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Laura Neeson


  • Room 02.002 - 4 Fitzwilliam Street

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

My research interests lie in two main areas; child wellbeing and programme evaluation. I am committed to the improvement of outcomes for children and young people and am experienced in carrying out evaluations of complex social interventions, particularly in school and home settings. More recently, I have been involved with the production of systematic reviews.

Research Statement

In the last five years I have worked on several large-scale randomised controlled trials in the Institute of Child Care Research and School of Education. As well as working as part of a multidisciplinary research team, I have had several opportunities to work alongside a number of external organisations and key professionals. I have engaged with stakeholders, researcher grant holders, and members of Expert Advisory Groups. I have also worked with a range of research participants from very young infants through to primary school children, post-primary school pupils, teachers, principals, parents and programme developers.


Methodological Expertise

I have substantial experience in using both quantitative and qualitative research methods with children, young people and adults. The studies I have worked on have all employed a range of designs, methods and data collection techniques, including:

  • Simple and cluster randomised controlled trials
  • Large scale surveys in schools and at home, including postal and e-surveys
  • Qualitative methods (carrying out focus groups, interviews and developing a range of innovative participatory methods with children and young people)
  • Mixed-methods studies (integrating qualitative and quantitative methods)

I am experienced in all aspects of outcome identification and data collection including logic model development, selection of outcomes, preparation and administration of measures. Specifically, I have in-depth knowledge of a wide range of psychometric tests and measures in terms of selection, administration and providing training in their administration to examine a range of outcomes and characteristics in children and parents of young children, including parenting and life stress, physical, socio-emotional and mental well-being.  I have particular expertise in the measurement of literacy and attitudinal outcomes in children using both one-to-one and group testing procedures and have considerable experience of data collection in both school and home settings. I have been involved in adapting methods to include age appropriate standardised measures to answer research questions and the introduction of focus groups to gauge facilitator experiences of intervention implementation.

I am trained in the design of qualitative data collection measures, their particular application in a school setting and have been involved in creating innovative measures to address specific research questions. I have used structured and semi-structured interviews with a wide range of people and analysed these interviews using thematic content analysis.  I am experienced in utilising focus groups as a participatory data collection method with children.


Current Research

I am currently conducting a systematic review 'Psychosocial interventions for reducing the harmful effects of war and conflict related violence on young children aged 0-11 years' with Dr Jennifer Hanratty, Dr Tania Bosqui, Dr Michael Duffy and Professor Paul Connolly. This is funded through The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Bernard van Leer Foundation through their support for UNA: The Global Learning Initiative for Children and Young People.


Previous Research

Recent projects I have been involved in include:

  1. A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the 'Roots of Empathy' Social and Emotional Learning Programme (2015), with Dr Seaneen Sloan. Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
  2. A Randomised Controlled Trial of the Lifestart Parenting Programme (2011-2014), with Dr Sarah Miller and Dr Laura Dunne. Funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies.
  3. An Evaluation of the Barnardos 'Ready to Learn' after-school programme (2012-2013), with Professor Geraldine Macdonald and Dr Laura Dunne. Funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies and OFMDFM




Expertise related to UN SDGs

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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