Dr Niamh O’Brien

Senior Research Fellow

Faculty:Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education

Department:School of Education & Social Care

Location: Chelmsford

Niamh's expertise is in undertaking participatory approaches to research involving children and young people. Her interests are in bullying and enabling children and young people to have a voice in areas which interest and/or affect them.

niamh.obrien@anglia.ac.uk

View Niamh's profile on ResearchGate

Background

Niamh has worked at Anglia Ruskin University undertaking research since 2004 where she has both worked and led on a range of projects seeking the views of children and young people in a variety of settings (children’s homes, school and young people's projects).

She completed her PhD in April 2016, which explored bullying in a private day and boarding school. The study actively involved school students as researchers through the use of a Participatory Action Research (PAR) framework. This study is embedded in the philosophy of social constructionism.

Her thesis can be accessed here: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/700970/

Research interests

  • Participatory approaches to research with young people
  • Bullying
  • Childhood

Niamh is a core member of the university's Participatory Research Group and her past and current research includes:

2016 - 2017: Developing and showcasing FHSCE Strategy for involving Experts by Experience in Teaching, Learning and Research. Funded by The Faculty of Health Social Care and Education, Research & Enterprise Investment Programme 2016. (Led by Dr. Niamh O’Brien)

2016: Bullying and young people’s self-exclusion from school: An exploratory study. (Led by Dr. Niamh O’Brien)

2014 - 2015: Developing a bespoke engagement strategy for a Women’s Refuge. Funded by the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner. (Led by Professor Carol Munn-Giddings)

2013: EssexFamily Tendring: An Evaluation of the Family Worker Service. Funded by Tendring District Council. (Led by Niamh O'Brien).

2012 - 2013: CSV volunteers in Child Protection Scheme: The first Southend Families, where are they now? Funded by Community Service Volunteers (Led by Dr Jane Akister)

2010 - 2011: Is the CSV Volunteers in Child Protection Scheme 'Value for Money'? Funded by Southend Borough Council (Led by Dr Jane Akister)

2010 - 2011: The impact of cyber-bullying on young people's mental health. Funded by The National Children's Bureau. (Led by Niamh O'Brien)

2007 –2008: A consultation to find out from young people aged 11-19 in Pier Ward what services they consider are important and where they would access these services. Funded by Colchester Primary Care Centre. (Led by Niamh O’Brien)

May 2007 – June 2007: The needs of the local community in relation to the establishment of Children’s Centres. Funded by Cambridgeshire Country Council. (Led by Dr Jane Akister)

2007 – 2008: External evaluation of the In:Fusion project: Theatre workshops promoting dialogue between young people and youth offending teams. Funded by Escape Artists. (Led by Niamh O’Brien)

2006 – 2007: Exploration of the needs of Young Carers in Peterborough: an analysis of existing services and proposals for future development. Funded by Peterborough Department Management Team. (Led by Dr Janet Warren)

2004- 2006: Exploring the non-use of services in Essex. Funded by Children’s Fund Essex. (Led by Dr Tina Moules).

Areas of research supervision

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

  • Participatory action research with young people
  • Participatory inquiry with young people
  • School bullying

Qualifications

  • PhD: To ‘Snitch’ or Not to ‘Snitch’? Using PAR to Explore Bullying in a Private Day and Boarding School, 2016
  • MSc Child Development, Research and Policy: Anglia Ruskin University, 2007
  • BA Applied Social Studies in Social Care: Waterford Institute of Technology, 2001

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Hon. Research Fellow National Anti-Bullying Centre, Dublin City University
  • Associate member of the Anti-Bullying Alliance
  • Member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Bullying. 
  • Member of the Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN)
  • Co-chair of the Department Research Ethics Panel (DREP) for social care and education
  • Reviewer for the Educational Action Research Journal

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Principle Investigator: Faculty of Health Social Care and Education, Research & Enterprise Investment Programme: Developing and showcasing FHSCE Strategy for involving Experts by Experience in Teaching, Learning and Research. 2016. £10,000

Researcher: Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex: Developing a bespoke engagement strategy for a Women’s Refuge. 2014. £19,648

Principle Investigator: Tendring District Council: EssexFamily Tendring: An Evaluation of the Family Worker Service. 2013. £17,138.00

Researcher: Community Service Volunteers: CSV Volunteers in Child Protection Scheme. The First Southend Families: Where are they now? 2012. £5,000.00Principle Investigator: National Children’s Bureau: The impact of cyber-bullying on young people’s mental health. 2010. £10,588.00.

Researcher: Community Service Volunteers: Is the CSV Volunteers in Child Protection Scheme ’Value for Money’? 2009 £42,264.00Principle Investigator: Colchester Primary Care Trust: A consultation to find out from young people aged 11-19 in Pier Ward what services they consider are important and where they would access these services. 2007. £4,420.00

Principle Investigator: Escape Artists: External evaluation of the In:Fusion project: Theatre workshops promoting dialogue between young people and youth offending teams. 2007. £5,550.00

Selected recent publications

O’Brien, N., Moules, T., and Munn-Giddings, C. 2018. Negotiating the research space between young people and adults in a PAR study exploring school bullying. In M. Torronen., C. Munn-Giddings, C., and L. Tarkiainen (eds), Reciprocal Relationships and Well-Being: Implications for Social Work and Social Policy. Oxon: Routledge. Pp. 160-175.

O’Brien, N., Munn-Giddings, C. and Moules, T., 2018. The repercussions of reporting bullying: some experiences of students at an independent secondary school. Pastoral Care in Education: An International Journal of Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Available online from: https://doi.org/10.1080/02643944.2017.1422004.

O’Brien, N. 2017. An exploratory study of bullied young people's self-exclusion from school. Evidence: presented at meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Bullying 2011-2016. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318361810_APPG_on_Bullying_Report_2011-16.

Moules, T., and O'Brien, N., 2016. The child's perspective and service delivery. In D. DeBell (2nd ed) Public Health for Children, London: Taylor and Francis, pp 247-269.

Munn-Giddings, C., McVicar, A., Boyce, M., and O’Brien, N. 2016. Learning from older citizens’ research groups. Educational Gerontology, 42(1), 58-69.

O’Brien, N., 2014. “I didn’t want to be known as a snitch”: Using PAR to explore bullying in a private day and boarding school. Childhood Remixed. Conference Edition, February, 2014, pp. 86-96.

Akister, J., and O’Brien, N. 2014. The mental wellbeing of children and parents when there are child protection concerns— can volunteers help?. Childhood Remixed. Conference Edition, February, 2014, pp. 6-14.

O'Brien, N., and Moules, T., 2013. Not sticks and stones but tweets and texts: findings from a national cyberbullying project. Pastoral Care in Education, 31(1), pp.53-65.

Akister, J., and O'Brien, N., 2012. Combining State and Voluntary Provision: Using Volunteers in Home-Based Child Protection - Preliminary Indications for the Mental Wellbeing of Family Members. International Journal of Business and Social Research, 2(6), pp.226-240.

Moules, T., and O'Brien, N., 2012. Participation in perspective: reflections from research projects. Nurse Researcher, 19(2), pp.17-22.

Recent presentations and conferences

O’Brien, N., 2017. The Impact Bullying had on my Life: An exploratory study of young people's self-exclusion from school. ‘All equal, all different’: Contemporary Research and Practice in Anti-bullying. Birmingham City University, 15th November 2017 (invited speaker).

O’Brien, N., 2017. Exploring bullying at an Independent School using Participatory Action Research. Presentation to The Girls Schools Association. Bedfordshire School for Girls, 1st March 2017 (invited speaker).

O’Brien, N., 2016.The Impact Bullying had on my Life: An exploratory study of young people's self-exclusion from school. Presentation to the APPG (Bullying). Portcullis House, Westminster, London. 17th October 2016 (invited speaker).

O’Brien, N., 2016. Bullying and ‘snitching’ in an Independent School. Independent Schools Association Annual Conference. Dunston Hall, Norwich, 13th May 2016 (keynote).

O’Brien, N., 2015. “I didn’t want to be known as a snitch”: Using PAR to Explore Bullying in a Private Day and Boarding School. In: The Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association, 3rd annual No 2 Bullying Conference. Outrigger Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia, 29-30 June 2015.

O’Brien, N., 2014. Fear of reporting bullying in a private day and boarding school: Using a Participatory Action Research Framework to work collaboratively with students of the school. A Child’s World Conference, Aberystwyth University, 25-27th June 2014.

O’Brien, N., 2014. “I didn’t want to be known as a snitch”: Using PAR to Explore Bullying in a Private Day and Boarding School. “Behind closed doors” contemporary issues in safeguarding conference. Postgraduate Medical Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford. 2nd July 2014.

Akister, J., and O’Brien, N., 2013. The role of volunteers in home-based child protection intervention: Impact on mental health of family members. In: Children and Childhoods Conference. 8th July 2013. University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, United Kingdom.

O’Brien, N., 2013. Using a Participatory Action Research Framework to investigate Bullying in a Private Day and Boarding School. In: Children and Childhoods Conference. 8th July 2013. University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, United Kingdom.

O’Brien, N., 2013. Using a Participatory Action Research Framework to investigate Bullying in a Private Day and Boarding School. In: 7th Annual Research Conference. 28th June 2013. Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

O’Brien, N., Marshall, L., and Moules, T., 2013. Exploring the support needs of looked after young people where a sibling(s) has been placed for adoption: A pilot study. In: Achieving the best outcomes for siblings: The challenge of planning permanence for sibling groups. 8th May 2013. British Association of Adoption and Fostering: Tavistock Square, London.

Munn-Giddings, C., and O’Brien, N., 2011. International Women’s Day: Women in Research. In: International Women’s Conference. 10th March 2011. Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Akister, J. and O’Brien, N. 2011. The role of volunteers in home-based child protection intervention: Impact on the mental health of family members. In: Vice Chancellors’ Research Conference. September 2011. Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, United Kingdom

Akister, J., O’Brien, N. and Cleary, T. 2011. The role of volunteers in home-based child protection intervention: key research findings. In: CSV (ViCP) Volunteers in Child Protection Conference, 29th November 2011, London.

O’Brien, N. 2010. Defining Bullying and Developing Initiatives: A case Study Approach using a Participatory Action Research Framework. In: Fourth Annual Research Student Conference. 22 May 2010. Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, United Kingdom.

Media experience

O’Brien, N., 2013. Fear extends into night - research raises concerns about bullying among boarders. Irish independent 11th December 2016. Available from:  https://www.independent.ie/life/fear-extends-into-night-research-raises-concerns-about-bullying-among-boarders-35280168.html

O’Brien, N., 2013. “Making cyberspace safer”. Centre for Education Research and Practice. Available from: https://cerp.aqa.org.uk/perspectives/making-cyberspace-safer 19 November 2013.

O’Brien, N., 2014. Cyberbullying and young people. Drive-time on BBC Essex with Ian Puckey. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcessex/programmes/schedules 8th January 2014.