School of Social and Political Science

Ian Dey

Job Title

Honorary Fellow



  • MA (Edinburgh) PhD (Bristol)

Biographical Statement

My research interests lie mainly in the field of family policies, considered from a comparative perspective. This encompasses a wide range of interests, including the role of the family in relation to work, child-bearing and socialisation, resource distribution and the provision of care. I am especially interested in policies affecting unconventional forms of family formation, such as early pregnancy, adoption and assisted conception. My work focuses mainly on family law reform in Scotland and the role of public policies with regard to fertility and infertility. I bring to this expertise in qualitative methods, having designed software for qualitative data analysis and written books on both qualitative analysis and grounded theory. My earlier research on unemployment and youth employment programmes involved work in Scotland, Kenya and Chile.

With colleagues at Edinburgh and St Andrews and the Scottish Centre for Social Research, I have engaged in a study of fertility variations in Scotland. The project was part of a programme of research on major demographic challenges jointly sponsored by the Scottish Executive and the ESRC. The study aimed to profile public attitudes and to examine the effects of child-rich networks and family-friendly environments on fertility through a module in the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey. The research was developed in consultation with senior officials in the Scottish Executive who have a keen interest in its results. With my colleague Fran Wasoff, I developed a complementary project on the child-bearing of parents who already have children.

As well as undertaking empirical research to inform policy, I have written some think pieces' on current policy issues, often informed by a comparative perspective. This include papers on the UK 's 2002 Adoption and Children Act and the UK Government's previous proposals to extend parental.

Selected Publications

Dey, Ian (1993) Qualitative Data Analysis: A user-friendly guide. London : Routledge.

Dey, Ian (1999) Grounding Grounded Theory: Guidelines for qualitative inquiry. San Diego: Academic Press.

Dey, Ian and Fraser, Neil Age-based rationing in the allocation of health care' Journal of Aging and Health, 2000, 12(4):511-537.

Dey, Ian and Jentsch, Birgit (2001) Rural Youth in Scotland: The policy agenda,' Youth and Policy, 70, Winter: 11-24.

Wasoff, Fran & Dey, Ian (2000) Family Policy. London: Routledge.

Dey, Ian (2003) Grounded theory.' Clive Seale et al. (eds) Qualitative Research Practice. London: Sage.

Dey, Ian (2005) Adapting Adoption: A case of closet politics?' International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family.

Works within