Dr Claire Preston

Research Fellow

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education

Department:School of Education & Social Care

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Health and wellbeing

Claire's research focuses on how a better understanding of the interplay between technological and social processes might improve the lives of older people.

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Claire’s recent work includes contributing to a major EU-funded study on the impact of new technology on the quality of life of older people with dementia. It also includes two evaluations concerning older people. One is a mixed-methods study focused on The Silver Line, a national phone-line service for older people. It is the most extensive quantitative evaluation in Britain on the use of phone lines to combat loneliness. The second is an evaluation of a dementia buddies scheme operating in a hospital setting in the East of England.

Claire completed her PhD in 2013, bringing together the disciplines of social policy and social psychology to understand how carers, older and disabled people engage in social care policymaking via the internet. As part of her PhD studentship, Claire lectured in social policy and supervised undergraduate dissertations. Prior to this, she conducted qualitative research for a Carnegie UK Trust study into power and policymaking in the UK. During this period, Claire also worked with OpenDemocracy and the Joseph Rowntree Trusts, helping devise and organise conferences and seminars. Previously, Claire had a career as a journalist and sub-editor for a variety of publications in the UK, Japan and Australia.

Research interests

  • Ageing/older people
  • Technology and its role in lives of older people
  • Loneliness
  • Collectivity - collective action, collective identities

Areas of research supervision

Claire would be pleased to consider supervising doctoral students with the following research interests/topics:

  • Interventions to tackle loneliness – in any age group, also among people with particular health issues such as dementia
  • Use of technology in lives of older people – technologies for assisted living as well as for communication/recreation
  • Caring and the lives of carers
  • Political participation
Recent and current doctoral supervision as second supervisor:
  • Local immigrant integration policies in London and Tokyo (current)
  • The impact of declining social capital in the care of older people: a comparative study Between UK and Ghana (current)


  • PhD, Anglia Ruskin University
  • MA Area Studies: Japan, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London
  • BA Politics, University of York
  • PG Cert, Applied Social Science Research Methods, Anglia Ruskin University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • British Society of Gerontology

Selected recent publications

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Moore, S. and Preston, C., 2015. The Silver Line: Tackling Loneliness in Older People. Cambridge: Anglia Ruskin University and the South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (commissioned report).

Preston, C. and Moore, S., 2015. The Dementia Buddies evaluation research report. Cambridge: Anglia Ruskin University and the South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (commissioned report).

Preston, C., 2014. Hands off our benefits!: How participation in the comment section of the 2009 Green Paper, Shaping the Future of Care Together, contributes to understandings of online collective action. Cambridge: Anglia Ruskin University (PhD thesis).

Hamaz, S. and Preston, C., 2008. Pay up or shut up: putting a price on English language lessons. In Power Moves: Exploring Power and Influence in the UK. London: Carnegie UK Trust, pp.70-97 (commissioned report).

Selected presentations

Preston, C., Moore, S. and Markannen, S., 2015. Phone friends or phony friends: why does phone-based friendship appeal to older people? Presentation at Ageing in Changing Times: Challenges and Future Prospects. 44th annual British Society of Gerontology Conference, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1-3 July 2015.

Preston, C. and Moore, S., 2015. Rounds pegs and square holes: the role of compatible culture in the success of a dementia buddies scheme in two hospital wards. Presentation at Ageing in Changing Times: Challenges and Future Prospects. 44th annual British Society of Gerontology Conference, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1-3 July, 2015.

Preston, C., 2013. The usefulness of mixed methods in understanding online collective action in a social care policy setting. Presentation at the London School of Economics, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion SPA Workshop Challenges and innovation in social policy research: Mixed methodologies and impact. LSE, London 16 December, 2013.

Preston, C., 2012. Online collective action against disability benefits cuts: The grassroots response to a Green Paper. Presentation at University of Leeds, Symposium The ‘Hardest Hit’: Disability research and welfare reform 2012. University of Leeds, Leeds, 20 September, 2012