Dr Tom Clark
BA, MA, PhD, SFHEA
Department of Sociological Studies
Lecturer in Research Methods
+44 114 222 6446
Full contact details
Department of Sociological Studies
Tom has spent his entire academic life at The University of Sheffield and has been a part of the Department of Sociological Studies since 2002.
After graduating with a BA (hons) in Psychology, Tom was awarded an MA in Sociological Research from the Department, and completed his PhD thesis in 2008.
He also qualified for a Post-Graduate Certificate of Higher Education (PGCHE) in 2006. After spending two years as a University Teacher, he was appointed as a lecturer in 2010.
Between 2013 and 2017, he was seconded to the Sheffield Methods Institute to design and deliver the innovative Applied Social Sciences degree programme. Tom is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), a Faculty TESS Award Fellow, and a Senate Award Fellow.
- Research interests
Tom is interested in all aspects of research methods and methodology, particularly with respect to learning and teaching. He has authored the book ‘the Sociology of Evil’(to be published in September, 2019), and is popularly known for his work on, amongst others, Myra Hindley’s ‘Prison Files’.
This material has appeared regularly in the national media. He has also written extensively about various aspects of learning and teaching in higher education, and, to a lesser extent football fandom.
His textbook, 'How to do your social science dissertation or research project', will be published by Oxford University Press in the summer of 2019.
- ‘Normal happy girl’ interrupted: An auto/biographical analysis of Myra Hindley’s public confession. Deviant Behavior. View this article in WRRO
- Social identification, widening participation and Higher Education: Experiencing similarity and difference in an English red brick university. Sociological Research Online, 24(3), 353-369. View this article in WRRO
- Undergraduate experiences of the research/teaching nexus across the whole student lifecycle. Teaching in Higher Education, 24(3), 412-427.
- Beyond the compulsory: a critical exploration of the experiences of extracurricular activity and employability in a northern red brick university. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 23(3), 414-435. View this article in WRRO
- ‘It’s Scary and It’s Big, and There’s No Job Security’: Undergraduate Experiences of Career Planning and Stratification in an English Red Brick University. Social Sciences, 7(10). View this article in WRRO
- Lower income students and the ‘double deficit’ of part-time work: Undergraduate experiences of finance, studying, and employability. Journal of Education and Work. View this article in WRRO
- Student budgets and widening participation: Comparative experiences of finance in low and higher income undergraduates at a Northern Red Brick University. Social Policy & Administration. View this article in WRRO
- ‘We will never escape these debts’: Undergraduate experiences of indebtedness, income-contingent loans and the tuition fee rises. Journal of Further and Higher Education. View this article in WRRO
- ‘I’m not a natural mathematician’: Inquiry-based learning, constructive alignment and introductory quantitative social science. Teaching Public Administration. View this article in WRRO
- 'We're shit and we know we are': Identity, place and ontological security in lower league football in England. Soccer and Society, 13(1), 107-123.
- Gaining and maintaining access: Exploring the mechanisms that support and challenge the relationship between gatekeepers and researchers. Qualitative Social Work, 10(4), 485-502.
- On 'being researched': Why do people engage with qualitative research?. Qualitative Research, 10(4), 399-419.
- 'We're over-researched here!': Exploring accounts of research fatigue within qualitative research engagements. Sociology, 42(5), 953-970.
- The costs and benefits of acting as a research site. Evidence and Policy, 4(1), 105-119.
- Sociological engagements with computing: The advent of e-science and some implications for the qualitative research community. Sociological Research Online, 12(3).
- ‘I’m Scunthorpe ’til I die’: Constructing and (Re)negotiating Identity through the Terrace Chant. Soccer & Society, 7(4), 494-507.
- The theory of planned behavior, descriptive norms, and the moderating role of group identification. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35(5), 1008-1029.
- Research group
Tom has supervised a number of PhD’s in a diverse range of areas. This includes: the ‘escape attempts’ of cosplayers; experiences of social identity and community with respect to the MOBA game ‘League of Legends’; narratives of the Catholic self in Northern Ireland; and, an exploration of how people who experienced Child Sexual Abuse go on to understand their identity in adulthood.
Tom welcomes applications to study full-time or part-time with him for MPhil or PhD research degrees that are related to his activities and experience.
2017 Inside Knowledge Fellowship, TUoS, £4,500
Title: Developing digital literacies: Enhancing the expectations, experiences, and capabilities of Sociological Studies students
2016, Wellcome Trust Society and Ethics Doctoral Studentship, £83,201
Title: From Victim to Survivor: What actions do survivors take to redefine their identity when recovering from child sexual abuse?’ (with Claire Cunnington).
2013, HEA Teaching Research Methods, £9,680
Title: Communicating statistics: Developing a narrative approach to teaching and learning introductory quantitative social science (with Liam Foster).
2011, British Academy: Small Grants, £3,510
Title: Why was Myra Hindley evil?: Toward a sociological understanding of a folk devil.
2009, CILASS (Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences), £4,105
Quantitative research methods in Sociological Studies (with Liam Foster).
- Teaching interests
The guiding purpose of Tom's teaching is to use his experience of the research process to help students to develop a range of abilities, capacities, and identities that will help them in future environments, whatever these may be.
Rather than relying on the passive consumption of textbooks and lectures, Tom’s teaching emphasises active and inquiry-based learning that is constructively aligned at both modular and programme level.
He designs immersive digital environments to enhance the student experience of learning, and also has much experience of delivering student partnership projects. This good practice has been shared widely across the university and beyond.
Between 2013 and 2017, Tom was seconded to the Faculty of Social Sciences to help establish the Sheffield Methods Institute, with direct responsibility for designing and delivering the innovative programme in Applied Social Science.
Tom has also helped to deliver other university infrastructure projects that have had significant impact on policy and practice. This includes the ‘Student Tracking Project: 2013’, and the BME Attainment Gap Project’.
He has acted as the advisor to ‘the Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Unit’ since it was established in 2012, and also worked closely with internationally-renowned publishers on the development of digital content relating to research methods.
- Teaching activities
During his time with the Department of Sociological Studies, Tom has convened or delivered over 30 different modules at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. His current teaching portfolio includes:
- SMI103: Social Research Practice
- SCS2020: Doing Sociological Qualitative Research
- SCS3025: The Sociology of Evil