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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.

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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.

Education/Academic qualification

University of Northampton


Bachelor, University of Northampton


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

Fingerprint 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.

  • 3 Similar Profiles
childhood Social Sciences
Nurses Medicine & Life Sciences
parents Social Sciences
experience Social Sciences
disability Social Sciences
evaluation Social Sciences
health Social Sciences
Pregnancy in Adolescence Medicine & Life Sciences

Research Output 2008 2018

A community event to raise awareness and understanding of dementia

Ward, A., Pyer, M., Parkes, J. & Hughes-Rowland, R., 1 Mar 2018, In : Journal of Dementia Care. 26, 2, p. 18-19 2 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Open Access
Practice (Psychology)
Open Access
Primary Health Care
General Practitioners
Control Groups
General Practice

The Balanced Participation Model: Sharing opportunities for giving people with early-stage dementia a voice in research

Schack Thoft, D., Pyer, M., Horsbol, A. & Parkes, J., 26 Dec 2018, In : Dementia. p. 0-20 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Open Access
research project

‘Am I a student or a Health Care Assistant?’ A qualitative evaluation of a programme of pre‐nursing care experience

Whiffin, C. J., Baker, D., Henshaw, L., Nichols, J. & Pyer, M., 1 Nov 2018, In : Journal of Advanced Nursing. 74, 11, p. 2610-2621 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Open Access
Delivery of Health Care
Focus Groups

Children, Young People and Care

Horton, J. (ed.) & Pyer, M. (ed.), 28 Apr 2017, 1 ed. Routledge. 274 p. (Routledge Spaces of Childhood and Youth Series)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Health and wellbeing amongst older people research in Northamptonshire

Poole, H., Sixsmith, J., Parkes, J., Ward, A., Pyer, M., Campbell, J., Machado, L., Rehling, T., Youell, J., Carter, J., Oyebode, J., O’Malley, M., Anthony, K., Rogers, S., Jones, J., Siddons, L., Smith, L-A., Kay, T., Fraser, M., Score, J. & 8 others, El Khoury, L., Hameed, A., Albalbeisi, N., Durrant, L. G., Al-Zubaidi, R., Al-Rayahi, I., da Silva, K. & Taylor, J., 1 Aug 2017, In : East Midlands Research into Ageing Network (EMRAN) Discussion Paper Series. 15

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Open Access
research practice
Open Access
Leisure Activities
Motor Vehicles

Promoting early presentation of breast cancer in women over 70 years old in general practice

Campbell, J., Pyer, M., Rogers, S., Jones, J., Ramirez, A. J. & Forbes, L. J. L., 17 Oct 2016, In : Journal of Public Health. 38, 2

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Open Access
General Practice
Breast Neoplasms
Primary Health Care

Activities 2012 2012

  • 1 Participating in a conference or workshop

43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health, of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

Jackie Campbell (Participant), Stephen Rogers (Participant), Michelle Pyer (Participant), R Reddy (Participant)
15 Nov 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising a conference or workshopParticipating in a conference or workshopResearch


Helping Northampton Filmhouse become more dementia friendly through the Dementia Friendly Organisation Awards

Alison Ward (Principal Investigator), Michelle Pyer (Principal Investigator), Kathleen Mortimer (Facilitator)

Impact: 03: Good Health and Well-Being (UN SDG), Cultural impacts, Quality of life impacts, Health and Well-Being impacts



An investigation of endotracheal intubation and alternative intubation devices for use by paramedics in out-of-hospital care

Author: Cross, S., 2019

Supervisor: Campbell, J. (Supervisor) & Pyer, M. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The difference that difference makes: leisure, space and teenage wheelchair users

Author: Pyer, M., 2009

Supervisor: Horton, J. (Supervisor) & Tucker, F. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis