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Ageing consumers' identity construction through consumption and practices

The PhD student will be required to conduct in-depth interviews with 30 ageing consumers over a period of 12 months, focusing on exploring and understanding how and what kind of consumption practices are being exercised and employed for the construction of their identity. In particular, focusing on how the concept of healthy ageing is evaluated and applied by ageing consumers, taking on a consumer-centric approach.

The PhD student would have already completed a relevant degree in the field of marketing, consumer behaviour and psychology and being awarded with merit or first, or have obtained an A grade for dissertation. The PhD students will need to be familiar with use Nvivo for qualitative data analysis and a good appetite for qualitative research.

Prior to application, the candidate is encouraged to email me a copy of his/her CV, together with a brief research proposal. The research proposal will need to include a brief introduction, a review of existing literature, wherein gaps are clearly identified, leading to the development of a couple of well-articulated research questions.

Michelle Barnhart, Lisa Peñaloza, Who Are You Calling Old? Negotiating Old Age Identity in the Elderly Consumption Ensemble, Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 39, Issue 6, 1 April 2013, Pages 1133–1153, https://doi.org/10.1086/668536

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)


Dorothy Yen - Dr Dorothy A. Yen is a Professor in Marketing at Brunel Business School, Brunel University London. Dorothy takes on a consumer-centric approach to understand and discuss marketing, branding, and tourism matters. Dorothy studies how culture affects human behaviour, in both b2b and b2c domains. In b2b domain, she looks at cross-cultural business relationships, with a particular focus on understanding how cultural specific factors affect business relationships and collaborations. In b2c domain, she studies consumer acculturation, sojourners and migrants consumption practices and social media activities in relation to their cultural identity, as well as tourism boycott and tourists' interactions with destinations on social media. Under her capacity as Associate Head (Teaching) from October 2018 to October 2021, Professor Yen demonstrated effective leadership in driving and improving the overall teaching quality at Brunel Business School.  Professor Yen is a member of the Marketing and Corporate Brand Research Group at Brunel Business School. Office hours are provided on a weekly basis. Students can email me to book an appointment at a mutually convenient time. This can be either on campus or via Microsoft TEAM upon mutual agreement.