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 projects:

ConCitizen (Erasmus+), exploring teaching contested narratives and controversial issues with colleagues from QUB (T. Gallagher, G. Duffy), Stranmillis University College (N. Richardson) and from Denmakrk, Norway, Lebanon and Cyprus

Previous 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; student voice in schools; wellbeing in schools; 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

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

Mary Roche: Children's views of after-school care

Completed doctoral (first supervision) covers a range of areas, including: young people's experience of school exclusion and alternative education provision (Patricia O'Lynn); children's views on museum education (Collette Brownlee); young Palestinian's construction of human rights (Erika Jimenez); young people's (inter)national identities in international schools (Sinead Fitzsimons); religious education and the truth claims of world religions (Jamie Yohanis); citizenship education and multiculturalism (Elizabeth Welty); the value of music education in the primary school (Jayne Moore); children's agency in play in the early years of school (Triona Stokes); skills for life and work in a globalised world (Lisa MacKenzie).


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)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or