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Karen Cooper

Dr

20052021

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Overview

I have a background in Sociology and Criminology and inter-disciplinary research experience across Psychology, Health, Education and Social Work. After completing my DPhil in Criminology at the University of Oxford, I was employed as an analyst in the Scottish Government’s, Justice Analytical Services.

I then returned to academia, working at the University of Edinburgh on a series of projects linked to young people’s relationships and behaviours, primarily in the online context. I research issues around mental health, risk, exploitation and child protection; using mixed methods and qualitative enquiry to explore the multi-dimensional nature of these issues.

In March 2020, I joined UWS as Research Fellow in the Protracted Crisis Research Centre.

Area of academic expertise - outline

I have contributed to a number of regional, national and international research projects, including:

  • What does ‘terrorism’ mean to young people? A qualitative art project’ Young people’s perceptions of terrorism and violence from exposure to different social media. (Innovation and Initiative Grant, University of Edinburgh).
  • An EU-funded project, ‘Self-Produced Images – Risk Taking Online’ (SPIRTO), exploring risk and consequence for young people in the UK, Sweden and Germany generating and sharing online sexual content. 
  • ‘Young people, social media and sexting in South Korea: how do cultural factors influence parent/professional responses to these practices?’ (British Council Travel Grant to EWHA Womans University, Seoul, South Korea).
  • A national evaluation for the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales: ‘Keeping Young People Engaged: Improving education, training and employment opportunities for serious and persistent young offenders’.
  • Research study for the Howard League for Penal Reform on ‘Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection’.

Current research activities

I work with disadvantaged/vulnerable groups to explore the interpersonal experiences and behaviours that shape their lives. I am particularly interested in how experiences of risk and coercion impact upon relationships, health and wellbeing. I also collaborate with research participants and stakeholders to co-produce resources aimed at enhancing knowledge and support services.

Current projects:

  • Examining the risks and benefits of online environments for care-experienced young people and the impact of these environments on their relationships and mental health. (ENurture, 2019 - )
  • An inter-disciplinary study of the experiences of staff supporting vulnerable groups in temporary hotel accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic. (UWS Crucible Funding, 2020-)

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 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Research Fellow (PT), University of Edinburgh

2013 → …

Keywords

  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Criminology
  • Mental health
  • Child Protection
  • Gender
  • Qualitative methodology
  • youth
  • Social justice
  • Social Media
  • Risk
  • Health and Wellbeing

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