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Research by members of The Centre for Research on Families, Life Course and Generations engages with socio-economic inequalities and the interplay of social experience and large scale social change, particularly in areas relating to youth, schooling, vocational and higher education, education to labour market transitions, parenting and family life, inter-generational relationships, sex and relationship education, and autism across the life course. We hold expertise in diverse methodological approaches including mixed methods and qualitative longitudinal research. FLaG offers a hub for inter-disciplinary events and collaborations. We have close links with the Inequalities Research Network.


A number of our research concerns, particularly relating to transitions and to inequalities and justice, intersect with three defining questions of our age relating to the social implications of Brexit, the Coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis. These are already shaping the future, and potential societal pathways, very profoundly. We are developing research in these areas to generate new analyses, insights and resources. We aim to inform public engagement, policy, practice and intervention in shaping more sustainable, inclusive and just social arrangements. For more information, see our research pages and keep an eye out for upcoming events.

Examples of our research projects are listed below.


Current and recent research projects

Determinant, dynamics and policy implications of deep poverty

Funded by the British Academy and Wolfson Foundation, Daniel Edmiston is undertaking a mixed-methods longitudinal study on the determinants, dynamics and policy implications of deep poverty in the UK. The findings will generate a new evidence base on the changing profile and depth of poverty amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

Public views and the climate crisis

The climate and ecological crisis is a defining issue of our time. This research project, led by Sarah Irwin, is exploring perceptions, values and moral reasoning relevant to low carbon transitions. It will inform city level engagement between the public and Leeds City Council.

Net Zero and the Cost of Living Crisis

Supported by University of Leeds RIS Net Zero pump priming funds, Sarah Irwin (SSP) and Lone Sorensen (School of Media and Communications) ran discussion groups with citizens whose voices are less heard in debates about Net Zero and explored their views about the cost of living crisis and about tackling climate change. We discuss their priorities and some of the interconnections they drew across these and related social issues.

L-earning: rethinking young women's working lives

Funded by the ESRC as part of the 'Transforming Working Lives' initiative, the study will draw together key debates and literatures from Work and Employment Studies, Youth Studies and the Sociology of Education. A mixed methods study with young women it will contribute to understandings of gendered inequalities through a distinct focus on the early life course experiences of working among childfree or pre-motherhood women.

Youth and transition

As well as involvement in funded projects we are developing work in a number of connected areas relating to 14-19, graduate transitions, youth in comparative perspective, youth and social generation, and youth transitions in contemporary conditions of 'crisis' (including Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic).

Welfare at a (Social) Distance

For millions of people in the UK, COVID-19 has disrupted their relationship to paid work resulting in income or job loss and a great deal of uncertainty about the future. Daniel Edmiston is co-investigator on Welfare at a (Social) Distance, a major national research project investigating the pandemic's impacts on work and livelihoods.

Timescapes Archive and Qual methods training

Kahryn Hughes is Director of the Timescapes Archive of qualitative longitudinal (QL) data. Here you can deposit and access data sets, find extensive resources about QL methods and qualitative secondary analysis and explore related methods training courses, as part of the National Centre for Research Methods.

Living Gender in Diverse Times

Dr. Sharon Elley and Dr. Kim Allen are both involved in ‘Living Gender in Diverse Times’  (2017-21), an ESRC-funded interdisciplinary research project investigating 16-24 year olds views and experiences of gender and intersectionality.

Outcomes of care experienced and estranged students

Jacqueline Stevenson has been involved in ‘Positive Impact?’, a study commissioned and funded by the Unite Foundation

Child poverty and social exclusion

Led by Gill Main, projects include ‘Fair Shares and Families’, and ‘A Different Take’, in which children and young people with lived experience of poverty shared their experiences and ideas with policy makers and practitioners

Parenting and Family Life

Run by Sarah Irwin, this longitudinal study explored parents’ experiences of raising teenage children in contemporary Britain, their expectations for their children’s futures and their practices and orientations.

Autism across the life course / A Society fit for Autistics

Dr Sharon Elley has been developing research into experiences of autism, institutional policy and practice and related barriers and pathways in education and employment. See details of her project: a Society Fit for Autistics

Celebrity and young people's aspirations

Dr Kim Allen was involved in the project: The role of celebrity in young people's classed and gendered aspirations. Funded by the ESRC, the project findings can be found in her related book, 'Celebrity, Aspiration and Contemporary Youth Education and Inequality in an Era of Austerity' published by Bloomsbury in 2018.

Welfare, Work and Intergenerational Inequality

Dr Daniel Edmiston is currently developing a project to examine emerging social divisions of public welfare in a changing labour market and its implications for intergenerational inequality.