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Dr Sarah Burch

Director of Research and Research Students

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
Areas of Expertise:
Health and social care , Policy
Research Supervision:

Sarah’s main areas of expertise are older people, health policy and ageing.

[email protected]


Before joining academia, Sarah worked in a range of public sector organisations, focusing on housing, social care and health. She worked principally with older and disabled people in different settings.

Since joining Anglia Ruskin University, Sarah has held a number of roles, including Head of Department. She now works across our faculty, promoting research and supporting doctoral students.

Research interests

  • Older people and ageing
  • Social policy
  • Social inclusion
  • Gender

Sarah's work now focuses mainly on ageing and social policy, with a broader focus on health policy. She has a wide interest in several policy areas, including well-being, childhood studies and social inclusion. A common theme is the way that social groups and conditions are problematised, alongside the consequences for their experiences.

Areas of research supervision

Sarah would be pleased to consider supervising doctoral students with the following research interests/topics:

  • Ageing and wellbeing
  • Ageing and social inclusion
  • Ageing and technology
  • Caregiving 
  • Ageing and gender

Recent and current doctoral supervision as first supervisor:

  • An exploration of how domiciliary care services interact with an older person's sense of self (current)
  • The Impact of Declining Social Capital in the Care of Older People: A comparative Study Between UK and Ghana (current)
  • Exploring the impact of classroom-based training on a participant’s clinical practice (current)
  • Comparing Outcomes in Online, Therapist-Delivered and Face-to Face Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: A Randomised Control Trial (current)
  • Creating Successful Communities: The importance of 'fit' (current)
  • In what way does the establishing of integrated care teams in the community influence the professional identities of team members and the collective team dynamic? (current)
  • Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention for acute myocardial infarction: exploring the experiences and perceptions of patients, partners and nurses (current)
  • Social construction of situational impropriety in emergency department. A cross-cultural multi-case study (current)
  • Patient experience of integrated care: experiencing a new model of care in the community (current)
  • An examination of decision making by women with complex needs (current)
  • Moral wrecks – a comparative historical study of the regulation of women’s drinking in Britain (current)
  • Exploring Poverty and Child Labour: An examination of Child Trading in Edo Region of Southern Nigeria (current)
  • Assessment of Multiple Sclerosis in Routine Clinical Practice (current)
  • “Hands off our benefits!”: how participation in the comment section of the 2009 Green Paper, Shaping the Future of Care Together, contributes to understandings of online collective action (2014)
  • Reflections on the newly qualified social workers’ journey: from university training to qualified practice (2014)
  • Recontextualising the Big Society: A Critical Discourse Analysis Case Study of Local Government Policy Development in Cambridgeshire (2014)
  • Paths into Volunteering (2015)
  • Foundation Degree Programmes in Health: perspectives of leaders and contributors across the UK (2016)


Sarah has taught across a range of social policy areas at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level. She now focuses mainly on supervision and training for doctoral students.


  • PhD, thesis entitled Narrative and Negotiation in Structured Interviewing with Older People, Anglia Ruskin University
  • BA Arts and Social Sciences, Open University

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow, the Higher Education Academy

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • 2014: Dementia Buddies, SEPT
  • 2010: Volunteers in Child Protection, CSV
  • 2006-7: Evaluation of older people’s participation in a reference group, Age Concern
  • 2002-5: Evaluation of Healthy Living Initiative in East Cambs
  • 2004-6: Study of palliative care at Hinchingbrooke Hospital

Selected recent publications

Sadler, K., Akister, J. and Burch, S., 2014. Do factors associated with ‘Young People Not Being in Education, Employment or Training’, apply to the demographics of an area rural deprivation? A case study of Fenland in the UK. International Social Work, DOI: 10.1177/0020872813515010. Online version available at http://isw.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/03/27/0020872813515010.

Burch, S., 2014. Cultural and anthropological studies, In Naidoo, J, and Wills, J. (Eds.). Health Studies (3rd edition). Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Sadler, K., Akister, J. and Burch, S., 2011. Risk Factors Associated with Becoming NEET: A review of the literature applied to the demographics of the Fenland area. Report for Cambridgeshire County Council.

Scourfield, P. and Burch, S., 2010. Ethical considerations when involving older people in public service participation processes. Ethics & Social Welfare, 4(3), pp.236-253.

Trowler, P. (revised and updated by Burch, S.), 2008. Communication and the media, In: Haralambos, M. and Holborn, M. Sociology: Themes and Perspectives. London: Collins Education.

Burch, S., 2005. The roles of patients and professionals in primary care and public health. In: Holborn, M. (Ed.). Developments in Sociology: An annual review  (volume 21). Harlow: Causeway Press/Pearson Education, pp.21-38.

Hu, M., Moore, S. and Burch, S., 2005. Final Report: Evaluation of Healthy Living, East Cambridgeshire. Cambridge: Anglia Ruskin University/ New Opportunities Fund.

Burch, S., 2004. Story telling in structured interviewing. British Society of Gerontology 33rd Annual Scientific Meeting, ‘Challenging Perceptions of Later Life’.

Burch, S. and Borland, C., 2001. Collaboration, facilities and communities in day care services for older people. Health and Social Care in the Community, 9(1), pp.19-30.

Burch, S., Longbottom, J. ,McKay, M., Borland, C. and Prevost, T., 2000. The Huntingdon day hospital trial: secondary outcome measures. Clinical Rehabilitation, 14, pp.447-453.

Burch, S., Longbottom, J., McKay, M., Borland, C. and Prevost, T., 1999. A randomized controlled trial of day hospital and day centre therapy. Clinical Rehabilitation, 13, pp.105-112.