The Faculty offers an extensive portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, taught predominantly at the Chester Campus, but with provision in Public Relations and Policing taught at Warrington. A key feature of work in all four specialist subject areas below is the inter-relationship between social science and issues of everyday concern that have relevance for policy making.

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  • The operation of Article 4 of Rome II Regulation in English and Irish courts

    Roberts, Emma; Okoli, C.S.A.; University of Chester; Asser Institute
    This article makes a critical assessment of the operation of Article 4 of Rome II in English and Irish courts measuring the extent to which judges of England and Wales (hereafter England) and Ireland are interpreting Article 4 of Rome II in accordance with what the EU legislator intended.
  • British Military Veterans and the Criminal Justice System in the United Kingdom: Situating the Self in Veteran Research

    Mottershead, Richard (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-11)
    The 21st Century has seen the continuation of armed conflict, exposing military personnel to the rigours of warfare and the challenges of transition back to a civilian identity. There has been a renewed realisation that there exists a sub-group within the criminal justice system (CJS) of veterans and whilst the exact figures are debated, their presence is not. This thesis seeks to capture the perspectives and experiences of veterans who are identified as exoffenders and those having been employed in the CJS as practitioners. The super-structuralist concept of the CJS collectively represent services of a ‘total institution’ that have shared similarities and differences to life within the ‘total institution’ of the Armed Forces. The life stories of the participants indicated that whilst one veteran life story trajectory (veteran practitioner) appeared to be able to adapt during the transition to a civilian identity successfully, there was evidence that the other veteran life story trajectory (veteran exoffender) found themselves segregated and isolated from a familiar veteran identity with few resources to survive the experience unscathed. This exploratory qualitative study provides emancipatory evidence that the process of entering the CJS as offenders often fails to address the origins of their criminal behaviour or from the wider social context that creates a cyclical response. The veteran practitioners appear to hold a crucial insight into the issues and seek to progress the CJS’s need to expand its knowledge base on the identification, diversion and management of veteran offenders. The study was theoretically informed through the use of reflexivity to articulate the internal and external dialogue of what is known and how it is known in understanding the lived experiences of 17 participants. Life stories were collected from in-depth interviews across the United Kingdom. The life stories were analysed thematically, providing insight and understanding through the elicitation of narratives derived from the contours of meaning from the participants’ (veterans) experiences and enunciating the two separate life story trajectories into the CJS. The findings of this study indicate the participants need to belong and explores how their veteran identity instilled in them both a source of strength and a feeling of anguish, as their new lives could not offer the same security and sense of belonging. The negative consequences of being identified as an offender often resulted in the emergence of stigma and associated shame upon themselves and their families. The life stories demonstrated disparities between the attempted empowering philosophies of the veteran practitioners and the practices imposed generally by the CJS. There were numerous examples of how the veterans’ prior exposure to the institution of the Armed Forces had shaped their experiences and engagement with the institutions of the CJS. Both sub-groups of veterans constructed positive ownership of their veteran identity which at times served to counterbalance their negative experiences of transition from military to a civilian identity. These constructions of their experiences highlight the vulnerability of this sub-group within the CJS and the failure of the system and wider society to address the consequences of military service on some veterans. This research raises the issue of the ‘fallout’ from the recruitment of youth from communities where established socio-economic deprivation has created fertile recruitment grounds for the Armed Forces. The analysis identifies a pragmatic need to address the gaps within the research literature as well as multi-agency working, in order to expand veteran peer support schemes. The voice of the veteran has been overlooked within the positivist research approach, this study seeks to capture the viewpoint of the veterans through reflexive exploratory research undertaken by a veteran researcher to understand the phenomena. Researching the experiences of veterans’ experiences of the CJS presented ethical and methodological challenges. The study has provided new knowledge and understanding that can be disseminated and used to improve current practices and policies.
  • Developing active personal learning environments on smart mobile devices.

    Whalley, Brian; France, Derek; Park, Julian; mauchline, Alice; Welsh, Katharine E.; University of Sheffield, University of Chester, University of Reading
    ‘Tablets’ and other 'smart' devices (such as iPads and iPhones)have established themselves as a significant part of mobile technologies used in mobile (m-)learning. Smart devices such as iPads and the Apple Watch not only provide many apps that can be used for a variety of educational purposes; they also allow communication between students and tutors and with the world at large via social media. We argue that 'smart' mobile devices enable personalized learning by adjusting to the educational needs of individuals. We refer to Salmon's quadrat diagram to suggest where using mobile technologies should be of benefit to revising our views of pedagogy, making it much more responsive to students' needs in education as well as the world in general. Smart mobile devices now contain computing power to allow voice and face recognition, augmented reality and machine learning to make them intelligent enough to act as tutors for individual students and adjust and respond accordingly. To take advantage of these facilities on mobile devices, pedagogy must change from an institution-centred to a student-tutor-device focus. This is best done via 'active learning' and incorporating cognitive awareness into an educational operating system that can develop with the owner.
  • Innovative Pedagogies

    Hill, jennifer; France, Derek; University of West of England, University of Chester
    We scope eight innovative pedagogies that have the potential to provoke major shifts in teaching, learning, and assessment in geography at the undergraduate level. There are further opportunities for geography educators to embrace newly emerging pedagogies to the positive benefit of students, staff, and the health of the discipline. The next decade of higher education geographical pedagogy might focus less on individual elements of our practice and more on how to integrate latent pedagogies into an effective process for future-facing lifelong learning, which might be achieved by focusing on heutagogy in borderland spaces of learning; bringing together a multiplicity of geography and other disciplinary students over diverse spaces and times to co-construct understanding dialogically, allowing them to determine their own learning needs, and preparing them to be successful citizens in a dynamic and uncertain future.
  • Post-mortem consciousness: views of psychotherapists and their influence on the work with clients

    Gubi, Peter; West, William; Nielsen, Claudia (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-08)
    The aim of this study was to explore the views of psychotherapists on postmortem consciousness and whether these views influence their work with clients. The mixed-methods approach used an online survey in stage one, which invited counsellors and psychotherapists to answer questions about their views on post-mortem consciousness. The sole participation criterion was that that participants must be experienced and accredited. Replies were gained from 103 participants. The survey yielded demographic information and included questions allowing for free-text responses for participants to expand on their comments. These were analysed thematically. Participants from stage one, who were willing to be interviewed for this project, were invited to make contact in order to take part in stage two of the research and 12 practitioners were interviewed. The transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Almost 70% of the survey participants indicated that questions about post-mortem consciousness influence the way they live their lives and also the way they work with clients. Additionally, just over 52% of the participants declared a belief in life after death. However, the findings from the interviews showed that 10 out of the 12 therapists who were interviewed were not aware of their clients bringing issues around death or post-mortem consciousness in their work. This may be due to: (1) therapists not having worked on issues relating to their own mortality; (2) a fear of losing credibility if the issue of post-mortem consciousness were to be discussed in the work; (3) confusion between imposing their views and allowing exploration of the topic of postmortem consciousness in their work; (4) the absence of this theme in their professional training; or (5) the possibility that the topic of death and postmortem consciousness was not part of clients’ overt or covert presenting issues. It is suggested that the current scientific paradigm on which counselling and psychotherapy is based, represses the presenting of more open and speculative views about what it means to be human, thereby limiting issues that clients might otherwise bring to therapy. These may include belief in post-mortem consciousness. The research suggests that therapists, supervisors and trainers need to assess their own views about post-mortem consciousness to become more open to, and able to work with, the potential presence of underlying issues that may stem from clients’ views about post-mortem consciousness in clients’ presenting issues.
  • The Impact of Sensitive Research on the Researcher: Preparedness and Positionality

    Fenge, Lee Ann; Oakley, Lisa, Kathryn, Jusin & Mor Kinmond, Humphreys & Dioum; Taylor, Bethan; Beer, Sean; Bournemouth University, University of Chester, Cheshire without Abuse, Bournemouth University
    There is currently limited research exploring the impact of undertaking sensitive or challenging research on the researcher, although some textbooks explore researcher preparedness. This article presents a discussion of the findings from a research project which engaged with the seldom heard voices of researchers themselves. The aim was to explore researchers’ experiences of undertaking research on sensitive topics, or with marginalized groups, as this can expose researchers to emotionally disturbing situations throughout data collection and analysis, which can be psychologically challenging. Although ethical codes of practice include discussion around protection of both the researcher and the participant, in practice, the ethics approval process rarely considers the impact of the proposed research on the researcher. Their experiences are therefore seldom acknowledged or heard, resulting in potential distress for the researcher. Semi- structured interviews were undertaken with social science researchers from a range of discipline backgrounds and at different points in their research careers (n = 10). This article explores two themes emerging from the data: preparedness and positionality. It considers what these themes mean in terms of supporting researchers who encounter challenging research data, and issues related to supporting researcher reflexivity and the requirements for institutional support offered to researchers will also be considered.
  • Healthy Ageing in Smart Villages? Observations from the Field

    Philip, Lorna; Williams, Fiona; University of Aberdeen; University of Chester
    In the context of demographically ageing communities across rural Europe Smart Villages have considerable potential to promote ageing healthy. Whilst in principle supporting healthy ageing in the context of the Smart Village might appear a relatively straightforward endeavour, in operational terms, successful development of smart, 21st century villages relies upon, and sometimes assumes, an appropriate interplay of socio-technological factors. Articulated through a lens provided by the digital ecosystem model advocated by the European Network for Rural Development (2018), this paper offers some observations from the field. We acknowledge the challenges faced by remote rural places in their journey to become ‘smart places’ and identify formal and informal interventions that could better position rural communities to become part of a wider, smart society.
  • Field-based pedagogies for developing learners' independence

    Fuller, Ian; France, Derek; Massey University, University of Chester
    For fieldwork to be effective in fostering independent thinking it requires careful design and alignment within the degree programme (Fuller et al., 2006; Fuller, 2012). In this chapter we draw from our own research evidence and experience to provide examples that illustrate how fieldwork can be successfully embedded in the geography undergraduate curriculum from first to final year adopting specific pedagogies to develop, enhance, and refine students as independent learners throughout their undergraduate career.
  • Bridging the Gap: Developing an Adapted Model of Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy for Boys (Aged 11-16 Years) Who Present with Specific Learning Difficulties

    Reeves, Andrew; Gubi, Peter; Tebble, Gary (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09-30)
    Objective: Young people who present with specific learning difficulties face many challenges and barriers when accessing effective, adjusted and helpful therapeutic intervention and mental health support. The objective of this research was to develop and produce a theoretical model of adapted pluralistic therapy and to address the practice and research gap, through using this therapeutic intervention and the use of therapeutic feedback with boys in psychotherapy. Design: The philosophical underpinning of the study was grounded in a pluralistic and social constructionist stance, which dovetailed and guided the selected systematic case study design (Cooper & Dryden, 2016; Widdowson, 2011).A concurrent mixed methods design was implemented, with a concurrent embedded strategy and an integrative method used for combining the data sets (Iwakabe & Gazzola, 2009; Creswell, 2009). A dual role paradigm of therapist/researcher, client-participant was adopted and embedded within a multiple case study approach, which utilised a grounded theory analysis (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). The dual role was ethical and professionally managed through evaluating the ethical risks of researching with own clients, exploring issues of informed consent including the use of parental consent, the use of rolefluency, strong boundaries, working with levels of self-disclosure, protecting children and avoiding harm, managing confidentiality, outlining benefits for participating in the research and through ongoing clinical and research supervision. Findings: A theoretical framework established from the grounded theory process, indicated that an adapted pluralistic approach had been approved and implemented. This included the development of collaboration and shared understanding through a meta-therapeutic communicative approach (shared-decision making), where therapeutic focus, activities and concepts were also established, in order instigate a reduction of psychological distress and mental health concern. Alongside the pluralistic framework, the use of therapeutic teaching and the emergence of a therapeutic-educational stance was identified as an essential feature of the process. The theoretical model identified consisted of various elements of therapeutic practice, but was centred on four distinct pillars; therapeutic foundation and the creation of a collaborative and pedagogical culture, the development of construction and learning, the development of assimilation and expression and the emergence of therapeutic change and development through the awareness of therapeutic insight. Four key pathways were also highlighted throughout the grounded theory process, which included the empowerment pathway, the engagement pathway, the expression pathway and the enhancement pathway, all of which give the therapeutic process direction and movement. The adapted pluralistic model of practice resulted in a reduction in participant’s psychological distress relating to their presenting issues, with quantitative findings suggesting that both therapeutic reliability change and clinical change was present for most of the participants. Implications: The study has noteworthy relevance for both the psychological professions and the allied fields, including the educational setting. It is also particularly relevant for any professionals working with boys who present with specific learning difficulties and are in the special educational needs grouping, who may be willing to adopt a more pluralistic and adaptive approach.
  • Energy Governance in Spain

    Crespo, Laura; Fernandez, Rosa M.; Campos Martin, Jose M.; CSIC; CEDEX; University of Chester
    Spain is lagging behind in the transition to a sustainable energy system compared to other EU member states. Its unique position as an energy island, coupled with errors in energy planning inherited from previous government regimes, constitute a legacy that makes changes in the system difficult to achieve. Current political instability adds to the difficulties, under a governance framework characterised by lack of coordination and supremacy of the central government in the decision making process, in an environment where traditional energy companies still exert lobby power. The continuous changes in the regulatory framework of the energy sector have hindered investments in low carbon sources of energy due to perceived uncertainty. Small changes in the right direction are being observed though, with a more prominent role expected from the local levels of government. But many measures still originate on requirements linked to EU commitments and more initiatives at the national level need to be seen.
  • A Critical Review of Rural Proofing in England

    Williams, Fiona; France, Derek; Degg, Martin; Rewhorn, Sonya, A. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-07-01)
    This thesis critically reviews the effectiveness of rural proofing through a practitioner lens. It explores empirically the experiences and expectations of rural proofing in England by rural policy practitioners. The theoretical foundation for the research is provided by the rural-urban dichotomy and associated discourses, to include the notion of the rural idyll. An interpretivist methodological approach was adopted which included in-depth semi-structured interviews with 24 participants. The participants discussed their understandings of rural within the context of rural proofing and in turn how this influenced their expectations and experiences of rural proofing. Practitioner experiences and expectations considered the influence of rural proofing voices, leadership and accountability in rural proofing and where rural proofing does or should occur. From this, the analytical approach enabled the strengths and weaknesses of rural proofing to be examined to inform the future rural proofing agenda. It was found that rural proofing is a welcomed concept, but there are barriers and challenges impacting on the effectiveness of rural proofing. Overall, it was articulated that rural proofing, although a national policy process to consider the rural context in policy making, is in fact, interpreted as the delivery of rural services. Where the principle was providing equality of provision in comparison to levels of service in urban contexts. There was an appreciation rural proofing is process focussed but a strong sense that it should be more outcome driven, with a local focus. Currently, rural proofing is compulsory for English domestic policy, however, the championing of rural proofing and the leadership of rural proofing across government could be more apparent and the process more effective. It was suggested a greater local focus to rural proofing would assist with mitigating the challenges in the current national English policy framework which has to use a rural-urban settlement classification that does not embrace the diversity of rural England. An alternative approach to describing rural within policy making, could, alleviate some of the challenges in addressing the contested priorities of rural proofing resulting from many rural voices. Through the rural policy practitioner lens it is articulated rural proofing should not be abandoned, however, moving forward, rural proofing requires revision if the principles of rural proofing are to be realised in practice.
  • Youth transitions as ‘wiki-transitions’ in youth policies platforms

    Cuzzocrea, Valentina; Collins, Rebecca; Universita degli Studi di Cagliari; University of Chester
    In recent years, a number of youth-focused online platforms have emerged which, in different ways, seek to support young people across Europe in building pathways to independent adulthood. In this article, we draw on data from Edgeryders, a recent youth policy research project, to reflect on the extent to which online discussion platforms are useful instruments for understanding the challenges youth face in their transitions to independent adulthood across Europe. Noting the collaborative emphasis articulated by both the project designers and participants, we ask how we might make sense of the data – and the meanings conveyed by that data – produced by online projects. We propose the notion of ‘wiki-transitions’ as a means of theorising young people’s use of online space to support their transitions to adulthood.
  • Fieldwork@40: fieldwork in geography higher education

    Haigh, Martin; France, Derek (Informa UK Limited, 2018-09-09)
  • New-Old Jeans or Old-New Jeans? Contradictory aesthetics and sustainability paradoxes in young people’s clothing consumption

    Collins, Rebecca; University of Chester
    This paper reports on an ongoing research project exploring the role of aesthetics – particularly aesthetics related to the multiple meanings of ageing – in young people’s interventions in the material lives of their clothes. Provoked by the trend for ‘pre-aged’ jeans, this study interrogates how material manifestations of the passing of time shape young consumers’ relationships with their clothes. Specifically, this enquiry focuses on the multiple, intersecting and sometimes contradictory aesthetics of aged garments. It examines the extent to which – and circumstances in which – young consumers view the visible lived history of their garments as positive, and the role played by personal manual interventions (e.g. acts of repair, customization, upcycling or repurposing) in transforming an un(der)loved and un(der)used item into one with heightened forms of value. Drawing on practice-based workshop-interviews with around 20 18-22 year olds, this research seeks to contribute to emerging debates around sustainability, consumer agency and ownership in relation to the consumption of fashion.
  • When speaking English is not enough: The consequences of Language-based stigma for non-native speakers

    Birney, Megan E.; Rabinovich, Anna; Morton, Thomas A.; Heath, Hannah; Ashcroft, Sam; University Centre Shrewsbury, University of Chester
    We explored the effects of language-based stigma on the relationship between native and non-native speakers. In two studies we found that stigmatized non-native speakers experienced more negative interpersonal interactions, higher levels of intergroup threat, and reduced performance on an English test compared to non-native speakers who did not experience stigma. These effects were mediated by anxiety and moderated by prevention-related goals. Furthermore, native speakers perceived stigmatized (vs. not-stigmatized) speakers’ accents as stronger and their commitment to living in the host country as weaker. Our findings suggest that experiencing language-based stigma can: a) incite a stereotype threat response from non-native speakers, and b) damage their relationship with native speakers on an interpersonal and intergroup level.
  • Communicative roots of complex sociality and cognition.

    Roberts, Anna I.; Roberts, Sam G. B. (2019-10-14)
    Mammals living in more complex social groups typically have large brains for their body size and many researchers have proposed that the primary driver of the increase in brain size through primate and hominin evolution was the selection pressures associated with sociality. Many mammals, and especially primates, use flexible signals that show a high degree of voluntary control and these signals may play an important role in forming and maintaining social relationships between group members. However, the specific role that cognitive skills play in this complex communication, and how in turn this relates to sociality, is still unclear. The hypothesis for the communicative roots of complex sociality and cognition posits that cognitive demands behind the communication needed to form and maintain bonded social relationships in complex social settings drives the link between brain size and sociality. We review the evidence in support of this hypothesis and why key features of cognitively complex communication such as intentionality and referentiality should be more effective in forming and maintaining bonded relationships as compared with less cognitively complex communication. Exploring the link between cognition, communication and sociality provides insights into how increasing flexibility in communication can facilitate the emergence of social systems characterised by bonded social relationships, such as those found in non-human primates and humans. To move the field forward and carry out both within- and among-species comparisons, we advocate the use of social network analysis, which provides a novel way to describe and compare social structure. Using this approach can lead to a new, systematic way of examining social and communicative complexity across species, something that is lacking in current comparative studies of social structure. [Abstract copyright: © 2019 Cambridge Philosophical Society.]
  • Understanding self-respect and its relationship to self-esteem

    Clucas, Claudine; University of Chester (Sage, 2019-10-21)
    The concept of self-respect has received little attention in the psychological literature and is not clearly distinguished from self-esteem. The present research sought to empirically investigate the bases of self-respect by manipulating adherence to morals together with interpersonal appraisals, or task-related competence, in hypothetical scenarios (Studies 1a and 1b) and a situation participants relived (Studies 2 and 3). Participants’ levels of state self-respect and self-esteem were measured. Studies 1-3 found main effects of adherence to morals on self-respect, with self-respect mediating the effect of adherence to morals on self-esteem, but little support for competence and interpersonal appraisals directly influencing self-respect. Self-respect uniquely contributed to anticipated/felt self-esteem alongside competence or interpersonal appraisals. The pattern of results supports the conceptualisation of self-respect as a component of self-esteem associated with morally principled conduct, distinct from performance and social self-esteem. The findings have implications for our understanding of self-esteem and moral behaviour.
  • Police officers’ and Registered Intermediaries’ use of drawing during investigative interviews with vulnerable witnesses

    Dando, Coral J.; Mattison, Michelle L. A.; University of Chester; University of Westminster (Taylor & Francis, 2019-09-19)
    Attempts to enhance episodic retrieval focus largely on verbal strategies which do not always address the limited or impaired free recall ability of vulnerable witnesses. Asking a witness to draw while recalling episodic information has long been deemed an effective method of improving communication and cognitive performance. Thus far, research has revealed these effects within laboratory settings but with scarce attention paid to real-life interview practice. In this paper, we explore police officers’ and Registered Intermediaries’ use of drawing during investigative interviews with vulnerable witnesses. A sample of specialist practitioners (n=85), comprising of vulnerable witness interviewing police officers (n=50) and Registered Intermediaries (n=35) completed a self-report questionnaire. As expected, frequent use of drawing was reported by both practitioner groups, and there was a positive correlation between reported use and perceived effectiveness. There were similarities between groups in reported techniques employed when using drawing, but some differences were apparent and these were attributed to the differing functions in police and Registered Intermediary roles. Overall, a consensus between empirical research and practice is evident, but these findings warrant further exploration in order to establish whether such practice is wide-spread.
  • Recruiting cancer survivors into research studies using online methods: a secondary analysis from an international cancer survivorship cohort study.

    Hulbert-Williams, Nicholas J.; Pendrous, Rosina; Hulbert-Williams, Lee; Swash, Brooke; University of Chester (ecancer Global Foundation, 2019-12-12)
    Recruiting participants into cancer survivorship research remains a significant challenge. Few studies have tested and compared the relative use of non-clinical online recruitment methods, especially in samples of adult cancer survivors. This paper reports on the feasibility of recruiting a representative cohort of cancer survivors using online social media. Two-hundred participants with a cancer diagnosis within the past 12 months were recruited via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit) into a longitudinal questionnaire study. Different methods of online recruitment proved to be more effective than others over time. Paid Facebook boosting, Reddit posts, and Twitter adverts placed by existing cancer charities proved most helpful in reaching our recruitment target (contributing 27%, 22% and 32% respectively). Recruiting online achieved a more demographically and clinically representative sample for our study: our sample was younger, less heteronormative, including those with a range of clinical diagnoses, primary and recurrence illness, and patients who had both completed and were still receiving treatment. This was certainly not a quick method of sample recruitment but that could have been optimised by focussing only on the three most effective methods describe earlier. Whilst we found that online recruitment is significantly lower cost than traditional recruitment methods, and can reduce some biases, there still remains the potential for some biases (e.g. excluding much older participants) and ethical/methodological issues (e.g. excluding those without access to the internet). We outline our recruitment strategy, retention rates, and a cost breakdown in order to guide other researchers considering such methods for future research in cancer survivorship.

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