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Ian Paylor supervises 5 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Ian Paylor

Senior Lecturer

Ian Paylor


Tel: +44 1524 594127

Research Interests

I established the Applied Social Science Unit for Research and Evaluation (ASSURE) in 1999 to create an exchange between practitioners in the social care and welfare world and those who comment upon it. It is a cross-disciplinary unit that works in partnership with the third and statutory sectors offering them support to carry out their own projects, through capacity building and training, as well as full evaluation and research services.

The ASSURE team have the expertise and flexibility to meet a wide range of needs: from the most complex of assessments to smaller programme evaluations with limited resources. No matter the size of the project, our approach is careful and client-centred. We can offer a standard external evaluation process or engage to a greater degree with stakeholders, practitioners and managers to increase their skill level through structured reflection, analysis and facilitated learning to gain a greater insight into how to monitor and evidence a programme's impact and potential for replication.

ASSURE members consider it important that the commissioning body receives the type of output that is most appropriate to its needs. In some cases this may not be a final report but a series on interim presentations and short 'feed-back' reports delivered to managers and practitioners. These may be followed up with ASSURE facilitated events to consolidate the findings, consider their implication before moving onto the next stage of development. Other modes and outputs have been developed with stakeholders and practitioners as part of the evaluation process. In several cases these tailor made processes have enabled stakeholders and partnership members to take a greater ownership of the programme that has, in the long term, increased its sustainability.

Complimentary to the evaluation services is programme defined research. This in the past has at times been in response to questions raised by the commissioning body as a result of an evaluation. On other occasion the research has taken the form of research support for those practitioners who wish to do the research themselves - a model currently being promoted by the Big Lottery Fund. These models offer robust research produced through coproduction and partnerships between Lancaster University and people in the community, voluntary, third and statutory sectors.

Once again the outcomes of the process are tailor made to meet the requirements of the commissioning body rather than following academic tradition. In preparation for a super casino bid we conducted a social impact assessment, one of the first of its kind in this country. Following on from this we completed a time limited review of relevant literature on gambling for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Similar scoping exercises have been requested by other bodies since this time.

ASSURE operates in a live environment and it is rare that the reports produced do not have a direct impact on the policy or practice of the commissioning body.

In a number of cases the process has been taken from findings to practice through ASSURE team members into conference, meeting and training facilitation.

ASSURE is available to clients to provide evaluation and research services for a wide-range of areas, including:

  • Third sector service provision
  • Social enterprise
  • Children's Services
  • Social Services
  • Drug Services
  • Policing and police authorities
  • Education
  • Health
  • Transport
  • Community consultation - design, planning and application
  • Youth support - community, youth offending (YOTs) and Youth Offending Institutions (YOIs)

Current Teaching


BA Social Work: Social Work and Drug Use

BA Social Work:Social Work andYoung People



MA Social Work: Social Work and Drug Use

MA Social Work: Social Work and Young People

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