Current & New Research Projects


Like most academic researchers, I am always working on a few research projects at any one time.  Here are a few examples – if you would like to know more about any of these particular projects, or indeed any of the research that I have either completed or am currently working on, please do get in touch.



22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome.

22q11.2DS is a rare disease, occurring in approximately 1 in every 2,000 to 4,000 live births.  It is thought to be almost as common as Down syndrome.  Despite this prevalence, many clinicians are still not familiar with the diagnosis – or its variability.  Considering this individual and unique variability, and the numbers of children and young people affected, my research in this area is exploring, for example, the knowledge of 22q11.2DS in the Irish education system and the experiences of both pupils and parents.



Social Media and Professionalism among Educators and Social Workers: The View of the Public.

Building on some very interesting and stimulating cross-disciplinary research that I conducted with Prof. Gloria Kirwan from the School of Social Work and Social Policy (Kirwan & Mc Guckin, 2013, 2014), I am fortunate to have been awarded funding from the College’s Arts and Social Sciences Benefactions Fund to continue this work.  The current phase of the research is exploring ‘Social media and professionalism among educators and social workers: The view of the public’.

Our previous research identified the central issues of concern to professional educators and social workers regarding their usage of modern information and communication tools in their work and private life.  Of great concern has been the ethical issues of how these professionals should manage their social networking and communication activities and, importantly, under which circumstances (if any) they should use such postmodern communication channels in their work.  For example, should teachers become ‘friends’ with their students on social networking sites?  Also, how do social workers protect the identities of clients and client groups in their interpersonal communications with colleagues / friends in such media – what happens if their personal ‘persona’ becomes known to clients (or vice-versa)?

The research programme thus far has identified the issues that should be of immediate concern to the professions and those education providers who provide initial and continuing professional educational activities.  What is not known, however, is the view of the public regarding the usage of such communication channels by those that educate their children or who provide social work services across a range of service agencies.  This research sets out to address this knowledge deficit.



The Case for Academic Self Metrics?

Given the flawed nature of the traditional metrics system, many academics have started turning to the digital world in an attempt to develop their own personal metrics.  I guess that with this website and my attempts to increase my social media engagement, I have been trying to consider how an academic in a professional school (e.g., education, social work, nursing) can best ‘account’ for their ‘impact’.  So, using my own experiences as a case example, I am exploring the issues related to how best to measure what I am doing . . . and whether my attempts are having the outcomes that I would desire.

Working with me on this particular project is Sarah Tait, Jefferson Scholar at the University of Virginia.  Sarah has been working with me in Dublin throughout the summer of 2014 on this and other projects.