research Office on + 44 (0)141 848 3919 or email

The deadline date for applications is 16th May 2014. All interviews will take place between 26th May and 6th June 2014.

Please note that this project is part of a competitive round and there is no guarantee that it will be awarded.
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