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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Karen Broadhurst supervises 2 postgraduate research students. Some of the students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Professor Karen Broadhurst

Professor of Social Work

Karen Broadhurst


Tel: +44 1524 594126

Research Interests

I returned to Lancaster University in August 2015 as Professor of Social Work and Socio-Legal Studies, having previously worked for the University as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer between 2003 and 2013. The interim was spent at the University of Manchester in the Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences as Senior Lecturer. I am a registered social worker with undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in social science and continue to remain closely engaged with practice as a partner in the Family Drug and Alcohol Court National Unit, currently funded by the Department of Education and led by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London.


I have a passionate interest in family justice – both in a narrow sense regarding the operation of the family courts (nationally and internationally) and in a broad sense regarding families and social justice concerns. I am currently serving as Principal and Co-Investigator on two linked Nuffield Foundation funded projects (2014-2017) focused on public law proceedings (repeat clients and care proceedings; supervision orders and family reunification; special guardianship). Details of the recurrent care/birth mothers project are available at: http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/vulnerable-birth-mothers-and-recurrent-care-proceedings. I am also leading the design and evaluation of a novel pathway within the National Family Drug and Alcohol Court that aims to provide intensive support to women and their partners, who have previously lost children through court-order to public care and adoption. My work is widely published in a range of social science, social policy and law journals.


Regarding methodology, I am committed to innovative mixed methods research, secondary analysis of administrative data and exploratory data linkage. I am Co-Editor-in Chief of Qualitative Social Work with my colleague Karen Staller (University of Michigan):http://qsw.sagepub.com. I have extensive experience of doctoral research and welcome applications from students interested in pursuing studies broadly relating to state support for families, child protection, the family court, therapeutic court models; children and young people in and leaving care. I am currently Director of Doctoral Research for Social Work (including the ESRC doctoral pathway for social work within the North West Doctoral Training Centre) within the Department of Sociology. I also convene “Advances in Child Protection” for qualified social workers and contribute to a number of other courses in the Department.

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