Within the School’s research programme, the Sociology Group has developed a strategic approach that has provided aims for development. Three themes have been developed that are embedded within this approach and connect into staff research interests.
Research Strategy 2002-07
Following the formation of the Sociology Group, it was decided that reputation would be best established through publication and applied research undertaken in support of the university’s vision ‘to be internationally recognised for excellence in professional education and applied research’ and links with local, regional and national issues and policies. This was to be achieved in stages. Three main strategic objectives were developed to achieve this.
- Provide the environment and support to enable members of staff to undertake research, publish findings and pursue funding opportunities;
- Recruit new members of staff with the potential to enhance the research culture and strengthen the range of expertise within the School;
- Encourage intra and inter disciplinary collaborations to enable outcomes from research funding to be maximised, staff skills and knowledge to be utilised and, in the case of early career researchers, developed.
Post 2007 Strategic Objectives
Following the achievement of the 2002-07 objectives, the next phase of the Group’s development has been established. Between 2008 and 2012 our aim is to expand and consolidate our financially sustainable grassroots research culture and our postgraduate community. Four main objectives have been set for this period.
- Firstly, we will pursue ESRC recognition for postgraduate research training. This will facilitate the growth of PhD student numbers.
- Secondly, we will build upon our regional and national reputation for applied research and extend research funding through UK national and European research funding. All Sociology staff are expected to be involved in some capacity. This will allow us to bring in more research assistance and thus build the research capacity of the group.
- Thirdly, we will seek to extend our interdisciplinary collaborations in applied research and in particular, pursue more inter-institutional funding bids, joint PhD supervisions and publications.
- Finally, following recent appointments, we will utilise our range of knowledge and expertise to further develop collaborative themed research and publications and enhance cross fertilisation.
Based upon the School’s applied focus, staff members’ research experiences and teaching profile, there have been three main themes with considerable cross fertilisation designed to enhance our research culture:
- Inclusion and Exclusion
- Sociology of Religion
- Sociology of Health and the Body
i. Inclusion and Exclusion
Considerable research is undertaken across the sociology group into cultural, economic, political and social forms of inclusion and exclusion. Particular attention is placed upon social processes and institutions that contribute to different patterns of involvement, reinforcement and disengagement.
Further details can be found within relevant members of staff research interests.
ii. Sociology of Religion
We have a growing international profile in the Sociology of Religion. Our work on the historical sociology of Islam is recognised as internationally significant, deepening our understanding of this international phenomenon. Recently we have sought to build upon our levels of expertise in religious influenced behaviour through applied research. During 2007/8 Love and Vertigans are exploring inter-relationships between religion, ethnicity and healthcare in Scotland in a project for the Scottish Health Council (SHC). The study examines Muslims’ and Hindus’ experiences of the healthcare interface and will conclude with policy recommendations for the SHC and NHS (Scotland).
iii. Sociology of Health and the Body
The Sociology of Health and the Body is our third main research theme and connects directly with broader research interests in the Faculty and School’s applied research. Particular areas of interest include the organ retention scandal and related issues of trust and healthcare, emotions and alienation and the health experiences of rarely heard patients, including the homeless, in-migrants and ethnic minorities.
Further details can be found within particular staff research interests