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Type Job
Categories (tags) Uncategorized
Dates 2020/02/01 - 2020/02/25
Address University of Nottingham
Geolocation 52° 56' 19", -1° 11' 43"
Abstract due 2020/02/25
Submission deadline
Final version due
Notification date
Tweet Funded #EMCA PhD with Prof @AlisonPilnick - ESRC DTP Collaborative Studentship: Is 'elderspeak' always inappropriate? An empirical investigation of the use of elderspeak in dementia care, deadline 24th Feb
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ESRC DTP Collaborative Studentship: Is 'elderspeak' always inappropriate? An empirical investigation of the use of elderspeak in dementia care

The Midlands Graduate School is an accredited Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).

The University of Nottingham, as part of Midlands Graduate School is now inviting applications for an ESRC Doctoral Studentship in association with our collaborative partner Nottingham University Hospitals Trust to commence in October 2020.

‘Elderspeak’ is defined as the use of systematic speech accommodations directed towards older adults. Features of elderspeak include speaking more slowly, and using shorter turn constructions, repetition, and terms of endearment such as ‘dear’ or ‘darling’. Some authors have objected to its use on moral grounds, on the basis that it is similar in tone and register to ‘infant speak’, and is therefore patronising and infantilising to older persons. However, empirical studies of elderspeak in a dementia-specific context present a mixed picture, with some studies suggesting it can improve communication and cooperation with care and others suggesting it may increase resistance to care. This mixed picture presents a dilemma for healthcare practice. This project will use the sociological method of conversation analysis to examine the use of elderspeak as it occurs between patients and staff on acute Healthcare of the Elderly hospital wards. Analysis will begin with an existing corpus of video recorded data, but the successful candidate will also collect and analyse new data to supplement this. The project aims to provide a more detailed contribution to the empirical basis for delivering dementia care; and to develop a training resource for staff grounded in this empirical research. The student will be based in the School of Sociology and Social Policy, and the supervisory team are Prof Alison Pilnick (Sociology), Dr Sarah Goldberg (Health Sciences), and Prof Rowan Harwood (NUH).

More information about the project can be found here:

Application Process

Informal enquiries can be addressed to

To be considered for this PhD, please complete the Collaborative Studentship application form available online here, and email it with cover letter and CV to

Shortlisted applicants will also be required to provide two references.

Applicants should have a minimum of a 2(i) undergraduate degree or Merit at Masters level, and be able to demonstrate an interest or relevant experience in the topic or method of the project.

Please note that a 3 year PhD award can only be made to candidates who have already fulfilled ESRC Core Training requirements. 1+3 and 3.5 year awards are available if training elements still need to be completed. Applicants must also meet ESRC eligibility criteria for funding.

Application deadline: Monday 24th February 9am. Shortlisted applicants will be contacted on Tuesday 25th February and interviews will be held on Monday 2nd March.