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Research Support

An overview of the support that is offered for researchers by the University of Essex Library.

What was 'Newcomers Presents...'?

'Newcomers Presents...' was a webinar series designed in response to the Covid-19 lockdown. With researchers being suddenly unable to attend conferences to present their research, we set up the webinar series to offer the opportunity for postgraduates and early career researchers from the University of Essex to present their current research. The webinars were open for anyone to attend, and offered a chance to learn more about the great research going on at Essex. See below to catch up on previous webinars.

If you have any questions about our previous Newcomers Presents webinar series, or would be interested in us providing the opportunity to present your research in the future, please get in touch.

25 November 2021: Newcomers presents...

Inclusive evaluation of physical activity

‘Nothing about us without us’: Working with disabled people to identify accessible and inclusive ways of evaluating their participation in sport and physical activity

Sport and physical activity have the potential to transform lives, but existing tools used to evaluate disabled people’s participation in such occupations are typically inaccessible and not as inclusive as they could be. Consequently, sport and physical activity programmes struggle to demonstrate impact and ensure future sustainability. This can perpetuate inequalities in access to sport and physical activity for disabled people. In this presentation I will reflect on using a participatory action research approach, working with people with lived experience of disability as co-researchers, to explore more accessible and inclusive approaches to evaluating disabled people's sport and physical activity participation.


Beverley Goodman is in the third year of a full-time interdisciplinary PhD across the Schools of Health and Social Care and Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences. An HCPC-registered Occupational Therapist, Beverley also teaches across the BSc and MSc Occupational Therapy (pre-registration) programmes at Essex. Beverley’s PhD involves a Participatory Action Research project, working with a group of disabled people as co-researchers to explore more accessible and inclusive ways of evaluating disabled people’s participation in sport and physical activity.

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Forming the next generation of sustainability hospitality leaders

A Higher Education approach to preparing the next generations of sustainable hospitality and events leaders of the industry

This applied PhD research focuses on Sustainability Education in hospitality and events management degree programmes within an experiential learning context. The research explores the complexity of teaching and learning sustainability. My PhD argues that Sustainability Education can only be effective if such agenda forms the context within which hospitality education is delivered. Among others, elements of Transformational Learning are introduced to support the idea of sustainable practice through the implementation of Small-Scale Projects(SCP). These are seen as a learning laboratory, where learning of sustainability related matters is not confined to the classroom but extends it to external aspects of the student learning. The preliminary findings, based on secondary research support the idea that hospitality & events management courses be located within the overall context of sustainability, with Small-Scale Projects as the physical embodiment of such education. 


My name is Dimitri Lera, and I am an academic practitioner at the University of Essex. During my professional career I have managed a variety of international hospitality and event operations, and now in my academic role I am experiencing Hospitality and Events (H&E) from a different perspective as a lecturer at the Edge Hotel School and PhD researcher, both roles at the University of Essex. The Edge Hotel School has built its reputation in the industry thanks to its courses, which combine theoretical and experiential learning. Below, a brief overview of my PhD research and my Sustainability module,  this module is linked to my PhD project in sustainable H&E, and its overall aim is to help  the future leaders develop skills and competencies that will make them successful in a rapidly changing world.

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Nature Therapy & Recovering from Domestic Abuse

Exploring how nature-based therapy might be used to support people in their recovery from domestic abuse

This presentation will discuss how a nature-based therapeutic programme might be used to support the recovery of survivors of domestic abuse in respect of their health, well-being and resilience.

Nature connectedness and green care projects have been shown to mitigate against or help to ameliorate poor physical health and mental health issues in other groups of people impacted by trauma (e.g. Bragg, 2016). Although limited, there is some emerging research to suggest why this might be specifically beneficial for survivors of domestic abuse (e.g. Varning Poulsen et. al, 2020).

For this project, this has been explored in greater depth through the co-design and evaluation of a structured nature-based programme for survivors of domestic abuse & the presentation will highlight the rationale behind the project, the process of co-design and the findings from the pilot.


My name is Kirsty Shanks and I’m a third year PhD student. As a cross-disciplinary student I’m based across three different schools: SRES, Health & Social Care & Psychology. As described above, my research is focussed on exploring how nature-based therapies might be used to support people who have experienced domestic abuse. My interest in this topic stemmed from my background as a children’s social worker where I worked with lots of families who were impacted by domestic abuse. 

Culture representation in EFL classes

An Understanding of the appropriate representation of culture in EFL teaching context

This study aims to understand the appropriate representation of culture for Saudi secondary schools according to the students’ and their teachers’ opinions. Questionnaires, follow-up interviews, observations and textbook evaluation were used to collect data. Results showed that the participants were interested in including cultural items and a mixture of cultures. But, many difficulties undermined the effectiveness of the ways for teaching culture relevant to the students, teachers, and administration practices. Textbook evaluation showed that the participants’ preferences rarely coincided with their inclusion in their EFL textbooks. Furthermore, the ways for improving intercultural communication skills are purposefully neglected by or go unnoticed by the teachers.


My name is Maryam Alrashidi and I recently received my PhD award in applied linguistics, from the Language and linguistics department. I am interested in the representation of culture in EFL materials & intercultural communication.


9 December 2020: Newcomers presents...

Eco theatre and naturalism

Eco Theatre and the Limits of Naturalism

My presentation explores the potential and limitations of theatrical naturalism in raising environmental awareness in our current age of ecological crisis.  I introduce my concept of 'the naturalistic spectrum' which moves from a kind of 'pure' naturalism as prescribed by Emile Zola at one end, to a form of disrupted naturalism which admits elements of supernaturalism and the more-than-human at the other.  I will show how three contemporary plays in my study - Lucy Kirkwood's The Children (2016), Steve Waters' diptych The Contingency Plan (2020) and Caryl Churchill's Escaped Alone (2016) - occupy different parts of this naturalistic spectrum.  My chief research methodology is eco-dramaturgy which I contextualize as an off-shoot of the ecocritical turn.


Andrew is a playwright and since 2016 has been a fixed-term teacher in LiFTS, teaching playwriting and audio drama.  Andrew is in the second year of his full-time PhD research.  His research area is 'Dramaturgy in the End Times: theatre and performance in an age of ecological crisis'.

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Sharing of sexual health information

Understanding intergenerational sexual and reproductive health communication in a rural community of Malawi: An Ethnographic Participatory Action Research

This study aims to examine how sharing of sexual and reproductive health information has evolved among three generations (grandmothers, mothers and daughters) in relation to their views and experiences. It will also consider the broader historical, economic, and socio-political contexts that shape the intergenerational SRH communication experiences and sexual behaviours. Data will be collected using in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and observations, and analysed using Thematic analysis by Braun and Clarke (2006).


Lucia Collen is a Public Health Specialist with a 16-year background to teaching and research. She is a qualified nurse and midwife. Lucia is currently a PhD student in the School of Health and Social Care, supervised by Prof. Gill Green and Dr. Lindsey Nicholls. She has a Master of Science in Public Health from Glasgow Caledonian University. Lucia has a strong record of qualitative research on sexual and reproductive health and her master’s research was on ''Factors which influence sexual and reproductive healthcare seeking behaviour among young people: A qualitative exploratory study’’.  Lucia’s current PhD topic aims to explore sexual and reproductive health issues using Ethnographic Participatory Action research methods to gain an understanding on sexual and reproductive health communication from the perspective of three generations of women and girls in a rural community of Malawi.

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Advanced clinical practice - is it worth it?

What research has been conducted in UK settings with regard to the benefits of ‘Advanced Clinical Practice’ (ACP) Post-Graduate training and education for key stakeholders?

This systematic literature review aimed to establish what the evidence base is for claims made regarding the benefits and impact of Advanced Clinical Practice for key stakeholders in this field. Findings will be used to identify gaps in knowledge to inform the design of research undertaken in the author’s PhD studies to test the value and impact of ACP training and education.

The key findings were that there is general consensus on the definition, barriers and facilitators of ACP and that the clinical practice element of the role dominates  Variation is evident in the training and education, scope of practice, costs and regulation of ACP.  There is limited longitudinal evidence to support ACP.  The current evidence tends to rely on self-selection and self report and excludes parts of the diverse community of ACP.


Vikki-Jo is currently undertaking her PhD in Health Studies part-time alongside her continued work for the University as Senior Lecturer in the School of Health & Social Care focusing on continuing professional development programmes for registered health care professionals.  Vikki-Jo is also a critical care nurse and has combined her studies and university work with returning to clinical practice during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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7 December 2020: Newcomers presents...

Polls and the US Presidential elections

Did the polls get it wrong? Polls, models and forecasting in the 2020 USA Presidential elections

Pre-election polls and models had anticipated a comfortable victory for Joe Biden. However, it took several days to confirm that de Democratic Presidential candidate had crossed the threshold of 270 delegates. The uncertainty about the final election outcome has spread the feeling that the pre-election polls failed again. The preliminary analysis of the 2020 polls performance shows that most of the national polls were within the expected margin of error. Nevertheless, in some states the voting estimates deviate more than what it would be desirable from the final results. In this presentation I analyse possible reasons that explain the deviation between the polls and the final results.


Pablo Cabrera Álvarez is a Senior Research Officer at the Institute for Economic and Social Research. He recently joined the Understanding Society team responsible for the UK Household Longitudinal Survey where works researching several aspects of survey response and data quality. Pablo holds a master’s in Survey Methods for Social Research and is about to complete a PhD in Social Sciences about inference from non-probability samples. Previously, he worked as a Survey Statistician at NatCen Social Research where he participated in some research projects related to public opinion like the British Social Attitudes Survey or a probability panel survey about the Brexit referendum.

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Statistical controversies: sampling and quantification

Sociology of Statistical Controversies

In this presentation, I will talk about the topic of my research, its rationale, methodology, and some preliminary findings. In different case studies, this research investigates different disputes over method in statistics, such as a controversy regarding the justification for inference from non-probability samples. As part of this research, I conduct interviews with statisticians and other stakeholders to get insights into their interpretations and perspectives towards these controversies. The presentation will explore why sociological and philosophical inquiry into the field of statistics is of crucial relevance for our time and how it can help to better understand current developments.


Lukas Griessl is a Ph.D. student in Sociology at the University of Essex, supervised by Linsey McGoey and Nick Allum. His research is concerned with controversies surrounding methodological decisions, uncertainty, and non-knowledge in the fabrication of statistical numbers. Before joining Essex, Lukas completed undergraduate studies in Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, a master’s in Philosophy and Sociology of Science at the University of Exeter and a master’s in Philosophy of the Social Sciences at LSE. His research is funded by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. | Profile

Tech company responsibility during Covid-19

The responsibility of tech companies during Covid-19 and beyond

Technology companies have been playing a key role during COVID-19 from assisting state responses to improving quality of life during lockdown. These companies are providing means of communication, work, education, social and cultural life that would otherwise be impossible. As tech companies are now playing an essential facilitating role in enabling human rights in this way, a key question emerges: Should tech companies facilitating essential services bear special responsibilities?


Sabrina Rau is a Senior Research Officer in the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology (HRBDT) project based at the law School at the University of Essex. Her work focuses primarily on rights, regulation and remedies and the role of business in the digital age. Sabrina’s current research revolves around the role of consent online, the operationalization of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for tech related activities, and effective remedy in the tech sector for those subjected to business-related human rights abuse. Sabrina holds a BA from the University of Toronto in political science and environmental studies and an LLM in international human rights and humanitarian law from the University of Essex.

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Full-Duplex Communication Systems

With exponential increase in data, the need for higher data capabilities in communication system and mobile network in 5G and 6G is inevitable. Full-duplex communication system has the capability to double the bandwidth by transmitting and receiving in the same frequency band at the same time.

In this presentation, potential and challenges of full-duplex communication systems will be considered. Self-interference as the main challenge and various methods to suppress this effect, at different stage including antenna and digital will be reviewed. Some novel techniques will be introduced considering polarisation and antenna structure, in addition to different component, feeding network and surfaces to this end.


Shahin is currently a PhD Candidate at University of Essex, Computer Science and Electronic Engineering Department, RF and Microwave Research Lab, supervised by Professor Dariush Mirshekar-Syahkal. The main focus of his PhD has been in the field of RF, microwave and communication systems, Specifically Antenna Design for Full-duplex communication Systems. Shahin has recently worked on a Research and Development project, as a KTP Associate, with main focus on Planar Antenna design for Satellite Communication. Shahin has experience of Teaching in the CSEE for different modules, and managed to obtain the Fellowship of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Shahin's Master degree was in Electrical Engineering-Communications-Fields which was a combination of taught modules and a research project in Plasmonic waveguides and couplers, from Iran University of Science and Technology. Prior to that, Shahin graduated from Mazandaran University, with a Bachelor in Electronics.

LinkedIn | Student profile

9 June 2020: Newcomers Presents...

Personal budgets' impact on carers

Exploring social inclusion and participation: assessing the impact of the Care Act (2014) on the social experience of being a carer - Kathryn Chard

Photo of KathrynThe Care Act (2014) is a piece of adult social care law which gives people with caring responsibilities, referred to as carers; an entitlement to public funds in the form of direct payments to promote their wellbeing.
Direct payments are promoted as way to facilitate their involvement in society, such as access to employment, education and leisure.
Applying a mixed methodology design this paper will present key findings from the quantitative and qualitative elements of my study in order to assess the extent to which the new provisions for carers under the Care Act (2014) can achieve their aim.

Kathryn Chard is a third year PhD student in the School of Health and Social Care. Kathryn's research is assessing a piece of Adult Social Care law called the Care Act (2014). In particular, Kathryn is examining the extent to which the Care Act can promote the wellbeing of carers through the use of personal budgets. Wellbeing is defined by the Act in relation to a series of social indicators, encompassing economic and social inclusion such as access to employment, education and leisure.  

Kathryn's background is in social work and she has spent a number of years in roles where she has worked on the implementation of the Act in relation to carers rights under the law and experienced first-hand the challenges of implementation against a backdrop of cuts to Local Government. The Care Act claims that personal budgets will improve wellbeing (s1, 2014). 

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Two person neuroscience

Hyperscanning which is measuring the neural synchronisation in brain activity of multiple people simultaneously - Priyasha Khurana

Priyasha Khurana is an undergraduate student studying Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience. Priyasha is currently in their placement year. Priyasha's main area of interest in research is Neural synchrony and measuring the brain activity of two people simultaneously (process known as hyperscanning); when they are engaging in a social interaction such as verbal communication. Priyasha has previously worked on EEG (Electro-encephalography) and eye-tracking psychology experiments as a research assistant in the psychology department, University of Essex. Priyasha also worked as an assistant clinical psychologist in Southend University Hospital, NHS foundation trust. This year, Priyasha has been mainly working with Dr Megan Klabunde on her fNIRS hyperscanning studies. Priyasha is also a Research Assistant at the Social Neuroscience Lab in Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London performing analysis on fNIRS data with Professor Antonia Hamilton.

Bolivian indigenous history

Elite constructions of race and space in pre-revolutionary Bolivia (1920-1950) - Olivia Arigho-Stiles

Olivia Arigho-Stiles is a second year PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex. Her CHASE-AHRC supported project examines the history of ecological thought within highland indigenous movements in twentieth century Bolivia.

Corporate political strategies

The role of Managerial-Regulatory Ties in legitimacy-building - Adebola-Akande Oluwatosin

Photo of OluwatosinThere is a dearth of research on the antecedents and mechanisms deployed by firms to improve the nature of their regulatory environments, when building legitimacy in institutionally challenging contexts (Grier, Munger, & Roberts, 1994, Hillman, Keim & Schuler, 2004). While legislatures enact policies, the role of the regulatory agencies in operating under legislative oversight to interpret, implement, and enforce statutes, through the design of administrative regulations, cannot be over-emphasised. This presentation integrates social capital and institutional theories to explore the antecedents and mechanisms deployed by firms to improve the nature of their regulatory environments when building legitimacy.

Oluwatosin Akande is a third year PhD student at the Essex Business school. Her research focuses on business-government relations, corporate governance, strategy and international business. She has presented her research papers in conferences such as the 46th Academy of international Business UK and Ireland chapter conference.

She has a strong background in economics, management, strategy and business administration. She holds a BSc in business administration from the University of Exeter and MSc in Business organisation science from Warwick Business school. She is a recipient of the Exeter Leaders Award.

Oluwatosin has rich industry experience, having worked in management consulting, and as a research officer for the UK’s largest independent advice provider, and a nuclear energy power plant. She is currently a graduate teaching assistant in modules such ‘International business strategies’, ‘Business Research Methods’, ‘International business environment’ and ‘Organisational behaviour’.


28 May 2020: Newcomers presents...

South Asian women's identity

An intergenerational study of the relationship between South Asian Grandmothers, Mothers and Daughters in the UK - Nahida HussainPhoto of Nahida

This study aims to examine how the South Asian Woman (SAW) has evolved from generation one to generation three, in terms of her identity, practice and experience of being a mother, and her experience of being mothered. This research will provide an insight into the social, cultural, and religious aspects of mothering and how these are passed on from one generation to another. Qualitative in-depth interviews will be used to collect data from the 3 generation of women from the same family. Thematic analysis will highlight the main themes from the research.

Nahida Hussain is a PhD student at the University of Essex, Sociology Department, supervised by Ayse Guveli and Mike Roper. Her research interests are driven by her background in sociology and her passion in understanding her own identity as a second-generation South Asian woman. Nahida is a mature student, returning to study after more than 20 years. She has a master’s in Research Methods and has worked as a lecturer in sociology for many years. She continues to teach in Higher Education. Nahida has two teenage children and finally feels she has the time to develop her career further.

Tutor profile | Student profile | LinkedIn profile


ESG rating and bank stability

Do ESG (environmental, social, and governance) strategies enhance bank stability during financial turmoil? Evidence from Europe - Stefano Piserà

Stefano Piserà is a PhD candidate in “Managerial and actuarial sciences” at the Universities of Udine and Trieste (Italy), postgraduate researcher and a research assistant at the Essex Business School, Department of Finance. His academic career includes a bachelor’s degree in “Political science and administration” (University of Genoa) and a master’s degree in “Economics, politics and international organizations” (University of Pavia). In 2018 he won a scholarship to attend a Master of Science in “Finance: markets, instruments and sustainability” (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan). He also had the opportunity of a four months research internship at the Center for European Policy Studies in Bruxelles, in the international finance department. As a PHD student, he is focusing on a research project on the implications of ESG factors on financial markets and institutions.

Microbiology, astrobiology, and limits of life

There is no record on the origin of life and setting up an experiment is not so easy. It is even difficult to define life, as we all are in lockdown because of something still debated to be a living organism. However, there seems to be a way to dig into this mysterious question: microbes living in extreme environments - Maria Magliulo

Image of MariaFrom the evaporation of salty waters, salt crystals precipitate and grow in their fascinating square shape. Embedded in each layer, there are little pockets of brine inclusions, in which microorganisms get entrapped. Halobacterium salinarum (a microbe belonging to the domain Archaea) survives in this microenvironment for a very long time: evidence for survival over millions of years is growing, while evidence for survival over tens of thousands of years is almost unequivocal. The remarkable abilities of this microbe make it a good model to investigate limits of life on Earth, and look through this lens salt-rich deposits on Mars.

Maria Magliulo, is a 2nd year PhD student in Microbiology, in the Department of Life Sciences.  

A more general interest in how life evolved originally led her to a graduate career in Molecular Biology. The big number of highly diversified metabolic pathways made her realize that to satisfy her scientific curiosity she would have needed to “zoom out” from this “micro” perspective. So, she improved her studies in Ecology in order to get a more comprehensive idea of “macro” processes, thus tracing the co-evolutionary feedbacks between the biological and geological world (perhaps, back to the origin of life).  

She is currently involved in the Saltgiant European Training Network. As part of this network, her work aims to understand the survival of halophilic microbial communities inside the brine inclusions of halite, providing a model system for investigating the conditions that could have preserved traces of life in evaporites both on Earth and Mars.


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