My research activity is centred in the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (www.crfr.ac.uk) where I am an Associate Director. My main research interests are in family studies, family policy, family law, and gender issues in social and public policy. I work within the disciplines of socio-legal studies and social policy. My socio-legal research has focused especially on civil and family law in Scotland, the financial consequences of divorce and child support, and the empirical study of legal professionals and informal legal processes in Scotland. Recent work has also included research on social attitudes to family life and family change, early years policies in Scotland, adults with incapacity, low fertility, solo living, older women and domestic violence and voluntary childlessness.
I am currently teaching the following courses:
Social Policy and Society (first year course)
Quantitative Data Analysis (postgraduate)
Rethinking Families and Family Policies in Europe (Honours)
Family Policies in Comparative Perspective (MSc)
see also the CRFR website: www.crfr.ac.uk
I have supervised 12 completed PhDs and I am currently supervising 5 PhD students working on studies of babies' diets and family life, low fertility and work/life balance, Scottish parenting practices in the early years over time and in comparative perspective, child contact where there has been a history of domestic abuse, and Muslim women's perspective on family violence in Scotland.
2007 Dealing with Child Contact Issues: A Literature Review of Mechanisms in Different Jurisdictions, Edinburgh: Scottish Government, http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/201147/0053739.pdf.
2008 ‘Public attitudes and law reform: extending the legal framework for child contact to unmarried fathers, grandparents and stepparents?’, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law. (in press)
2005. ‘Mutual consent: separation agreements and the outcomes of private ordering in divorce' Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law , Vol. 27, Nos 3-4, December, pp. 237–250.
2006. “Mixed Messages: Parental responsibilities, public opinion and the reform of family law”. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family , Vol. 20, pp.225-248, (with I Dey).
2007. ‘Protection, parity or promotion: public attitudes to cohabitation and the purposes of legal reform’, (with Ian Dey), Law and Policy 29(2), pp. 159-182.
2005. ‘Solo Living across the adult lifecourse' (with Lynn Jamieson), in Families in society: boundaries and relationships, edited by Linda McKie and Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Bristol : Policy Press.
2004. A Baseline Study of Outcome Indicators From Early Years Policies: Final Report, to the Scottish Executive Education Department,). (CRFR, with S MacIver, A McGuckin, S Morton, S Cunningham-Burley and K Hinds)
2004. Older women and domestic violence: a literature and policy review , Edinburgh : NHS Health Scotland (with M Scott, E Seddon and L McKie).
2004. Review of the Implementation of Part 5 of the Adults with Incapacity ( Scotland ) Act 2000: a Qualitative Study of Implementation and Early Operation, (with Davidson, S, H Wilkinson, G Urquart, and A Mason), Edinburgh : Scottish Executive.
2002. “Family Policy in Scotland ”, Social Policy & Society 1(3), 171-182 (with M Hill).
2000. ‘Meeting in the middle: mediators' and solicitors' divorce practice', Scots Law Times 33, pp.259-265 (with F Myers).
2000. Family Policy, London : Routledge, (with Ian Dey).
1999. ‘Settling up: How Scotland manages property settlements', Divorce: Property and Pensions: Hume Papers on Public Policy, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 16 – 25.
1997. Mutual Consent: Written agreements in family law (with A McGuckin and L Edwards), Edinburgh : Central Research Unit, The Scottish Office.
1996. The Simulated Client: a method for studying professionals working with clients London : Avebury, (with R. E. Dobash).
Recent research grants include:
2006. Rural and Urban Solo Living: Social integration, Quality of Life and Future Orientations, ESRC, with Lynn Jamieson, 29 months from April 2007.
2006. Gender Audit of Statistics and Research, Scottish Executive, with Esther Breitenbach, 6 months from March 2006.
2005. Fertility Variations in Scotland: Socio-Cultural Attitudes and Interactions, (with Ian Dey, Lynn Jamieson, Kathryn Milburn, the Scottish Centre for Social Research, and Paul Boyle and Elspeth Graham of St Andrews University), ESRC, March 2005-November 2006.
2004. A module of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey on attitudes to family change and family law, with the Scottish Centre for Social Research, for the Civil Law branch of the Scottish Executive and the Nuffield Foundation.
2004. Growing up in Scotland: Early Years Longitudinal Study, with the Scottish Centre for Social Research, funded by the Scottish Executive. 2004-2007.
2004. A sociological literature review of voluntary childlessness in the EU, part of a demographic review for an EU funded study led by the Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics [CED], Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
2003. Solo living across the adult lifecourse (with L Jamieson) ESRC.
2003. A study of the implementation and early operation of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, Health and Community Care Division, Scottish Executive Health Department (with H Wilkinson).
2003. A feasibility study for a Scottish Early Years Longitudinal Survey (CRFR and SCSR)
2003. An evaluation study of the effectiveness of early years policies in Scotland, Scottish Executive Education Department (CRFR with Sarah Cunningham-Burley and SCSR)
2003. A feasibility study for the evaluation of the impact of early years policies in Scotland, Scottish Executive Education Department (CRFR with S Cunningham-Burley)
2002. A review of research and policy on older women and domestic violence, (with M Scott for NHS Health Scotland).
2000. Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, SHEFC, Research Development Grant, (with S. Cunningham-Burley, K. Backett-Milburn, L Jamieson), 3 years, Jan 2001-Dec 2003. Continuing funding for some activities from 2004-2007 from the Scottish Executive.
Through CRFR I am involved in a wide range of knowledge transfer work with the statutory and voluntary sectors, including producing publications for users such as those listed below, working collaboratively with research users on events, and offering CPD short courses.
2006. Sheriff Clerks' perspectives on child contact enforcement in Scottish Sheriff Courts. Scottish Executive Social Research: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/151628/0040738.pdf
2005. ‘Divorce in Scotland’, Scottish Life and Society: A compendium of Scottish Ethnology, Volume 9: Individual and Community Life, Edinburgh: European Ethnological Research Centre. 2003.
2004. ‘Family Formation and Dissolution: Trends and Attitudes Among the Scottish Population’, Edinburgh: Legal Studies Research Findings No.43, (with A Morrison, D Headrick, Scottish Executive, and S Morton (CRFR). https://www.scotland.gov.uk/cru/resfinds/lsf43-00.asp,
2006. ‘One-person households’ in The International Encyclopedia of Social Policy, Tony Fitzpatrick, ed.