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Personal profile

Research Statement

I am interested in research which seeks to make a difference in children and young people's lives, particularly in the contexts of school and community. My research interests fall into two themes:

  • Political education (including citizenship education and human rights education) – with a particular focus on critical pedagogical and deliberative approaches to teaching controversial issues.
  • Children’s rights - with a focus on children’s participation rights, children's civil and political rights, children's wellbeing and participatory approaches to research with children.

My research projects focus primarily on the substantive issues associated with these themes. In addition, I collaborate with colleagues who wish to apply a participatory approach to researching their own substantive areas. 

Current research projects:

Supporting behaviour management within initial teacher education (with C. Storey)

A longitudinal study of the role of schools in impacting on the health and wellbeing of 12-16 year old students in Northern Ireland (The WiSe Study) with Paul Connolly (PI), Frank Kee, Katrina Lloyd, Laura Dunne - I am responsible for developing and implementing the participatory aspects of this research study.

Children’s knowledge of health behaviours with Katrina Lloyd and Maria Cantwell (Centre for Public Health)

Previous research projects:

Orr, K., Emerson, L., Lundy, L., Royal Dawson, L. and Jiménez, E. (2016) Enabling the exercise of civil and political rights: the views of children, Save the Children Fund

Jerome, L., Emerson, L., Lundy, L. & Orr, K. (2014) Child Rights Education: a study of implementation in countries with a UNICEF National Committee Presence, UNICEF

Emerson. L. , Lloyd, K., Lundy, L., Orr, K. & Weaver, E. (2013-2014) Legal Needs of Children and Young People, Department of Justice

Emerson, L. , Connolly, P. & Orr, K. (2012-2014) A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial Evaluation of the ‘From Prison to Peace’ Educational Programme, Office of the First and deputy First Minister

Emerson, L. & Lloyd, K. (2013) Involving children in the development of a children's rights questionnaire (CRQ), Improving Children's Lives

Lundy, L., Emerson, L., Lloyd, K., Byrne, B. & Yohanis, Y, (2012) Education Reform in Northern Ireland: a Human Rights Review, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Sibbett, C., Miller, S., Emerson, L. & Forbes, T. (2010-2012) Youth Suicide Clusters in Northern Ireland, ContactNI

Lundy. L., Emerson, L. & Byrne, B (2010) Ready to Learn: Children’s Perspectives, Barnardo’s Northern Ireland

Murphy, C., Kerr, K., Emerson, L. & Lundy, L. (2009) Attitudes of Children and Parents to Science Assessment, The Wellcome Trust

Miller, S., Connolly, P., Lundy, L.  Emerson, L., & Maguire, L. (2007-2008) Ready to Learn: the Needs of Primary School Children in Disadvantaged Areas , Barnardo’s Northern Ireland.

Emerson. L. & Lundy, L. (2007-2008) E-consultation with children, Department of Education and Curriculum Council for Examination and Assessment


Post Graduate Certificate in Education (P.G.C.E.)

Subject Studies: Methods for Teaching and Learning for Social Sciences and Religious Education; Citizenship Education

Education and Professional Studies: aims of education; curriculum theory, policy and practice;NI curriculum policy; Learning for Life and Work in NI curriculum; citizenship education elective


EdD Research with Children and Young People

EdD Qualitative Research Methods - contributions on transformative research and participatory action research (PAR)


I am currently first supervisor for doctoral students in a range of areas, including -

Jen Banks: Education for sustainable citizenship

Patricia O'Lynn: young people's experience of school exclusion and alternative education provision

Collette Brownlee: Children's views on museum education

Eilise Sweeney: Children's aspirations for the future

Abi Wells: The lived experience of refugee children in NI

Megan Ward: Teachers' pedagogical approaches to controversial political issues

Peter Whelan: history education

Completed doctoral (first supervision) covers a range of areas, including: young Palestinian's construction of human rights; young people's (inter)national identities in international schools; religious education and the truth claims of world religions; citizenship education and multiculturalism; the value of music education in the primary school; children's agency in play in the early years of school; skills for life and work in a globalised world; teacher professional identity.


Current Leadership Roles: 

Deputy Director, Centre for Children’s Rights

Deputy Director, Post Graduate Certificate in Education (P.G.C.E.) (Learning and Teaching)

Pathway Coordinator Post Graduate Certificate in Education (P.G.C.E.) in Social Science (Politics and Sociology) 

Module Coordinator Post Graduate Certificate in Education (P.G.C.E.) Educational and Professional Studies

Previous roles:

Education Studies Co-ordinator (P.G.C.E.) (2008-2013)

Member of Ethics Committee (2008-2012; 2015-2019)

Member of Research Committee (2013-2015)

Member of 'Improving Children's Lives' management committee (2014-2015)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Lesley Emerson is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 47 Similar Profiles

Research Output

Open Access
  • 18 Citations (Scopus)
    873 Downloads (Pure)
    Open Access
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    207 Downloads (Pure)

    Enabling the exercise of civil and political rights: the views of children

    Orr, K., Emerson, L., Lundy, L., Royal-Dawson, L. & Jimenez, E., 06 Jul 2016, Save the Children. 60 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

    Open Access

    Teaching and learning about child rights: a study of implementation in 26 countries

    Jerome, L., Emerson, L., Lundy, L. & Orr, K., Mar 2015, UNICEF. 88 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

    Are children’s views being sought, listened to and taken seriously?

    Emerson, L. & Lloyd, K., Sep 2014, Belfast : ARK.

    Research output: Other contribution


    • 6 Participation in conference
    • 2 Invited talk
    • 1 Participation in Festival/Exhibition
    • 1 Contribution to the work of national or international committees and working groups

    A Child's World

    Katrina Lloyd (Speaker), & Lesley Emerson (Speaker)

    13 Jul 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Can we improve wellbeing for pupils?

    Katrina Lloyd (Organiser), & Lesley Emerson (Participant)

    07 Nov 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in Festival/Exhibition


    Lesley Emerson (Keynote/plenary speaker)

    23 Mar 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    BERA Annual Conference 2016

    Lesley Emerson (Keynote/plenary speaker)

    15 Sep 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    BERA Annual Conference 2015

    Lesley Emerson (Speaker)

    16 Sep 2015

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


    Citizenship education in the global era : a comparative case study of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

    Author: Welty, E., Jul 2013

    Supervisor: Emerson, L. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy