Thomas Coram Research Unit
Leaders of research into children, parenting and families since 1973.
The Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU) is highly regarded for policy impact, our research projects utilise a variety of innovative social research methods ranging from ethnographic studies of children's everyday lives to international comparisons of parental leave policies and impact studies of services for children and families. We are strongly international in our collaborations and networks.
TCRU was established in 1973 by the psychologist Professor Jack Tizard and grew out of a critique of the institutionalization of the care of young children in health and education settings.
We have a long history and expertise in researching those children and families that are most vulnerable to economic and social adversity. Today we have expertise in a wide range of research methods and a particular tradition in cross-national and multi-method research designs.
- Who we are
Margaret O'Brien, Professor of Child and Family Policy
Mette Louise Berg, Senior Lecturer
Julia Brannen, Professor in the Sociology of the Family
Claire Cameron, Professor of Social Pedagogy and Deputy Director
Emily Emmott, Research Officer
Charlotte Faircloth, Lecturer in Sociology of Gender
Michela Franceschelli, Lecturer in Sociology
David Frost, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology
Hanan Hauari, Research Officer
Katie Hollingworth, Research Officer
Humera Iqbal, Lecturer in Psychology
Abigail Knight, Lecturer in Sociology
Agnieszka Kubal, Lecturer in Sociology
Veena Meetoo, Research Officer
Katherine Twamley, Senior Lecturer in Sociology
Margaret O’Brien, Professor and Director of TCRU
Rebecca O'Connell, Reader in the Anthropology and Sociology of the Family
Christine Oliver, Research Officer
Charlie Owen, Senior Research Officer
Ann Phoenix, Professor in Psychosocial Studies
Katie Quy, Lecturer in Psychology
Jenny Woodman, Lecturer in Child and Family Policy
Sonia Jackson, Professor of Social Studies and Education
Peter Moss, Professor in Early Childhood Provision
Pat Petrie, Professor in Education
Marjorie Smith, Professor of the Psychology of the Family
June Statham, Professor of Education and Family Support
Ian St James Roberts, Professor in Development Psychology
Professional Support Staff
Cécile Brémont, Research Project Administrator, FFHT project
Rosi Hirst, Academic Administrator and PA to Professor David Voas
Lewis Smith, Project Manager, Social Pedagogy Professional Association (SPPA)
Affiliate Academics accepted by TCRU are persons normally holding established academic posts overseas in institutions of higher education. Their admission to UCL is based upon an application to pursue their work in a particular field of research in one of UCL's Departments, with collaboration and consultation with members of TCRU and the department as appropriate.
In the first instance applicants should contact the person in TCRU they wish to collaborate with. Note that UCL operates a “bench fee” financial arrangement for visitors.
For other general enquiries email: email@example.com
Visiting Professors and Researchers
Alison Clark, Professor in Early Childhood
Heather Elliot, Research Officer
Petteri Eerola, Senior Researcher
Ann Nilsen, Professor in Sociology of the Family
Helen Penn, Professor of Early Childhood
Jane Ribbens, Professor in Sociology of the Family
Find more about our researchers, publications, activities, groups and themes: UCL Research Portal, IRIS
- Study with us
We teach and supervise undergraduate, masters, PhD and post-doctoral students across the social sciences.
Students on this course learn to understand and analyse complex global and social issues, gain multi-disciplinary training in research skills, and learn how different research methods contribute to understanding real world phenomena. Students conduct an independent research project for their dissertation in the third year.
TCRU offers and rich and supportive research culture for doctoral students.
Applications to undertake PhD training and research in any of our areas of interest are welcome. Our work falls under eight broad thematic areas and supervisors welcome enquiries that fall within these theoretical and methodological areas.
Students also benefit from the range of training in established and innovative methods that is built upon our ESRC funded NOVELLA programme. This includes new methods of re-analysis of qualitative data including narrative, oral history, paradata and archival data. As well as secondary analysis of large scale data sets, biographical-narrative methods, ethnography, policy analysis techniques.
Our research unit attracts students from all over the world and from diverse backgrounds. They study either part-time or full-time. Students may take a number of different doctoral pathways, for example, choosing either the face-to-face MPhil/PhD in Social Science or the online Education MPhil/PhD.
Our students are strongly encouraged to embed themselves into the department research culture by attending our regular seminars where they can find out more about the work of world renowned experts in the fields. They can also join the department reading group and students are encouraged to created their own study groups.
- Seminar series
- About our research
We are experts in cross-national research and we have a strong policy influence not only within the UK but also across nations.
We use a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods to ensure that our research is rigorous and impactful. Our methodological expertise include narrative analysis, ethnographies, visual and participatory methods, historical and archival analysis, systematic reviews, secondary analysis of complex datasets, survey design and analysis.
- Early Childhood Education and Care
- Food and Environment
- Gender, Work and Family
- Health and Wellbeing of Children and Families
- Intimacies, Relationships and Identities
- Inequality, Intersectionality and Intergenerational Relations
- Migration, Mobility and Diversity
- Social Pedagogy
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