CONNECT project: CONtributions of social Networks to Community Thriving

Contact: Stefani Hatch


Department: Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience

Institution: King’s College London

Project timeline: January to March 2023.

Project duration: 13 weeks, flexible on part time or full time.

Closing date: 1st December 2024

Expertise required: The student should have some experience of conducting
qualitative research. Skills in interviewing and qualitative analysis are expected. Importantly, they should have an awareness of working with marginalised communities and an interest in health equity research.

Project description: The CONtributions of social NETworks to Community
Thriving (CONNECT) is one of a series of linked projects within the Marginalised Communities Programme within the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health (CSMH) at KCL. This study focuses on Black and other racially minoritised groups, while considering the nature and
influence of social networks within and between different racial and minoritised groups and how they contribute to social inequities and subsequent mental health. We will utilise an intersectional perspective, considering how race and ethnicity interact and overlap with other social
identities and other protected characteristics such as age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, socio-economic, and migration status. This project will use a concurrent mixedmethods design, using a participatory approach to
knowledge generation in order to optimise benefit for these communities and minimise inherent power-based inequities in more traditional and university-led approaches to research. The overall aim of this research is to investigate and understand the role that social networks and social capital have in promoting thriving and mental health for Black and other ethnically minoritised communities using a Participatory Action Research (PAR)
approach. We will also analyse relevant secondary UK quantitative datasets (e.g., South East London Community Health study (SELCoH), Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS), and Understanding Society) to explore related
questions using local and national quantitative data. This includes examining how financial and other insecurities and adversities cluster in communities, and how they are associated with cross-sectional and longitudinal trajectories
of mental health.

Description of the work involved: The student will undertake a range of work in relation to the CONNECT study. This will include, but is not limited to: assisting with some admin work, such as planning training sessions for peer researchers on the project team; Recruitment through attending community events Data collection through semi-structured interviews, mapping workshops and photovoice workshops qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews using thematic analysis; supporting in training peer researchers in research skills such as interviewing techniques and offering general advice and support writing up a paper for publication together with the research team using previously analysed data.

Student benefits: By joining the CONNECT team to work on this project, the student will benefit from (i) working with a large, interdisciplinary and collaborative team of researchers; (ii) having access to a range of seminars, discussions and training opportunities within the Centre for Society and Mental Health, (iii) practice in academic writing and potential for publication; (iv) learning about participatory research methods; (v) collaboration with external partners, particularly non-academic organisations; (vi) working with peer / community researchers, and assisting in training them in research methods.