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Welcome to PHIRN

The aim of PHIRN is to increase the quantity and quality of public health improvement research that is relevant to policy and practice.

We aim to achieve this by increasing the number of natural experiments within the roll-out of new initiatives; developing high quality collaborative research proposals for research grant funding; developing high quality collaborative research proposals linked to emerging initiatives; and developing a critical mass of specialised methodological capacity in the design and conduct of community based trials of complex interventions.

Supported by: Cardiff University, Welsh Government and National Institute of Social Care and Health Research.


Master Class 2014: Stories and Narratives: From Theory to Practice

Date: Wednesday 17th September 2014
Location: SURF Room, Floor 2, Fulton House, Swansea University

The Qualitative Enquiry Supporting Trials Unit (QUEST) & The Qualitative Research Unit (QUARU) invite you to attend a workshop to learn from Arthur Frank.


Arthur Frank’s Letting Stories Breathe: A Socio-narratology (University of Chicago Press, 2010) brings together a decade’s experience of workshops in narrative analysis. This workshop provides both a background to socio-narratology and an extension of its method. The background makes more explicit what socio-narratology owes to three theorists: Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and Bruno Latour. This theoretical background enriches the scope of conclusions that can be drawn from specific narrative research, as well as justifying decisions about the research process. The Master Class will focus on narrative ethics as one form of applied socio-narratology.

Summary of the Day:

The Master Class divides into morning and afternoon sessions. The morning will be the more didactic session (lecture with questions), in which 15 propositions will be presented about the nature and analysis of stories. These propositions are organized around three theorists from whom I’ve learned most: Michael Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and Bruno Latour. No prior knowledge of these is required. I hope my remarks will introduce each theorist to those who have not read him, and raise new issues for those who have. The final five of these propositions are specific to analyzing stories.

The afternoon session turns to the professional practice of narrative ethics, taking off from the recent “special report” on narrative ethics in The Hastings Center Report, including my own article. I hope the afternoon will be as interactive and case-based as possible. If workshop participants send me case stories in advance, I’m happy to develop discussions around those. The Master Class will be to test the 15 propositions from the morning session for their practical utility in working with contesting and contested stories, as stories as actors in clinical-care decisions.

More information is available in the event flyer and to register please contact Ms Vicky Davies on 01792-513407 or e-mail v.i.davies@swansea.ac.uk.


Policy Knowledge: Improving the sexual health of the nation

Date: Wednesday 1st October 2014
Location: Holiday Inn Regents Park, Carburton Street, London

Over recent years, many positive strides have been made in the overall improvement of sexual health including the education of young people, the fall in unwanted pregnancies leading to terminations, protecting children from sexual abuse, more people from high risk groups being offered and accepting HIV tests, and reforming the culture within the health service to be more open to talking about sexual health issues.

However, more must be done if we are to maintain this trend and build an open and honest culture where young people are able to make informed choices about relationships and sex.

The comprehensive, interactive and practical event will look in-depth at the new commissioning landscape and the power of targeted commissioning to improve sexual health outcomes.
Key topics for discussion include:
• Sexual Health Amongst Young People – Building Up Knowledge and Resilience
• Increasing Access to Local Sexual Health Services
• Working to Actively Reduce the Sexualisation of Children
• Making Services More Accessible to Children and Young People to Talk About Sexual Health Concerns

For more information about the event or to register please click here.

Obesity: A national epidemic

Date: Monday 8th December 2014
Location: Mermaid Quay, London

There is little doubt that as a nation we are getting bigger. With almost two thirds of us carrying excess weight and ever increasing numbers becoming obese the impacts on the nation are significant.

Govtoday invite you to attend the Obesity- A National Epidemic event where a detailed programme will explore the prevalence, issues and consequences of an increasingly overweight population. An overview of the current trends will be provided along with a reflection into the causes and how these can be addressed. The cost in dealing with the well narrated health related problems is a challenge for the health and social care system, however the cost to individuals in terms of quality of life can be overwhelming. The conference will explore prevention, intervention and future policy- what works, what will not. A debate will take place to discuss where the burden of responsibility should lie; with individuals, the state or both.

Obesity- A National Epidemic is an event for all those who are working in this area of the public health agenda who are tasked with producing a positive impact in reducing levels of obesity. Delegates who attend will be fully briefed on the very latest information which will help them develop successful programmes and strategies to reverse the obesity ‘epidemic’.

For more information about the event or to register please click here.


WISERD Job Opportunities at Cardiff University

Closing date: Wednesday 24th September 2014

Following major grant successes, Cardiff University is making a substantial investment in social science research and applications are welcomed from exciting and dynamic researchers interested in working on cutting edge research projects within a leading Russell Group institution.

The Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD) is currently recruiting for a number of new research and support posts linked to three centres of excellence: The Wales Administrative Data Research Centre (ADRC Wales); WISERD Education; and WISERD Civil Society. ADRC Wales is part of the ESRC funded Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) which aims to facilitate research utilising administrative data. WISERD Education is a HEFCW funded initiative which aims to advance education research in Wales.  WISERD Civil Society is a newly funded ESRC national centre which is embarking upon a five year programme of applied research addressing Civil Society in Wales, the UK and Internationally.

Current Vacancies:
• Research Assistant/Associate, Grade 5/6 £25,513 – £37, 394   (Ref: 2521BR)
• Quantitative Research Associate/Fellow, Grade 6/7 £31,342 – £45,954  (Ref: 2523BR)
• Quantitative Research Associate – Ageing and Intergenerational Relations, Grade 6 £31,342-£37, 394  (Ref: 2534BR)
• Administrative Data Research Centre – Research Officer x 2 posts, Grade 6 £31,342-£37, 394 (Ref: 2524BR)
• Administrative Data Research Centre – Administrator, Grade 4 £20,781-£24,775 (Ref: 2522BR)
• Events Officer, Grade 4 £20,781-£24,775  (Ref: 2533BR)
• IT Technician, Grade 4 £20,781-£24,775  (Ref: 2535BR)

For further information and to apply, please visit: www.cardiff.ac.uk/jobs
Please Note: All vacancies close 24th September 2014

Are you in a healthy place right now? Neighbourhood food environments, diet and health: Research and Policy meeting

Date: 10.00am – 4pm, Tuesday 4th November 2014
Venue: Møller Centre, Cambridge

Where we live, study and work, the shops and takeaways we use, and the social structures we inhabit have the potential to shape how we eat, our weight and our health. Many agencies and authorities are beginning to act in an effort to make the food environment healthier, but face challenges not only of evidence, but also of law, economics, and politics.

So what do we really know about the connections between the neighbourhood food environment, diet and health, and how should policy and planning be used to promote public health?

This meeting, organised by the UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), will feature presentations by leading researchers and policymakers in this field, and will provide plenty of time for discussion and interaction.

Who should attend?

This meeting will be of interest to policymakers, practitioners, campaigners and academic researchers working in public health, planning, education and health equity. It is free of charge, but registration is essential as places are limited.

Find out more and register

Mental Health and Young People: Implementing the Suicide Prevention Strategy

Date: Tuesday 16th September 2014
Location: Central London

Statistics reveal that two young people take their own lives every day, and it is estimated that there are as many as 140,000 attempted suicides every year. About 24,000 of these cases relate to children and young people aged 10-19.

Two years on since the Government published its first suicide prevention strategy, the first Annual Report on its progress, “Preventing Suicide in England: One Year On” (January 2014) sets out key actions that local areas can take to prevent suicide. The report highlights the importance of responsive and high-quality care for people who self-harm, and the need for better sharing of information between organisations and families to help prevent suicide.

Following the publication of the Annual Report, this timely symposium provides an invaluable opportunity to raise awareness and explore the next steps in strengthening multi-agency working at the local level towards suicide prevention.

For further details about the symposium, please click here for the event brochure or for more information and to register please visit the event website – http://www.publicpolicyexchange.co.uk/events/EI16-PPE.

Social Research Association: Training Courses

Dr Christina Silver will run the following two courses:

Date: Friday 12th September 2014MAXQDA for applied research

This one day course introduces the principles of Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysiS (CAQDAS) and provides comprehensive foundation level training in the workings of the software.

Date: Monday 21st & Tuesday 22nd September 2014NVivo Intensive Introduction (please note that this is a 2 day course)

NVivo is a well-known product which is extensively used across a range of sectors, including applied and policy research.

The courses are £195 for SRA members (£260 for non-members) per day and include lunch and refreshments.

Full details on the SRA website – http://the-sra.org.uk/training/

Please don’t hesitate to contact the SRA team if you have any queries – sradmin@the-sra.org.uk or lindsay.adams@the-sra.org.uk

Cardiff Q-Step Centre Conference: Mainstreaming Quantitative Methods – Opportunities and Challenges

Date: Thursday 18th September 2014
Venue: Council Chamber, Main Building, Cardiff University

With the establishment of fifteen Q-Step Centres across the UK, teaching and learning in quantitative methods has entered a new and exciting phase.  A step change in attitudes and practices is underway that will change the nature of social science teaching and also the kind of social science future graduates will do.  The first step on any journey is the most important, but also possibly the easiest.  In the next few years, the Q-Step Centres and quantitative methods teaching will face many challenges of pedagogy, resources, long term commitment and even opposition to the project itself.  The first annual Cardiff Q-Step Centre Conference will begin to focus on some of these challenges and our speakers will discuss a range of issues – some controversial, that will face us.

We would like to invite you to participate in the conference which will take place on September 18th at Cardiff University. This event is free, but places are limited and registration is required. To register or for more details please complete the registration form below and e-mail qstep@cardiff.ac.uk

Cardiff Q-Step Inaugural Event September 18th booking form

Order of Proceedings (running times subject to change)

10:00 – Refreshments and registration

10:30 – Welcome and Introduction.  Professor Malcolm Williams, Director Cardiff Q-Step Centre.

10:45 - Sharon Witherspoon, Director of Nuffield Foundation, Making numbers normal: is Q-Step enough?

11:15 - Professor Patrick Sturgis, University of Southampton, Director, National Centre for Research Methods, Why should undergraduate social science students choose quantitative methods?

11:45 - Professor Mike Savage, London School of Economics, The Great British Class Survey as a methodological experiment

12:15 - Keynote Address. Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal of University of Aberdeen, Some challenges for Mainstreaming Quantitative Methods Teaching.

13:00 – Lunch

14:00 - Professor John MacInnes, University of Edinburgh, ESRC Strategic Advisor on Quantitative Methods Training, Theory, Faith and Evidence.

14:45 - Dr Geoff Payne, Newcastle University, Clapping with One Hand? Sociology’s response to the National Strategy for Quantitative Skills Consultation.

15:30 Refreshment break

16:00 - Panel discussion

16:45-18:00 - Wine Reception

Call for abstracts: Quality in qualitative research and enduring problematics

Event date: Tuesday 27th January 2015
Deadline for abstract submission: Monday 22nd September 2014

The Qualitative Methodology Forum at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Bath, is holding a one-day symposium entitled: Quality in qualitative research and enduring problematics.

The symposium will take place at the University of Bath on 27 January 2015. They invite abstracts on the topics below or other related issues. Contributions from all disciplines within the social sciences are welcomed. The papers (duration:15 minutes) should aim to:

  • offer a clear and rigorous conceptual navigation through the issues raised
  • provide engaging illustrations from real-life experiences
  • suggest a way forward, for example in the shape of proposed consensus statements, good practice guidelines and future research.


Is there room for hypotheses in qualitative research design?
What is the role of theoretical knowledge and imagination in qualitative research design? Is there a dichotomy between theoretically informed/driven and inductive design? To what extent is inductive design a possibility? What level of pre-conceptualisation and hypothesizing is compatible with emergent analysis and discovery?

Theorising: ‘mystery as method’?
How do qualitative researchers theorise from data? What is the adequacy and defensibility of abductive reasoning as a method? What are the practices for documenting and reporting the theorising process? What still needs to be achieved to open the black box of theorising? Is there ever a good reason for not theorising from empirical data?

A ‘good round number’? In search of a rationale for sample sizes.
Is there a ‘right’ sample size in qualitative studies (interviews, recorded interactions, setting and frequency of observations, focus groups, documents, etc.)? If there is, how is this established? How important is sample size to the applicability of emergent theoretical insights?  How useful is the idea of saturation to determining sample size? How might the tension between methodological requirements and practical constraints be addressed?

The quest for quality in qualitative research
What are the key challenges to methodological rigour in qualitative research design and conduct and how should these be addressed? What needs to be done to expound the credibility and usefulness of qualitative research in the worlds of academia, policy and practice? Does the perceived value and credibility of the qualitative paradigm vary between disciplines and policy areas?

Suggestions for related topics not included in the brief are also welcome. Please send your abstracts to: z.tomlin@bath.ac.uk
More details can be found at: http://www.bath.ac.uk/sps/events/news_0073.html

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Bath would like to develop a database of qualitative researchers within the GW4 collaboration and UWE who are interested in methodology and may want to be involved in future events and initiatives. If you are not submitting an abstract but would like to be added to the list, please contact one of the organisers below.

Selda Ulucanlar (z.tomlin@bath.ac.uk)
Jenny Hatchard (j.hatchard@bath.ac.uk)
Fiona Fox (f.fox@bath.ac.uk)
Susan Johnson (s.z.johnson@bath.ac.uk)

2 day short course – Health Economics for Public Health Practice and Research

Date: 4pm, Monday 23rd- 2:45pm Wednesday 25th March 2015
Location: Management Centre, Bangor University

Bangor university will be running a 2 day short course in March 2015 looking at health economics for Public Health Practice and Research, led by Professor Rhiannon Tudor Edwards.

At the end of this short course delegates will have gained an appreciation of the concepts, methods and application of health economics to public health, be able to critically appraise a published economic evaluation of a public health intervention and feel confident in speaking about potential return on investment from public health programmes in the NHS and other settings such as schools and work places.

The course will cover:

  • Public Health Preventative strategies
  • An overview of Health Economics and Economic Evaluation
  • Challenges of Applying Health Economics to the Public Health
  • Can we use RCTs in the Economic Evaluation of Public Health Interventions?
  • Decision Modelling for Economic Evaluation and Application to Infectious Diseases
  • Decision Modelling in Public Health
  • The role of pharmacists in Health Promotion
  • Cost Benefit Analysis in Public Health
  • Social Return on Investment (SROI)
  • Programme Budgeting Marginal Analysis (PBMA)

Registration closes 31st January 2015
Cancellation fee 10% prior to 31st January 2015, 50% cancellation fee after this date)

If you would like to register and pay, please contact:

Mrs Ann Lawton, Tel: 01248 382153 or Email: cheme@bangor.ac.uk

For credit card payments please click here.