School of Health Sciences

Image of Alison Edgley

Alison Edgley

Associate Professor of Social Sciences in Health Researcher in Residence Researcher Academy, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



I am Researcher in Residence for the Researcher Academy and Associate Professor of Social Science and Health in the School of Health Science since 2002. As Researcher in Residence I am building a decolonising and diversifying initiative to encourage the use of reflexive, transparent study design and affirming methodologies (Nakhid & Farrugia). This work guides STEM, social science and humanities researchers across the University towards ethical and epistemological debates, including epistemologies of the so called 'south'. These debates make explicit, assumptions that can may sit within and beneath study designs. These workshops aspire to engender in our research community a sense of excellence, intersectional justice, planetary care, robust, inclusive and reflexive study designs as well as passion, curiosity, humility and integrity.

My research expertise lies in conducting epistemologically rigorous and theoretically informed qualitative research. Most recently I am leading an interdisciplinary team of researchers in a study exploring the experiences of participants at the applied epistemology workshops. I have also brought my sociological perspective and skills to topics of motherhood, fatherhood, mental health and recovery, lymphedema, elder hospital care and clinical academic careers among others. The analytical lens I study data through are varied but include critical realism, feminist standpoint, gender, embodiment and emotional labour. Methods I have deployed are observation, interviews, focus groups and critical discourse analysis.

Expertise Summary

Qualitative research methods

Epistemology: Critical Realism; Standpoint & Epistemologies of the 'South'


Mental health and recovery

Embodiment and emotional labour

Clinical academic careers

Teaching Summary

My main teaching involvement is with Masters and PhD students.

I'm recently appointed Researcher in Residence to develop and deliver rolling workshops on epistemology, and rigor in study design as well as qualitative methods. This is part of an initiative to decolonise the methods curriculum. We aspire to engender in our research community robust, inclusive and reflexive study designs. These workshops are open to STEM, Social Science and Arts doctoral students and staff.

I convene and teach on three of the University's ESRC Doctoral Training Centre modules: Philosophy of Social Science Research; Foundations in Qualitative Research; Individual and Group Interviews.

I contribute qualitative and philosophical teaching to other post graduate teaching modules in Midwifery and Nursing.

Research Summary

My research interests concern epistemology (standpoint and epistemologies of the south; critical realism) and the application and analysis of qualitative data. I undertake primary qualitative… read more

Recent Publications

Current Research

My research interests concern epistemology (standpoint and epistemologies of the south; critical realism) and the application and analysis of qualitative data. I undertake primary qualitative research and secondary analysis.

I have supervised seventeen PhD students (7 ESRC funded) to successful completion, and currently have a further seven (3 ESRC funded) qualitative studies using a range of methods including ethnography and interviews. I am supervising several in mental health recovery: narratives; spirituality; peer working and women and homelessness in India. Also community nursing and chronic odema care; courage; continuing professional development and gender disappointment. I bring methodological rigor and work to support my students with publication.

In July 2021 I won a University Staff Oscar for Best Research Supervisor.

I retain an interest in the work of Noam Chomsky and have written and edited books with Routledge and Palgrave Macmillan respectively: The Social and Political Thought of Noam Chomsky (2000, 2002) and Noam Chomsky: Critical Explorations in Contemporary Political Thought Series (2015)

Future Research

To examine participant experiences of the Researcher Academy initiative to decolonise the methods curriculum. This is being designed to guide participants through debates in epistemology (including epistemologies of the south) to make explicit, assumptions that can implicitly lurk beneath study designs.

School of Health Sciences

B236, Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2HA

telephone: +44 (0)115 95 15559