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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Emma Davidson

Emma Davidson
Dr Emma Davidson
National Centre for Research Methods Research Fellow
Centre for Research on Families and Relationships 23 Buccleuch Place Edinburgh UK EH8 9LN
0131 651 1940
Research Interests
Youth participation, Children's Geographies, ethnography, Youth Justice, Antisocial Behaviour, Public libraries, civil society, child and youth studies, childrens rights

Guidance and feedback: Thursday, 0900-1100. Just email to arrange to meet me outside of that.

Research activities

My ongoing research includes:

  • ‘Working across qualitative longitudinal studies: a feasibility study looking at care and intimacy’, This study is part of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods programme of methodological research. It considers how feasible it is to conduct secondary analysis across existing data from several qualitative longitudinal studies. The research focuses on the substantive topic of care and intimacy, to explore new procedures for working with multiple sets of qualitative longitudinal data, whilst extending good practice in this emergent, and important, field of research. For more information about this research, see our project website:
  • Bookbug Impact Study is a two year project, evaluating The Scottish Book Trust’s Boookbug Programme, which gifts book bags to every child in Scotland. They also run free song and rhyme sessions across the country. The project is assessing the impact Bookbug is having on parents, children and early years professionals. The project will run until June 2017 and will involve national surveys of parents and professionals, as well as area based case studies. 

  • Young People and their Future Selves: I have completed collaborative research with a Scottish charity, Young People and their Future Selves. Its aim was to investigate the ways ‘disadvantaged’ young people deal with social challenges in their everyday lives. Specifically, it looked at the role formal interventions and ‘significant others’ have in supporting young people as they realise their aspirations and become their ‘future selves’:  

  • Public libraries and civil society: I am also developing research on the future role of public libraries, and in particular, their contribution to social inclusion, community building and civic engagement. A study of the public library will also operate as a lens through which to advance sociological and philosophical debates on the nature of civic engagement more broadly, the contemporary relevance of civil society and the impact that austerity has, and will continue to have, on civil society organisations.


Davidson, E. (2013) ‘Finding the ordinary in the antisocial: young people’s everyday experiences of antisocial behaviour’, Sociological Research Online, 18 (1) 5.

Davidson, E. (2011) ‘Second best? Raising the status of telephone interviewing in families and relationships research’, Reflections on Researching Families and Relationships, London: Palgrave.  

Pawson, H. & Davidson, E (2008) ‘Radically divergent? Homelessness policy and practice in post-devolution Scotland’, European Journal of Housing Policy, Vol 1.

Pawson, H. and Davidson, E (2006) ‘Fit for Purpose? Official Measures of Homelessness in the Era of the Activist State’, Radical Statistics, No 93.

Consultancy and research

Davidson, E. and McMellon, C. (2015) ‘Midlothian Family Resilience Project: Evaluation’, Midlothian Council.

Evans, E. Littlewood, M.  & Davidson, E. (2015) ‘Crisis Response System Research’, Glasgow Homelessness Network and The Oak Foundation.

Elsley, S., Tisdall, K. & Davidson, E. (2013) ‘Children's experiences of, and views on, issues relating to the implementation of the UNCRC’, Edinburgh: Scottish Government.

Davidson, E. & Chen, E. (2012) ‘Alcohol, the street and young people: A toolkit for professionals working with and for young people on the street’, Edinburgh: Granton Youth Centre and The Junction Project.

Littlewood, M., Evans, E., Fitzpatrick, S., Davidson, E. & Sosenko, F. (2011) ‘Housing Options Study’, Glasgow: Glasgow Housing Association.

Single Outcome Agreements for Scottish Local Government, 2009/10 - A  thematic Analysis, Children’s Voluntary Sector Policy Officers Network and Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People (2010).

Our Say: Young People's Awareness and Understanding of the Educational Maintenance Allowance in Scotland, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People (2009) - supporting Connie Bennett, Morven Dockery and Hala Ousta.

Review of the Argyll and Bute Homelessness Strategy, Argyll and Bute Council (2009) - withAnna Evans Housing Consultancy.

The Impact of Housing Stock Transfers in Urban Britain, Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2009) - with Hal Pawson, James Morgan, Robert Smith and Rebecca Edwards.

Evaluation of the establishment, operations and impact of 5 projects focused on families at risk of eviction for antisocial behaviour , Scottish Government (2009) - with Hal Pawson, Filip Sosenko, John Flint, Judy Nixon, Rionach Casey and Diana Sanderson.

Knowledge Exchange Across Settings - project to facilitate communication between mainstream and special schools, Economic Social and Research Council (2008) - Research Assistant.

Evaluation of the Implementation and Impact of Local Antisocial Behaviour Strategies at Neighbourhood Level in Selected Local Authorities, Scottish Executive (2007) - with John Flint, Hal Pawson and Judy Nixon.

Use of Antisocial Behaviour Orders in Scotland, Scottish Executive, (2007) - with Hal Pawson and DTZ Pieda.

Antisocial Behaviour: Understanding Registered Social Landlords Use of Powers, Housing Corporation (2007) - with Hal Pawson.

Tackling anti-social behaviour in Glasgow: An evaluation of policy and practice in the Glasgow Housing Association, Glasgow Housing Association (2007) - with John Flint and Rionach Casey.

Evaluation of Homelessness Prevention in Scotland, Scottish Executive (2007) - with Hal Pawson and Gina Netto.

Presentations and seminars

I suppose it’s just life, you see it aw the time: locating the everyday antisocial in young lives’, paper presented at the Edinburgh Police Research and Practice Group, 14 November 2011.

Finding the ordinary in the antisocial’’ – paper presented at British Sociological Association Youth Study Group, Stuck in the Middle With Who?, 4 November 2011.

‘The everyday antisocial: children’s experiences of antisocial behaviour’, European Sociological Association, Social Relations in Turbulent Time, 7-10 September 2011.

'Your space or mine? The role of space in the live of young people' - paper presented at Horniman Museum Youth Conference, part of the Cultural Olympiad programme, Stories of the World, 26-27 November 2010. Conference audio and transcripts are available here

Controlling the unattached? Exploring the role of detached youth work in policing youth territories’ – paper presented at Royal Geographical Society International Conference, 1-3 September 2010, Youth Geographies of In/civility panel.

Antisocial behaviour and young people: their spaces, relationships and interactions with policy’, University of Edinburgh, Social Policy Seminar Series 2009

Becoming an Ethnographer’, University of Edinburgh, paper presented at Social Policy Seminar Series 2010

Serving whose interests? Involving Young People as Researchers’, paper presented at Young Researchers Conference, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, 2009.