Explore our research

  • Youth and Justice

The Youth and Justice research group is focused on issues facing young people involved in offending, and more broadly on issues around children and young people’s inclusion, their participation in decision-making and their experiences in communities.

We are a dynamic, multi-disciplinary group pioneering innovative, ethnographic research methods with children and young people. We have excellent academic and policy/practice networks, which we are keen to develop further. We are interested in research which makes a real difference.

Our co-leads for this group are Professor Nigel Thomas and Dr. John Wainwright who work with a team based within our School of Social Work, Care and Community.  Professor Thomas's research with children and young people includes child welfare, children’s rights and theories of childhood, with a particular focus on children and young people’s participation. He has worked with children in care, young carers, school pupils and members of youth councils, using a range of innovative methods. He is co-director and co-founder of The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation. For seven years he co-edited the journal Children & Society, whose editorial board he now chairs.

Dr. Wainwright’s social work experience has spanned several years of practice, education and management mainly within the City of Liverpool. He teaches social work values, research methods, ethnicity, and social work. His research interests centre around ethnicity, and social work with a particular focus on children, young people and their families. 

Follow us on Twitter @UCLanCJP

There are four other research groups under the Criminal Justice Partnership theme. Find out more below.

Social and Restorative Justice
Mental Health and Criminal Justice
Violence and Aggression

  • Young people and the criminal justice system
  • Desistance
  • Ethnicity
  • Communities
  • Families and justice
  • Inclusion and exclusion
  • Citizenship
  • Mobile and participatory methods

Research by Temple and Wainwright (2010) was turned into a training pack for schools around bullying.

Research by Larkins and Wainwright (2013) has informed practice briefings including a Youth Justice Board good practice briefing on child development and psychology.

Froggett, Lynn, Wainwright, John, Roy, Alastair Neil, and Manley, Julian (2016) Gift Shop Project.  Psychosocial Research Unit. UCLan. Preston, Lancashire.

Hughes, Jenny, Roy, Alastair Neil and Manley, Julian (2014) Surviving in Manchester: Narratives on Movement from the Men's Room. Project Report. Manchester: The Men's Room, UCLan and The University of Manchester, Manchester.

Larkins, Cath and Wainwright, John (2013) 'Just putting me on the right track': Young people's perspectives on what helps them stop offending. Project Report. University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire.

Roy, Alastair Neil and Chilvers, Mark (2014) Mobile Citizens: A pilot project training young people to become citizen journalists using mobile phone technology. Project Report. Kids Company, London.

Roy, Alastair Neil, Hughes, Jenny, Froggett, Lynn and Christensen, Jennifer (2015Using Mobile Methods to Explore the Lives of Marginalised Young Men in Manchester. In: Innovations in Social Work Research. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, pp. 153-170.

Roy, Alastair Neil (2016) Learning on the move: exploring work with vulnerable young men through the lens of movement, in Applied Mobilities 1(2): 207-218

Roy, Alastair Neil and Manley, Julian (2016) The visual matrix: A psycho-social method for discovering unspoken complexities in social care practice, with J. Manley, in Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society

Temple, Bogusia and Wainwright, John (2010) A daily occurrence: Exploring the experiences of people who use the Sophie Lancaster website. Discussion Paper. Sophie Lancaster Foundation, Preston, Lancashire.

Thomas, Nigel, Crowley, Anne, Moxon, Dan, Street, Cathy, Ridley, Julie, and Joshi, Puja (2017) ‘Independent advocacy for children and young people: developing an outcomes framework’, Children & Society, advance online publication. DOI:10.1111/chso.12207


Distinguished Visitor Programme – Jacqueline Kennelly, Associate Professor from Carleton University, Ottawa, will be visiting UCLan in March 2017.

Jacqueline Kennelly adopts an innovative approach to research, mixing and incorporating both traditional (interviewing or participant observation) and non-traditional (visual or web-based) ethnographic methods to investigate young people’s citizenship.

Distinguished Visitor Programme Events

Jacqueline Kennelly, Associate Professor, Dept of Sociology & Anthropology, Carleton University is visiting the University from 20-24th March 2017 Two public, free seminars are taking place:

Olympic Exclusions: Youth, Poverty, and Social Legacies
Media Innovation Studio, Media Factory, UCLan, 22nd March 2017 14:00-15:30
For more information and to register please click here

Citizen Youth after #Occupy: youth citizenship as governance?
Harrington Building 320, UCLan, 22nd March 2017 16:00-17:30
For more information and to register please click here

The Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation at the University of Central Lancashire in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau Research Centre (2016)

Independent Advocacy: Impact and Outcomes for Children and Young People - Report produced for the Children’s Commissioner for England