Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Emeritus Professor Bren Neale

Professor of Life Course and Family Research

Bren Neale is Emeritus Professor of Life course and Family Research (University of Leeds, School of Sociology and Social Policy, UK) and a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (elected in 2010). Bren specialises in research on the dynamics of family life and inter-generational relationships, and has published widely in this field. Her recent publications present findings from the Economic and Social Research Council-funded Following Young Fathers study (www.followingfathers.leeds.ac.uk). She is a founding member of the journal Families, Relationships and Societies, and chair of the journal’s Editorial Management Board.

Research Interests

Bren is a leading expert in Qualitative Longitudinal (QL) research methodology and provides training for new and established researchers, based primarily at the University of Leeds but also internationally (see the training programme for the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre, and Professional Development programme run by the Leeds Social Sciences Institute). From 2007 to 2012 she directed the Economic and Social Research Council-funded Timescapes Initiative (www.timescapes.leeds.ac.uk), as part of which she advanced QL methods across academia, and in Government and NGO settings. Over the past decade, she has developed an international role as advisor to QL projects across a variety of fields, including health, education, sociology, social policy, employment, criminology, migration and socio-legal research. She has given many key note addresses at conferences and continues to deliver public lectures at European Universities. In November 2016 she was Visiting Professor at the Institute of Sociology, University of Vienna, where she delivered a programme of lectures, workshops, and a public lecture on the theme of Researching Lives through Time: Qualitative approaches.   

Bren’s current roles include Chair of the Advisory Board for the Welfare Conditionality QPS study (ESRC, Dwyer, York); Consultant to the Housing and Poverty QL study (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Tunstall, York); and the Family and Work QL study (JRF, Millar and Ridge, Bath); Advisor to the Pathways to the Future QPS Study (Flecker, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Vienna); and the Education to Work: Foreign Labour Market Transitions QL study (Grobowska, Youth Research Lab, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Warsaw). In 2016, Bren was appointed as consultant to PATH (a global health organisation), where she is supporting the development of a study designed to track the delivery and uptake of a new health care intervention in sub-Saharan Africa.

Key Publications

Journal articles

  • Davies L, Neale B, ‘Supporting young fathers: the promise, potential and perils of statutory service provision’, Families, Relationships and Societies, 4.2 (2015), 331-338
    DOI: 10.1332/204674315X14351554435189, Repository URL: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/86591/

  • Neale BA, ‘Adding Time into the Mix: Stakeholder ethics in qualitative longitudinal research’, Methodological Innovations Oline, ed. by Wiles R and Boddy J, Special Issue on Research Ethics in Challenging Circumstances (2013)
    DOI: 10.4256/mio.2013.009

  • Neale B, Henwood K, Holland J, ‘Researching lives through time: An introduction to the timescapes approach’, Qualitative Research, 12.1 (2012), 4-15
    DOI: 10.1177/1468794111426229

  • Neale BA, Bishop E, ‘The Timescapes Archive: A stakeholder approach to archiving Qualitative Longitudinal data’, Qualitative Research, 12.1 (2012), 53-65


  • ‘Qualitative Longitudinal Research’, in Understanding Research for Social Policy and Social Work, ed. by Becker S, Bryman A and Ferguson H (Bristol: Policy Press, 2012), 271-258

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