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Research Overview

We draw on diverse disciplinary and subject expertise from sociology, psychology, human geography, anthropology and policy analysis to undertake high quality research and evaluations that address welfare, health and wellbeing across the life course. Our specialisms include research into: 

Health behaviour, experiences and interventions
Our research into health behaviour, experiences and interventions adopts diverse approaches to understanding key health and illness challenges in the UK and globally. Our work includes studies that address lifestyle behaviours that influence health, including eating behaviours, physical activity and sexual health; experiences and adaptations to chronic illness; health and healthcare across the life course including older age; health messaging and promotion; and the ethics and practice of healthcare. We draw on clinical and research experience across diverse disciplines including public health, occupational therapy, health psychology and sociology of health to work with and inform the work of health providers and policymakers. 

Sport, health and wellbeing
Our sport, health and wellbeing research continues Brunel’s long track record in social science and multi-disciplinary analysis of sport and physical activity. We aim to increase understanding of the role of sport, health and wellbeing in social life, with a particular focus on addressing social inequalities and the situations of vulnerable and marginalised groups. Our work includes analyses of sport, physical activity and health; sport, diversity and inclusion; sport, culture and wellbeing; and a world-renowned body of work on child safeguarding in sport. We work with policy makers and practitioners in and beyond sport including health, education and development contexts.

Social change and wellbeing in the global south
We have a highly regarded programme of work examining themes of health, welfare and wellbeing in the global south. We conduct research in a number of countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as well as diasporic communities from the global south now resident in the United Kingdom. Much of this research explores processes of social change and their entanglement with cultural and political transformations. Our research investigates the ways in which changes are brought about intentionally, or otherwise, as a result of policies, interventions and practices including, for instance, education, health and social policy, and specific interventions such as sport for development projects. Methodologically, our research is predominantly qualitative, including innovative arts-based methods.

Youth welfare, health and wellbeing
We have an internationally recognised track record for our extensive research into the health and wellbeing of young people. Our research includes several projects on anti-violence or sexual exploitation; studies with practitioners who work with young people; projects informing youth development work in international locations; and some work with young adults on policy or media representation issues,. Members of this group share a strong commitment to social justice and to participative or collaborative research approaches, sometimes in international teams.

Media, communication and representation
This strand of research is concerned with the role of the media in shaping representation of health, well-being and social issues and the implications of this at a personal, social, political and policy level. We draw on a range of interdisciplinary theories and methods to undertake analysis of media strategies, production, output and audience reception. We use creative methodologies to track the nature of coverage and public engagement and address inequalities of access, including exploring the possibilities of advancing social justice through the involvement of people outside mainstream contexts in media, communication and representational strategies.

Our specialist research embraces the social, psychological and physical, dimensions of wellbeing and the political, economic and cultural contexts of wellbeing policy and practice. Researchers focused on wellbeing are concerned with wellbeing diversity and inequality across the lifecourse, use a range of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods techniques, and explore multi- and interdisciplinary theoretical approaches in their work. The findings of our wellbeing research inform policies and practices associated with wellbeing in community, national and international perspectives.