Centre for Applied Social Sciences

“Conducting research into social issues that affect people’s lives locally, nationally, and internationally, bringing together interdisciplinary expertise in addressing issues of individual and social relevance.”

The Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS) conducts research into social issues that affect people’s lives locally, nationally, and internationally. Its applied approach produces research that has a theoretical and practical focus and that brings together interdisciplinary expertise in addressing issues of individual and social relevance.

Our Research & Impact

The Centre for Applied Social Sciences brings together researchers from a diverse range of disciplines, with wide ranging expertise across a number of fields.

It includes members of the Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre who have extensive experience in providing training in and analysis of all aspects of consumer complaint handling and dispute resolution throughout the UK and internationally. For example a recent report into Models of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) completed for the Legal Ombudsman, and the Forum for the study of Planned Events which has contributed to and researched major events both in the UK and worldwide, including Homecoming Scotland 2009 Events.

CASS also includes researchers from Business, Enterprise and Management, Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies, and Psychology and Sociology, who share an interest in researching social topics in ways that have a theoretical and applied focus.

Drawing on this expertise and an established track-record of producing research and engaging in knowledge exchange, the work of CASS has real-world application across a range of areas and disciplines. Research conducted within CASS is focused around the following strategic areas:

• identity, social inclusion/ exclusion, citizenship and social participation;

• individual and social meanings of health and well-being;

• discourse, communication, mediation and negotiation in applied settings;

• individual information-processing and decision-making.


Consistent with the applied focus of the work conducted within CASS, research carried out by members of the Centre is designed to engage with users of that research and to impact upon individuals and groups that can benefit from its findings.

We work with individuals to promote health, well-being and social participation, and with practitioners to ensure that the services they deliver are informed by and reflect best practice wherever possible.

At the same time, we work with policy-makers to contribute to the development of policy that will enhance quality of service provision and will promote public participation and understanding of major social issues and challenges.

We also work with small-to medium-enterprises (SMEs) on a range of projects that are applicable to their future practices, such as developing community-based projects and engaging members of socially-disadvantaged groups, and thereby aim to enhance the health and welfare of their employees and have wider impact in promoting social inclusion and individual well- being.

Work previously conducted by members of CASS has, for example, examined topics that include the experiences of vulnerable and marginalised groups in education and the workplace; patients’ and health professionals’ understandings of delivery of healthcare; communications in health-related settings; social enterprises’ initiatives to raise awareness of homelessness; the role of sport in development; participation in sport to promote social inclusion; consumers’ and ombudsmen’s practices in relation to dispute resolution; public involvement in and benefit from major international events, and the challenges facing family businesses.

All such studies, and other research studies conducted by the Centre, are intended to produce findings that are directly applicable for the benefit of research users.

Postgraduate Study

CASS offers opportunities for postgraduate study for Masters by Research (MRes) and PhD degrees. Members can offer extensive experience of and expertise in the supervision of postgraduate study and we welcome enquiries and applications relating to any of the areas of current activity and applications relating to interdisciplinary study that reflect the collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of the Centre.

Consistent with the applied focus of research conducted within CASS, we especially welcome applications for research that involves collaboration with practitioners, policy-makers and other research users.

Initial enquiries can be made to the Director, Professor Chris McVittie, or to individual members of the Centre who are engaged in the relevant area of research.

Useful Links:

Graduate School
Postgraduate Taught Study

Related Research and Knowledge Exchange Groups

Please see below for a list of related research and knowledge exchange groups:

CDRC,Consumer Dispute Resolution Centre

Family and Smaller Enterprises Research Group (FaSE)

Firefly Research Group

Professor Chris McVittie

Centre Director
Tel: 0131 474 0000

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