CPCPR Doctoral Students

The doctoral students in the CPCPR are studying a range of innovative topics which address societal issues by utilising theory-driven approaches and employing creative methodological techniques. Below please find brief profiles explaining the doctoral research being undertaken by students in this Research Centre. 

Corrine Auer

Doctoral Research topic
Person-centred culture in a Swiss cancer outpatient clinic: a participatory inquiry

Doctoral Research methodological approaches
Person-centred participatory research: using workplace observation, conversational interviews and critical creative workshops

Person-centredness, person-centred culture, cancer, outpatient clinic

Prof. Erna Haraldsdottir
Dr. Karen Rennie
Dr. Irena Anna Frei

Rebecca Brew

Doctoral research topic:
'A phenomenological Inquiry into the lived Experience of Internationally Recruited Nurses'. Promoting Person-centred cultures of care.
Doctoral Research methodological approaches:
Dr Karen Matthews

Fares Daradkeh

Doctoral Research topic:
Understanding How English-speaking Expatriate Nurses Care For United Arab Emirates Citizens With Substance Abuse Disorders.

Doctoral Research methodological approaches:
A Hermeneutic Phenomenology, Van Manen's approach

English-speaking expatriate nurses; substance abuse; person-centred, culturally competent care; nursing care; hermeneutic phenomenology; United Arab Emirates

Dr Karen Matthews and Dr Alison Wood

Ailsa Espie

Doctoral Research Topic: Understanding the symbols and relationships involved in an education partnership between a Scottish university and an Egyptian university that influence the interpretation and delivery of a transnational education programme.

Research methodological approach: An integrated person-centred, symbolic interactionist approach

Keywords: Person-centred, symbolic interactionism, transnational education


Dr Debbie Baldie

Dr Sarah Kantartzis

Becca Freeden

Doctoral Research Topic 

Improving bone mineral density and muscle strength in perimenopause using person-centred research principles

Doctoral Research Methodological Approaches 

Participatory Action Research; critical creativity; person-centred principles; pragmatism

Perimenopause, osteoporosis, physical activity, barriers, facilitators


Dr Karen Matthews

Prof Cathy Bulley

Fiona Gilmour

Doctoral Research topic:  
A participatory, action orientated study to promote older persons' relationships in a care home

Doctoral Research methodological approaches:
Participatory, action oriented approach

Older persons, care home, relationships, participatory research, action plan


Professor Erna Haraldsdottir
Dr Caroline Dickson

Honor MacGregor

Doctoral Research topic 
Women's experiences of maternity care while experiencing homelessness.

Doctoral Research methodological approaches 
This study is underpinned by the fairness and equity aspects of egalitarian feminism and is using community inspired photography to understand the lived or living experience of women as they try to access and engage with maternity services.  It is underpinned by the principles of person-centredness from the macro context inwards. 

women, maternity care, homelessness, personal experiences


Dr D Baldie and Dr A Wood, QMU

Emma Maclean

Doctoral Research topic 
Creating conditions to co-shape meaningful personalised measures in the Arts Therapies in statutory community mental health services.

Doctoral Research methodological approaches 
Arts-based transformational action-research.

Arts Therapies outcomes, Agreeing meaningful changes, Co- shaping outcomes, Personalised measures, Arts-based transformational action research, Participatory research


Prof. Erna Haraldsdottir and Dr Caroline Dickson (until Mar 2024)

Kelly Marriott-Statham

Doctoral Research Topic: 
An exploration of the attributes that effectively facilitate sharing decision making between a nurse and an older person in residential aged care: a participatory person-centred study
Doctoral Research Methodological Approaches:
Participatory, underpinned by person-centred research principles
Older persons, person-centredness, sharing decision making, nursing, practice environment

Graeme Nisbet

Doctoral Research topic 
Autistic neurodiversity.

Doctoral Research methodological approaches 
A discourse analysis of intersubjective meaning making.

Joon Oh

Doctoral Research topic 
Music therapy with young people from multicultural backgrounds in South Korea.

Doctoral Research methodological approaches 
The music therapy programme 'Mu-Being' was developed based on the values and beliefs of person-centredness and understanding the socio-cultural context of the multicultural community where young people live. Mixed methodology has been employed to explore Mu-Being experiences and outcomes holistically: it includes measures of multidimensional well-being, interpretative phenomenological themes derived from participant observation and interviews, and arts-based reflective work in the form of musical composition.

Music Therapy, Person-Centred Practice, Young People from Multicultural Backgrounds, Well-Being, Mixed Methodology, Arts Based Inquiry, Reflexivity, Mu-Being


Dr Philippa Derrington, Queen Margaret University
Dr Vaibhav Tyagi, The University of Sydney

Alistair Shields

*Please note Alistair Shields is affiliated to both the CPcPR and CASS.

Doctoral Research topic: Explore for people living with dementia who are reported as missing the elements that instigate purposefulness in travel to improve police effectiveness by better defining areas where search should occur.

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: Mixed Methods using descriptive statistical methods on abstracted and anonymised missing person records along with visual elicitation narrative interviews subject to thematic analysis.

Keywords: Dementia, Police, missing persons, autonomy, mixed methods


Professor Olivia Sagan

Dr Fiona Maclean

Gemma Stevenson

Research Topic: A critical analysis of discharge practices for older people in the acute hospital setting: identifying the implications for person-centred discharge practice.

Methodological Approach: Foucauldian Discourse Analysis.

Keywords:Older people, acute hospital, discharge, person-centred, Foucauldian Discourse Analysis.

Supervisory team:
Dr Gail Carin-Levy
Dr Juliet MacArthur (Chief Nurse Research and Development, NHS Lothian) 
Third to be confirmed

Laura Taheny

Doctoral research topic: Exploration of the Healthcare Experiences of Black African Women with HIV in Central Scotland
Doctoral Research methodological approaches: Phenomenology, qualitative research
Keywords: Black African Women, HIV, racism, intersectionality, person centred care.
Supervisors: Dr Karen Matthews, Dr Temitayo Odewusi.

Sabine Vicon

Doctoral Research topic:
Complexity theory, a framework for “getting it right”: Scottish play policy as a heuristic

Doctoral Research methodological approaches:
Play is a central occupation for children. The significance of play for children is widely acknowledged by society and in research. Internationally, this is evident by the inclusion of play as a right of children in the UNCRC. Nationally, some countries, for example Scotland, have created play-focused policies to support children’s health, well-being and development.

To ensure children’s rights to access play and to optimize its benefits, a thorough understanding of play is imperative. Play, as all occupation is a complex phenomenon, requiring a multifaceted approach to gain a fulsome understanding. Complex systems theory can help articulate the important elements of play and their interrelationships.

Furthermore, a complexity framework may be helpful in understanding the relationship between play, and policy-related actions. This doctoral research aims to develop a complexity theory framework for play to enable future policies and practices to “get it right”, that is, to support children’s health, well-being and development through play.

Play, Policy, Complexity theory, Complexity theory framework, Children

Dr. Duncan Pentland, Prof. Jeanne Jackson, Prof. Helene Polatajko (External Advisor)

Kara De Corby

Doctoral Research topic: Realist synthesis: Change agency in evidence-informed health care. This realist synthesis of change agent roles within evidence-informed health care answers the question:  What impact do characteristics of the change agent have on evidence-informed health care? This project’s aims are to: 

      • Conduct a realist synthesis of change agent characteristics in evidence-informed health care, 
      • Describe the state of the published evidence on change agents’ personal characteristics in evidence-informed health care, 
      • Make methodological contributions to the conduct and reporting of realist syntheses’ conduct and reporting, and  
      • Generate program theory related to change agents’ personal characteristics in evidence-informed health care.  

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: critical realist perspective, realist synthesis

Keywords: realist synthesis; change agency, evidence informed, evidence-based practice, health knowledge utilization, implementation science 

Supervisors: Dr. Brendan McCormack (QMU); Dr. Jenny Ploeg (McMaster University), Dr. Jo Rycroft-Malone (Lancaster University)

Lorna Peelo-Kilroe

Doctoral Research topic: Facilitating conditions for human flourishing. I am looking at whether or not it is possible to provide conditions for human flourishing as people work together to transform their thinking in order to change their practice. I am interested in how human flourishing can be facilitated, what methods enable flourishing, whether or not flourishing benefits the experience of individuals and groups and what facilitation approach is necessary to enable this to happen.

Doctoral Research methodological approaches: The research methodological approach I am using is Critical Creativity. It is a paradigmatic synthesis that balances and blends assumptions from the critical paradigm with ancient and creative expression, wisdom and traditions for the purposes of flourishing. I used a co-operative inquiry approach, working with co-researchers as we explored our growth and transformation during the time that we worked together. My theoretical framework blended Titchen and McCormack (2010) methodological framework for enabling human flourishing with Aristotle’s virtue ethics as it relates to eudaimonia or human flourishing.

Keywords: Human flourishing, critical creativity, facilitation, transformation, eudaimonia, virtue ethics.

Supervisors: Professor Brendan McCormack, Dr Savina Tropea, Dr Angie Titchen