Fully Funded Studentships Building and evaluating the impact of social capital in care homes



Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Deadline: 19th May 2013. This studentship is available for a 1st October 2013 start.

Supervisory Team: Professor Antony Arthur, Professor Francine Cheater

The Project:
Social capital is a contested concept but has been defined as the quality of formal and informal social interactions, civic participation, reciprocity and trust in others (De Silva, McKenzie et al. 2005). Concerns about the detrimental effects on older people of declining social capital, tend to focus on elders that live alone (Cannuscio, Block et al. 2003) or carers who may feel isolated (Donohue, Dibble et al. 2008). Although much is known about the health needs and health outcomes of those living in care homes, little research has been undertaken to examine how new and existing residents are socially integrated within their home. Social capital may be a way of better understanding this. Benefits of social capital appear greater for women and older adults, demographic factors that dominate care home populations (Elgar, Davis et al. 2011).

Two PhD studentships are available under the supervision of Professors Francine Cheater and Antony Arthur. These will address specific questions around the use of the concept of social capital in care homes including:

i. Can the experience of entry to, and life in, care homes be better understood by using social capital?
ii. How can social capital be measured at the level of care home and individual resident?
iii. How can social capital be built within a care home? 
iv. What is the relationship between social capital and resident wellbeing. The focus of the individual projects will depend on the interests and skills of successful applicants.

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The studentships will provide the successful candidates an opportunity to develop skills of research synthesis, study design, gaining ethical clearance, recruiting organisations and individuals (residents, relatives, and care home staff), quantitative and qualitative fieldwork and analysis. With increasing numbers of older people requiring care in residential and nursing homes, this work will make an important contribution in helping to inform the way care is organised and delivered in care home environments and understand the impact of social capital on the health and wellbeing of care home residents.

Entry Requirements:
Applicants should hold a 2:1 degree or above or a master’s degree in science, social science or a health related subject or equivalent.

Those applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate evidence of appropriate English language proficiency, normally defined as a minimum IELTS score of 7.5 (Overall Band Score) with 7.0 in all elements or equivalent.

Funding:
Full Funding is available for Home/EU students, covering fees and an annual stipend of £13,726 for three years. Applications are also accepted from international applicants who are able to pay the difference in international fees.

Making Your Application: Please apply via the University’s online application system. To discuss the application process or particular projects, please contact the: Admissions Office, email: [email protected] or telephone +44 (0)1603 591709. 

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