Building partnerships and undertaking impactful research in collaboration with vulnerable groups and the services that support them

We are a team of four academics from the Schools of Health and Social Care, and Psychology, with experience in frontline services and conducting research into homelessness, addiction, criminal justice and mental health.

In the past 2 years, we have worked on multiple mixed-methods projects with people who are vulnerable due to complex needs. Projects have included investigation into the critical success factors for Nottinghamshire Rough Sleeper Initiative Services; investigation of the effectiveness of a local social impact bond project supporting people experiencing entrenched rough sleeping; a review of the Lincolnshire Blue Light Service which supports people considered ‘treatment resistant drinkers’; and an exploration of the impact of Covid-19 on people experiencing homelessness locally. The findings inform future delivery to underpin continuous service improvement for services supporting people experiencing multiple and complex needs.

In our discussion, we will share our learning from undertaking such research including collaboration with local organisations; ethical and practical considerations for interviewing people who are vulnerable; adapting and undertaking research within the pandemic; the benefit of undertaking smaller scale projects to inform the development of future successful applications; the effectiveness of inter-disciplinary working across schools; and the importance of drawing upon practice experiences alongside academic experience.

Dr Jim Rogers, School of Health and Social Care
Dr Lauren Smith, School of Psychology
Dr Amanda Roberts, School of Psychology
Mr Thomas George, School of Health and Social Care

Combining Our Virtual Isolation Discussions

In this presentation, Jamie, a PhD Student studying the pathways into teaching: exploring the preparation and retention of maths and science teachers, converses with his supervisor Rachael about their combined experiences of the virtual isolation over the past year. They discuss the challenges and benefits put upon them by the situation over the last year, such as research designs and data collection, and how together they have found innovative ways to overcome them. Finally, conclusions are drawn as to possible support for future researchers and supervisors to ensure that the journey whilst challenging is a successful and enjoyable one!

Dr Rachael Sharpe, School of Education
Mr Jamie Ainge, School of Education

Prisons in a Pandemic – Examining the Impact on Prisoner Well-Being and Mental Health

Rachael Dagnall joined the University of Lincoln in 2018 following a 17-year career as a Chartered and Registered Forensic Psychologist within Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). Rachael will deliver a talk on how her previous experiences of working within the Offender Personality Disorder Pathway (OPDP) services have enabled her to become part of a research team that has recently been successful in securing funding for a national research project within HMPPS. Still in its infancy, Rachael will describe the teams plans for the Swansea University led project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to Covid-19. The project, led by Professor Jason Davies, has collaborators from universities in Belfast, Lincoln, Liverpool and Leicester as well as from the Ministry of Justice. Rachael will describe how the team plan to focus on a sub-group of people living in prison who will be following the Offender Personality Disorder Pathway, to establish the impact of introducing restrictions – and of easing them – on prisoners’ psychological wellbeing and behaviour.

Mrs Rachael Dagnall, School of Psychology


Reflecting on PhD supervision during the pandemic.

Postgraduate Research students have faced a difficult time during the Covid-19 pandemic, when carefully planned research has been disrupted due to recurrent lockdowns, mental health problems have come to the fore, and the challenges of doing a doctorate have been made greater due to pressures on work and family. In this short talk, doctoral supervisors from the College of Social Science talk about their experience of supervising students during the pandemic.

Dr Hannah Henderson, School of Sport and Exercise Science
Dr Trish Jackman, School of Sport and Exercise Science
Dr Rachael Sharpe, School of Education
Dr Joss Winn, School of Education


Reflections on interviewing at a distance with young fathers and professionals

Following Young Fathers Further is a 4-year qualitative longitudinal and participatory study exploring the lives and support needs of young fathers, funded by UKRI. The pandemic has required us all to adapt our research in various ways. In this presentation, the research team will talk through some of our reflections on interviewing and conducting research at a distance. We began with a series of questions; how do we ensure inclusivity and adhere to principles of participation and co-production? Which technological formats are accessible and valuable to young fathers? How do we access participants and build relationships at a distance? In tackling these questions, we worked closely with our project partners to rapidly develop a new research strategy. In our presentation we will briefly reflect on both the ethics and practicalities of fieldwork at a distance focusing on themes of connection and connectivity. Researching from a distance has provided an opportunity to try new methods and to critically reflect on our methodological practice. At the heart of our approach is a commitment to core ethical principles and a responsibility of care towards our participants.

Dr Linzi Ladlow, School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Laura Way, School of Social and Political Sciences
Dr Anna Tarrant, School of Social and Political Sciences

Getting Consultancy Off the Ground

Roger and Michelle reflect together on the challenges and opportunities involved in delivering consultancy projects. Michelle talks about her ten-month contract with Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH), delivered under the very challenging circumstances of the pandemic. She covers how she used her existing expertise to build a relationship with an external partner, how she navigated the internal systems of the university, and what she has gained from the experience. Roger summarises his current project, funded by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), in which he is bringing together the short-term training and coaching he has been delivering into a multiday programme for senior leaders. He acknowledges the challenges of workload and time availability in getting projects like this done to a high standard, but suggests that the energy involved in sharing academic expertise with external agencies makes it worthwhile. Both Roger and Michelle are available to advise or support anyone in the college considering getting into consultancy.

Dr Roger Bretherton, School of Psychology

Mrs Michelle Smith, School of Psychology


Creating Connections in a Virtual World

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 in the UK, it quickly changed our day-to-day lives. With the closure of university facilities, doctoral researchers suddenly found themselves out of the postgraduate office and left to continue their studies from home. This shift triggered an almost overnight change in the environment surrounding many doctoral researchers, especially in terms of the interpersonal relationships with peers and supervisors. As a result, this may have increased the risk of social isolation. This presentation will provide an insight into the PGR Connect Series, which was organised to provide sport and exercise psychology postgraduate researchers at the University of Lincoln with a chance to present their work and connect with researchers at other institutions in the summer of 2020. The team at Lincoln Sport and Exercise Psychology Research will share their experiences of organising and presenting on the seminar series, which ran over nine weeks and eventually involved over 20 speakers from over a dozen institutions across six countries.

Dr Trish Jackman, School of Sport and Exercise Science
Rachel Langbein, School of Sport and Exercise Science
Rebecca Hawkins, School of Sport and Exercise Science
Ollie Williamson, School of Sport and Exercise Science
Dr Matthew Bird, School of Sport and Exercise Science


Overcoming the challenges of doctoral study during the pandemic.

Director of Studies, Dr Joss Winn, talks with colleague and PhD Professional candidate, Alison Raby, about the challenges she has faced during the pandemic when undertaking her research, An exploration of the personal tutoring experiences of Chinese students in the UK. The impact of Covid-19 has meant that Alison has had to rethink her data collection methods and timeline, and work around the cancellation of a planned trip to China.

Dr Joss Winn, School of Education

Ms Alison Raby, Department of Marketing Languages and Tourism