Social Research for our Times

Thomas Coram Research Unit past, present and future

Edited by Claire Cameron, Alison Koslowski, Alison Lamont, and Peter Moss


ISBN: 9781800084056

Publication: November 06, 2023

For 50 years, researchers at UCL’s Thomas Coram Research Unit have been undertaking ground-breaking policy-relevant social research. Their main focus has been social issues affecting children, young people and families, and the services provided for them. Social Research for our Times brings together different generations of researchers from the Unit to share some of the most important results of their studies. Two sections focus on the main findings and conclusions from research into children and children services, and on family life, minoritised groups and gender. A third is then devoted to the innovative methods that have been developed and used to undertake research in these complex areas. Running through the book is a key strategic question: what should be the relationship between research and policy? Or put another way, what does ‘policy relevant research’ mean? This perennial question has gained new importance in the post-Covid, post-Brexit world that we have entered, making this text a timely intervention for sharing decades of experience. Taking a unique opportunity to reflect on research context as well as research findings, this book will be of interest to researchers, teachers, students and those involved in policy making both in and beyond dedicated research units, and can be read as a whole or sampled for individual standalone chapters.

Claire Cameron is Professor of Social Pedagogy at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL.

Alison Koslowski is Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL.

Alison Lamont is a Lecturer (Teaching) in Sociology at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL.

Peter Moss is Emeritus Professor of Early Childhood Provision at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL.

List of figures and tables
Notes on contributors
Foreword - Mavis Maclean

1 Social research and spaces for possibility: an introduction to the Thomas Coram Research Unit and the book
Claire Cameron, Alison Koslowski, Alison Lamont and Peter Moss

Part I: Services and policies for children, young people and families

Claire Cameron

2 Jack Tizard and Children’s Centres: visions for policy-relevant social research and transforming early childhood services
Peter Moss

3 Which way for the ‘care’ workforce?
Antonia Simon, Charlie Owen, Claire Cameron and Peter Moss

4 Introducing social pedagogy for children in care in the UK: from policy to research and from research to policy?
Pat Petrie, Claire Cameron, Helen Jones and Robyn Kemp

5 Educating children in out-of-home care: forty years of research and action
Sonia Jackson and Claire Cameron

6 Child abuse and neglect: how can healthcare services enact a public-health approach?
Jenny Woodman

7 The development of an international research field: the case of parenting leaves
Alison Koslowski, Margaret O’Brien and Katherine Twamley

Part II: Family life, gender and minority communities

Alison Koslowski

8 Young people, diversity, wellbeing and inclusion: towards values‑led research and practice
Peter Aggleton, Elaine Chase and Ian Warwick

9 Children and young people navigating a complex world: coping, motivation and resilience
Katie Quy, Lisa Fridkin and Marjorie Smith

10 Minority stress in same-sex-parented families: extending minority‑stress theory to the family level
Mário A. Tombolato, Isabel C. Gomes, and David M. Frost

11 Life-course transitions and global migration: conceptual reflections on the biographical trajectories of young African migrants in Italy
Michela Franceschelli

12 My name is not ‘asylum seeker’: countering silencing, unhearing and labelling in the UK asylum system through co-research
Mette Louise Berg, Eve Dickson, Faith Nyamakanga and Nelson Gómez.
Photos by Rasha Kotaiche

13 Change and continuity in men’s fathering and employment practices: a slow gender revolution?
Julia Brannen, Charlotte Faircloth, Catherine Jones, Margaret O’Brien and Katherine Twamley

Part III: Innovative social-research methodologies

Alison Lamont

14 Collecting stories of identity and culture with young people: the Synallactic Collective Image Technique
Humera Iqbal, Sarah Crafter and Evangelia Prokopiou

15 Politics, position and personality in ethnographic research: a conversation and a response
Jonathan Galton, Ashraf Hoque and Victoria Redclift

16 Designing ways of listening to young children: the development and growth of the Mosaic approach
Alison Clark

17 Research with children in changing families
Catherine Jones, Sophie Zadeh and Susan Imrie

18 International collaboration: practice and praxis
Julia Brannen and Rebecca O’Connell

19 Participatory childhood research: histories, presents and reflections
Veena Meetoo, Hanan Hauari and Ann Phoenix

20 TCRU at 50: conclusion
Alison Lamont, Claire Cameron, Alison Koslowski and Peter Moss


Format: Hardback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

416 Pages

1 chart, 13 colour photo/halftones, and 4 figures

ISBN: 9781800084056

Publication: November 06, 2023

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