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    Research Statement


    I have attracted external research grants to a total value of £15.0m during my career to date, with £7.4m of this as Principal Investigator. My research interests fall into three main, inter-related strands:

    1. Diversity and Social Inclusion in the Early Years: understanding the impact of race/ethnicity, gender and social class on the lives of young children and identifying early childhood programmes that are effective in promoting respect for diversity and social inclusion. 
    2. Effective Education: ensuring that the best available evidence is used in the design, delivery and evaluation of educational programmes and interventions so that they are as effective as possible in improving outcomes for learners and educators.
    3. Quantitative Methods in Educational Research: understanding the role and uses of quantitative methods in educational research as well as their practical application, including routine and more advanced, multivariate methods.

    See my personal website for further details on my research interests, including podcasts of various public lectures.


    Five Most Recent Publications

    • O'Hare, L., Kerr, K., Biggart, A. and Connolly, P. (forthcoming) A randomized controlled trial evaluation of an after-school pro-social behavior program in an area of socioeconomic disadvantage. The Elementary School Journal.
    • Maguire, L.K., Niens, U., McCann, M. and Connolly, P. (2015) Emotional development among early school-age children: Gender differences in the role of problem behaviours, Educational Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/01443410.2015.1034090 
    • Boyer, N., Miller, S., Connolly, P. and McIntosh, E. (2014) Use of the Child Health Utility (CHU9D) and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) outcome measures in economic evaluations of school-based interventions: data from a cluster-randomised controlled trial in Northern Ireland, The Lancet, Vol. 384, No. Supplement 2, pp. S21.
    • O'Hare, L. and Connolly, P. (2014) A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial of 'Bookstart+': A Book gifting Programme, Journal of Children's Services, 9(1): 18-30.
    • Miller, S. & Connolly, P. (2013) A randomized controlled trial of Time to Read, a volunteer tutoring program for 8-9 year olds, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 35(1): pp. 23-37.

    See my personal website for a full list of all publications.


    Current Research Projects

    • The Effectiveness of School-Based Socio-Emotional Learning Programmes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (Funder: Public Health Agency; PI: Prof. Paul Connolly)
    • Best Practice in Grouping Students by Attainment (Funder: Education Endowment Foundation; PI: Prof. Becky Francis) Project Website
    • A cluster randomised controlled trial evaluation and cost-effectiveness analysis of the Roots of Empathy schools-based programme for improving social and emotional wellbeing outcomes among 8-9 year olds in Northern Ireland (Funder: National Institute for Health Research; PI: Prof. Paul Connolly)
    • Centre of Excellence for Public Health (Northern Ireland), incorporating the Wellbeing in Schools Longitudinal Study (WiSe) (Funder: Medical Research Council; PI: Prof. Frank Kee)
    • Improving Children’s Lives: An Interdisciplinary Research Initiative at Queen’s University Belfast (Phase III) (Funder: Atlantic Philanthropies; PI: Prof. Paul Connolly)
    • The Impact of Shared Education in Northern Ireland (Funder: Atlantic Philanthropies; PI: Prof. Joanne Hughes)
    • Una: The Global Learning Initiative on Children and Ethnic Diversity – Phase IV (Funder: Atlantic Philanthropies; PI: Prof. Paul Connolly)
    • The Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Nurture Units (Funder: Department of Education; PI: Dr Seaneen Sloan)
    • The Effectiveness of the Letterbox club in Improving Educational Outcomes Among Children Aged 7-11 Years in Foster Care in Northern Ireland (Funder: Fostering Network; PI: Dr Karen Winter)

    See my personal website for a full list of all current and completed projects.


    Achievements and Distinctions

    Key External Positions


    Key Internal Positions (Queen's University Belfast)


    Education Qualifications

    • MSc (with distinction) in Applied Statistics (Sheffield Hallam University, 2004).
    • PhD in Sociology of Education, ESRC Studentship (University of Leicester, 1995).
    • MA (with distinction) in Race and Ethnic Studies (University of Warwick, 1992).
    • BSocSc (Hons) in Social Administration (University of Birmingham, 1989).


    Employment History

    • Interim Dean of Research, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Queen's University Belfast (2015 - present).
    • Head of School of Education, Queen's University Belfast (2011 - present).
    • Professor of Education, Queen's University Belfast (2005 - present).
    • Reader in Education, Queen's University Belfast (2003 - 2005).
    • Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Ulster University (2001 - 2003).
    • Lecturer in Sociology, Ulster University (1994 - 2001).



    Taught Modules

    Taught Doctorate (EdD) Modules:

    • Quantitative Research: Methods, Data and Theory (EDD9029)
    • Experimental Methods in Educational Research (EDD9063)
    • Survey Methods in Education (EDD9061)

    Masters Modules:

    • Multivariate Data Analysis (EDU7237)



    • Connolly, P. (2007) Quantitative Data Analysis in Education: A Critical Introduction with SPSS (London & New York: Routledge). Companion Website.
    • Connolly, P., Biggart, A., Miller, S.,O’Hare, L. and Thurston, A. (in preparation) Randomised Controlled Trials in Education, BERA/Sage Research Methods in Education Series, London: Sage.


    Current Doctoral Research Students

    First Supervisor:

    • Clionagh Boyle (A critical examination of the discourse of early childhood intervention).
    • Aideen Gildea (Parental involvement in primary school education).
    • Karen Hanna (Variations in parents’ and practitioners’attitudes towards factors associated with quality provision for two year old children).
    • Ciara Keenan (The effects of universal preschool and school based education programmes in reducing racial and ethnic prejudice and promoting respect for diversity among children aged 3-11: A systematic review and meta-analysis).
    • Michele Mallon (An epidemiological study of young children’s awareness of and attitudes toward disability).
    • Rosemary McGill (The development and evaluation of a preschool programme to promote socio-emotional development among 3-4 year old children).
    • Jennifer Mooney (A Randomised Controlled Trial Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Letterbox Club in Improving Educational Outcomes among Children Aged 7-11 Years in Foster Care In Northern Ireland).

    Second Supervisor:

    • Helen Adams (The Effectiveness of Programmes Aimed at Promoting the Socio-Emotional Development of Parents and Children Aged 0-3 Years).
    • Claire Warke (The Effects of Economic Disadvantage on Younger Children's Educational Attainment, Attitudes and Aspirations).



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