Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am always happy to be contacted by potential PhD or professional doctorate students in childhood studies or disability. I am also the first port of call in the Faculty of Health and Society for individuals interested in undertaking a PhD, MPhil or Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care, and can help to direct you to potential supervisors.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Dr Michelle Pyer is a Senior Researcher and Postgraduate Research Lead within the Faculty of Health and Society. Michelle specialises in research with children, and service evaluations. She has published widely in these areas, including a recent book ‘Children, Young People and Care’ (Routledge: 2017) with John Horton. She is currently working on an Erasmus+ funded project (‘CyGen’), which focusses on the promotion of children’s digital literacy through education. Through close partnership working with children, teachers and relevant stakeholders, an educational online platform will be developed to support teachers to teach digital literacy in the classroom. Michelle is also currently training to become a play therapist, and as such is used to working alongside children to explore creative arts, including music. She has a particular interest in participatory methods, and is particularly proactive in developing projects which engage members of the public in their development. Her PhD research considered the impact of particular spaces on the leisure and wellbeing of teenage wheelchair users. Michelle has worked on a number of research projects in relation to the needs of carers and families of disabled people in both third sector and local authority contexts and has wide ranging experience of working in home environments as a family support worker for children with additional needs. She has been an expert member of an Midlands NHS Research Ethics Committee, and is currently a member of the University's Research Ethics Committee. As part of her work Michelle regularly provides support and guidance to researchers applying for ethical review.


Research Interests

Michelle has completed research and evaluation projects on a wide variety of subject areas. Her PhD research (completed in 2009) focused on access issues for teenage wheelchair users. Her particular research interests include:

  • Research ethics
  • Service evaluation
  • Patient and public involvement
  • Children and Young People’s Participation
  • Children’s geographies
  • Childhood disability



Sarah Cross: Endotracheal intubation by paramedics in the urgent and emergency care environment.

Tracey Barnfather: Midwives perspectives on the use of the lithotomy position during labour.

Karen Brasher: Young people and authenticity.

Debbie Kilsby: Transitions to parenthood; care experienced young fathers' perspectives.

Jacqueline Dalton: How are community service providers hearing the voices of teenagers and what are the impact of these on service design and delivery in Northamptonshire during a time of austerity?

Nicola Smithers: Decision making for critically ill babies and parents experiences of the decision making process.


Diana Schack-Thoft (completed 2017): Involving people with early-stage dementia in qualitative research about their lifeworld perspectives: Development of a participatory research model. PhD.

Carol Rooney (completed 2017): Resilience in Nursing staff in secure environments - a concept analysis. Doctor of Professional Practice. 

Kim Woodbridge-Dodd (completed 2017): A discursive study of how Mental Health Social Workers constructed their professional selves within the context of National Health Service Mental Health Services. Doctor of Professional Practice.

Wendy Turner (completed 2017): Health literacy in the lives of young people in England: a participatory study. Doctor of Professional Practice.

Angie Bartoli (completed 2017): Moving on: The transition from social work practitioner to first-line manager. Doctor of Professional Practice.

Teaching Interests

Michelle delivers research methods and ethics sessions to a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. She is programme leader for the Doctorate in Professional Practice in Health and Social Care and oversees the Faculty of Health and Society Researcher Development Programme.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Postgraduate Certificate, Teaching in Higher Education, University of Northampton

Award Date: 31 Mar 2016

PhD, PhD research considered the impact of particular spaces on the leisure and wellbeing of teenage wheelchair users.

Bachelor, BA Hons Human Geography (with Education), University of Northampton


  • G Geography (General)
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • BJ Ethics


Dive into the research topics where Michelle Pyer is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles