My advice to anyone wishing to undertake a PhD in the Law School

Image of Lana Ghuneim
Lana Ghuneim
PhD student
School of law
Lana is a current ESRC White Rose funded PhD student here in the School of Law, who has really valued the support she's received throughout her studies.

Study Period: 1/10/19 - 30/09/23

PhD Supervisors: 

Title of PhD:

Investigating the effect of parenting practice and experience on aggression and conduct problems among children and youth of refugee background in Zurich, Switzerland.

What is the topic of your PhD?

My PhD investigates the effect of parenting practice and life experiences on externalising conduct problems (e.g. aggression, non-aggressive conduct disorder, criminality) among children and youth of refugee background in Zurich, Switzerland. Parenting practices and experience include the degree of perceived parental involvement, maternal depression, corporal punishment, and acculturation. Possible moderators and mediators of the relationship between childhood experiences and externalising behaviours will be examined, such as parental education, social context (including friends/peers) and demographics such as age and gender. This work is important to try and understand the potential damaging, long term indirect effects of war on second-generation refugees and elucidate some of the processes that result in positive or negative outcomes.

Why did you pick the School of Law for your doctoral studies?

There was no doubt in my mind, once I began the process of applying for funding to pursue my PhD, that I wanted to do so at Sheffield University with the School of Law. The University and School has world class researchers and facilities and a thriving postgraduate community that allow me to both gain the support that an early researcher needs to develop, but also to contribute to that community (e.g. I am one of the PGR reps and member of the ESRC student forum). The wider city of Sheffield also appealed as a vibrant multicultural environment.

What have you valued the most about your experience as a PhD student?

The support I have received in what were unforeseen and difficult circumstances has been wonderful. The pandemic has had a serious impact on my original PhD plans, given I intended to fly to Jordan in April 2020 when much of the world began to stop travel. However, I have been supported by my supervisors, the wider School of Law and the ESRC to develop new ideas and to limit the consequences of the pandemic on the success of my work.

What is next for you after the PhD?

I wish to continue in academia as either a postdoctoral researcher or to lecture in criminology. Either way, I will continue to research with children and adolescents and, in particular, refugees and those from the Middle Eastern region.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about completing a PhD in the School of Law?

Go for it! I would not hesitate to recommend the experience of a PhD in The School of Law here at Sheffield. The University is fantastic, the department is world class and supportive, the city is fantastic and the opportunities, if you grasp them, are endless. You will be in an extremely rewarding atmosphere, both academically and socially.

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