Tom-Clark.jpgDr Tom Clark

Lecturer in Research Methods


Telephone: 0114 222 6446 (external), 26446 (internal)
Room: Elmfield, G42


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 went on to be awarded an MA in Sociological Research from the Department, and has since completed his PhD thesis entitled "Doing qualitative research with people and organisations: How do researchers understand and negotiate their research relationships?". Tom is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).


Tom's main research interests are in the broad areas of research methodology, novel applications of social theory, and sport. More specifically, he is interested in the utility of social research and the impact of being researched; the ethics of social research; secondary research methods; methodological innovation; and, the sociology of lower league football. Currently, He is attempting to utilise novel sources of data in order to explore the sociology of evil. Tom is also interested in the sociology of deception, in all of its various disguises.

During his time at Sheffield, Tom has also worked on a variety of other research projects. In collaboration with Research in Practice (see, he assisted with the DoH funded project, `the costs and benefits of being a research site´, as well as the DfESS funded project, `Social work expertise in the family court´. Similarly, Tom has also worked as a research assistant on the project, `Developing qualitative research in an e-science framework´.

Funded Research Projects
Date Sponsor Details
2011-2012 British Academy 'Why Was Myra Hindley Evil?' Toward a Sociological Understanding
The project will address how Myra Hindley was seen by the public as well as examining the social forces that were shaping those understandings.


The guiding purpose of Tom's teaching is to use his knowledge of the research process to help students to develop a flexible range of skills and techniques 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 productive but critical doing. This necessarily involves adopting an approach that develops substantive knowledge and practical skills, but also one that encourages critical reflection. Hence, inquiry-based learning is central to Tom's teaching.

Tom is Course Leader for our undergraduate programmes. He teaches on the following courses:

  • SCS1008: Introduction to Social Research
  • SCS105: Doing Social Research
  • SCS2004: Social Research Skills
  • SCS3025: The Sociology of Evil
  • SCS6001: The Research Process

Also see our Undergraduate Degree pages.

Postgraduate supervision

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:

Studying for a PhD in Sociology


Publications since 2005

Clark, T., Foster, L. and Bryman, A. (forthcoming) How to do your social research project or dissertation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Clark TW. (2014) Using Archival Documents as Data: Working with Myra Hindley's ‘Prison Files’ SAGE Research Methods Cases 2014 (Working paper)
doi: 10.4135/978144627305013507678

Mainwaring, E., & Clark, T. (2012) ‘We’re shit and we know we are’: Identity, place and ontological security in lower league football in England, Soccer and Society, 13, 1, pp 107-123. doi: 10.1080/14660970.2012.627173

Clark, T. (2011) Gaining and maintaining access: Exploring the mechanisms that support and challenge the relationship between gatekeepers and researchers. Qualitative Social Work, 10, 4, pp 485-502. doi: 10.1177/1473325009358228

Clark, T. (2010) 'On being ‘researched’: Why do people engage with qualitative research?' Qualitative Research, August 19, 2010 vol. 10 no. 4: 399-419. doi: 10.1177/1468794110366796

Clark, T. (2008) '‘We’re over-researched here!’: Exploring accounts of research fatigue within qualitative research engagements'. Sociology, 42, 5. doi: 10.1177/0038038508094573

Clark, T., & Sinclair, R. (2008) 'The costs and benefits of being a research site'. Evidence and Policy: A journal of research, debate and practice, 4, 1, pp 105-119. doi: 10.1332/174426408783477855

Molyneux-Hodgson, S., &, Clark, T. (2007) 'Sociological engagements with Computing: The advent of E-Science and some implications for the qualitative research community'. Sociological Research Online, 12, 3.

Clark, T. (2006) '“I’m Scunthorpe ‘til I die”: Constructing and negotiating identity through the terrace chant'. Soccer and Society, 7, 4. doi: 10.1080/14660970600905786

Norman, P., Clark, T., & Walker, G. (2005) 'The theory of planned behaviour: Descriptive norms and the moderating role of group identification.' The Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35, 5, pp 1009-1029. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2005.tb02157.x

A full list of publications can be downloaded by clicking the link on the right of this page.