picture of carolyn

Professor Carolyn Kagan

Professor of Community Social Psychology
Deputy Head of DepartmentCo-editor, Community, Work and Family

Department of Psychology and Speech Pathology
The Manchester Metropolitan University
Elizabeth Gaskell Campus
Hathersage Road
Manchester, M13 0JA

Tel: 0161 247 2563
Fax: 0161 247 6364

Who am I?

I am a community psychologist with a background in social psychology, counselling psychology and social work. I have worked for 25 years on projects in the community, with disabled people and their families and services, and with people living in poverty. Much of my work is action oriented, with projects extending over several years, and I have been involved with the establishment of new forms of community organisation. I collaborate closely with colleagues working in Latin America and Australia. I teach community psychology at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, via action learning, and am the Course Co-ordinator of the first MSc Community Psychology in the UK. I supervise PhD students in community and applied social psychology, and sit on the steering groups of a number of community projects. For 10 years I was a member of a regional development team (North West Training and Development Team) and remain an associate member.

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Research Interests

Recent Research Projects

Advisory roles

I am a formal advisor to a number of different community projects, including, for example:

2000 - Present Member, Advisory Panel Work Advocacy and Disabled People project (Lottery funded)

1999 - 2001 Member Advisory Panel Social Capital and Health project (Health Education Authority funded)

1998- Present Advisor, Challenge 2000, Trafford

1997- Present Advisor, Independent Advocacy (and professional supervisor of project Co-ordinator)

1997- Present Advisor, Federation Supported Living Groups: Quality Assurance Project

Courses Taught  (link to)

Research Projects Supervised
( All these theses are held in the library of Manchester Metroplitan University)
Recent research projects that I have supervised include:

2002 MSc (by Research)  Psychological well-being of young people with mobility impairments

2002 PhD Transition from school towards adult life for people with moderate learning difficulties

2001 PhD Evaluation of Organisational Change in a Community Psychiatric Nursing Service

2001 PhD An exploration of the complexity of paediatric headaches

2001 PhD Multi-Method Exploration of Counselling in Primary Care

2001 MSc (by Research) The development of a parenting assessment tool: An action research approach

2001 MSc Psychological Well Being Among the Catholic Clergy

2001 MSc Asian People’s Experiences of ‘Talking Therapies’

2001 MSc Career Motivations of Trainee Counselling Psychologists

2001 MSc Multi-agency working in Youth Offender Teams

2001 MSc Evaluation of Intervention Groups with people of different ages in a Women's prison

2001 MSc Mental Health Needs of Young Offenders

2001 MSc Anger, Violence and Drugs: Profiles of young offenders

2000 PhD Evaluation of Person Centred Planning in a Learning Disability Service

2000 PhD Experiences of Dual Career British Asian Couples

2000 MSc Personal Construct Study of Organisational Commitment

2000 MSc Fourth Generation Evaluation of Training Needs in a Brain Injury Unit

2000 MSc Expectations of Different Styles of Counselling

2000 MSc Relative's Experiences of Services for People with Schizophrenia

2000 MSc Do Witnesses of Crime Report Crime?

1999 MSc(by Research) Evaluation of a Specialist Service for Young Man with Challenging Beahviour

1999 MSc Staff attitudes towards working with learning disabled people

1998 MSc Community Psychology Perspectives on a Mental Health Users’ Group

1998 MSc Accounts of Special Schooling Given by Young Adults with Learning Difficulties

1998 MSc Intergenerational Understanding in the Inner City - a Community Psychology Approach

1997 MSc Learning Disabled Parents : Accounts of Mothers and Their Professionals

1997 MSc Community Psychology Investigation of School Exclusion in Inner Manchester

1997 MSc Self Harm and Professional Responses

1996 MPhil Quality of Life for People with Chronic Mental Health Problems

1996 MSc Evaluation of Groups for Parents of Autistic Children

1996 MSc (by Research) Evaluation of a Self Advocacy Group

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Recent Publications

Books and book chapters
Kagan C. and Tindall C. (2002 in press) Feminist Approaches to Counselling Psychology in W. Dryden, R. Woolfe and S. Strawbridge Handbook of Counselling Psychology (2nd Ed) London, Sage

Burton, M. and Kagan, C. (1998) Complementarism versus incommensurability in psychological research methodology in M. Cheung-Chung (ed.) Current Trends in History and Philosophy of Psychology Leicester: British Psychological Society ISBN 1 85433 265 1

Burton, M., and Kagan, C. (1995) Social Skills and Learning Disability: A Social Capability Approach Nelson Thornes (formerly Chapman and Hall) ,London (Therapy in Practice Series) ISBN 0-412-43380X 1-56593-194-7 USA

Kagan, C., and Evans, J. (1995) Professional Interpersonal Skills for Nurses Chapman and Hall, London ISBN 0-412-44100-4 (reprinted 1996; 1998, 2000)

Lewis, S., Sixsmith, J. and C. Kagan (1996) Dual Career Families in M. Moore, J. Sixsmith and K. Knowles (eds.) Children's Reflections of Family Life pp 52-66 Taylor and Francis ISBN 0-7507-0574-4

Kagan and Lewis, S. (1996) Families with Parents who have Multiple Commitments in M. Moore, J. Sixsmith and K. Knowles (eds.) Children's Reflections of Family Life pp 29-51 Taylor and Francis ISBN 0-7507-0574-4

Burton, M. and Kagan, C. (1996) Rethinking Empowerment: Shared action against powerlessness in I. Parker and R. Spears (eds.) Psychology and Society: Radical Theory and Practice pp 197-209 Pluto Press, London ISBN 0-7453-0879-1

Journal articles, and reports

Lewis, S., Kagan, C. and Heaton, P. (2000) Dual Earner Parents with Disabled Children: Family patterns for work and caring Journal of Family Issues, 23

Kagan, C. and Burton, M (2000) Prefigurative action research: an alternative basis for critical psychology Annual Review of Critical Psychology2 73-87

Lewis, S., Kagan, C. and Heaton, P. (2000) Managing Work-family Diversity for Parents of Disabled Children. Beyond Policy to Practice Personnel review (Special Issue on Managing Diversity) 29, (3) 417-430

Kagan, C., Lewis, S. and Caton, S. (2000) Community, Work and Family in the 21st Century Community, Work and Family, 3, (1) 5-14

Kagan, C., Lewis, S., Cronshaw, M. and Heaton, P. (1999) Enabled or Disabled? Working Parents of disabled children Journal of Applied Social and Community Psychology 9 369-381

Lewis, S., Kagan, C. Cronshaw, M. and Heaton, P. (1999) Economic and psychological benefits from employment. The experiences of mothers of disabled children. Disability and Society 14 (4) 561-575

Rout, U., Lewis, S. and Kagan, C. (1998) Work and family roles: Indian Career women in India and the West Indian Journal Of Gender Studies, 6 1 91-108`

Lewis, S., Kagan, C. and Heaton, P. (1998) Caring to Work: Managing and Supporting Employees Who Are Parents of Disabled Children Croner Reference Book for Employers Magazine 7 13-17

Rana, B., Kagan, C., Lewis, S. and Rout, U. (1998) British South Asian Women Managers and Professionals: Experiences of work and family Women in Management Review, 13, 221-232

Kagan, C. and Lewis, S. (1998) Editorial Community, Work and Family1 5-9

Kagan, C. and Burton, M. (1995) Paradigm Change in Action: The role of social movements Agogik: Zeitschrift fur Fragen sozialer Gestaltung4/94 25-36 (Berne, Switzerland)


Kagan, C. and Scott-Roberts, S. (2002)  Family Based Intervention in Slums of Kolkata for Children with Cerebral Palsy and their Inclusion in the Community: Community Psychology and Community Occupational Therapy Perspectives   COP Occasional Papers: Number 1/02

Kagan, C. (2002) Making the Road by Walking It   Department PSP, Manchester Metropolitan University

Burton, M., Kagan, C. and Caton, S. (2001) Broadening the Boundries of Collaborative Research COP Occasional Papers 4/01COP Research Group (formerly IOD) ISBN 1-900139 26 X

Kagan. C., Burton, M., Lawthom, R., and Knowles, K. (2001) Community Activism, participation and social capital on a peripheral housing estate COP Occasional Papers 3/01COP Research Group (formerly IOD) ISBN 1-900139 21 9

Kagan, C. and Burton, M. (2001) Critical Community Psychology Praxis for the 21st Century COP Occasional Papers 2/01COP Research Group (formerly IOD) ISBN 1-90013916 2

Boyd, A., Geerling, T., Gregory, W., Midgley, G., Murray, P., Walsh, M. and Kagan, C. (2001) Capacity Building for Evaluation: A report on the HAZE Project to the Manchester, Salford and Trafford Health Action Zone Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull (ISBN 1 90203 412 0)

Kagan, C., Caton, S. and Amin, A. (2001) The Need for Witness Support: report of a Feasibility Study in Heartlands, Northtown COP Occasional Papers 1/01COP Research Group (formerly IOD) ISBN 1-900139 11 1

Kagan, C. (ed.) (2000) Collective Action and Social Change. IOD Occasional Papers 1/00 Manchester: IOD Research Group ISBN 1 900139 01 4 pp 81

Kagan, C., Lewis, S., Heaton, P. and McLean, I. (1999) Community, Work and Family Audit 1: Employing Organisations IOD Occasional Papers 4/99 Manchester, IOD Research Group ISBN 1-900139 95 2

Choudhury, M. and Kagan, C. (1999) Inter-generational Understanding in the Inner City: ‘Edge effects’ and sustainable change in community organisations IOD Occasional Papers 2/99 Manchester, IOD Research Group ISBN 1-900139 85 5

Kagan, C., Lewis, S. and Heaton, P. (1998) Caring to Work: accounts of working parents of disabled children London: Family Policy Studies Centre/Joseph Rowntree Foundation ISBN 1 901 455 09 2 pp 63

Kagan, C. (1997b) Regional Development for Inclusion: Community Development and Learning Disabled People in the North West of England Manchester: IOD Research Group ISBN 1 900139 40 5

Kagan, C. (1997a) Agencies and Advocacies: Experience inthe North West Whalley: North West training and Development Team pp 38 ISBN 1-898385 87 4

Kagan, C., Lewis, S. and Heaton, P. (1997) The Experiences of Working Parents of Disabled Children: Family Case Studies Manchester: IOD Research Group ISBN 1 900139 45 6

Lewis, S., Kagan, C. and Heaton, P. (1996) Response to the DfEE Consultation on Work and Family: Ideas and Options for Childcare, Manchester: IOD Research Group, MMU, October 1996 pp 15

Kagan, C. and D. Race (1996) Participation in and by Communities: What can we learn from Community Development? Whalley: North West Training and Development Team, Whalley pp 42 ISBN 1 898385 77 7

Kagan, C. and M. Burton (1995) Paradigm Change in Action Manchester: IOD Research Group pp 12 ISBN 1 900139 10 3

Kagan, C., M. Burton and K. Knowles (1995) 'Caught in the Competence Trap': the challenge for rehabilitation services for people with mental health difficulties in addition to moderate learning difficulties Manchester, IOD Research Group pp 12 ISBN 1 900139 05 7

Kagan, C and Lewis, S. (1995) Family, Employment and Social Change in Britain: Accounts of Women with Multiple Commitments Manchester, IOD Research Group pp 29 ISBN 1 900139 00 6

Kagan, C. (1994) Towards a Region-wide Training Strategy Whalley: North Western Regional Training Authority (N.W.T.D.T.) pp 40 ISBN 1-898385-37-8

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Collaborative Learning Disability Research December 2000 - continuing

HAZE: Capacity Building for Evaluation June 2000 - continuing

Perceived Need for Witness Support in the Inner City June 2000- February 2001

Collaborative Learning Disability Research December 2000 - continuing

Funded by: Manchester Learning Disability Partnership via Deaprtment Health, and MMU:  Dean’s Strategic Development Fund

Staff: Sue Caton, (.5 Research Assistant)

Collaboration: Manchester Learning Disability Partnership

Aims: Development of Collaborative Research Capabilityamongst all those who have an interest in the lives of people withlearning difficulties

Specifically, to strengthen an exisitng collaborative network by:

· Improving the capacity of the local network including field-based workers to carry out relevant research, and

· Improving the ability of the field to make use of presently available and future research generated knowledge within both local and nationally agreed priorities.

The achievement of a critical mass and profile of researchers and research aware services is seen as critical to these aims.


1) To re-launch the collaboration on a more inclusive basis. This will build on the contacts established through the previous phase of the collaboration which went beyond the initial partners (2 Universities and 9 NHS Trusts) to include a wider range of academic institutions and service organisations. It is envisaged that participants will be required to pay a small subscription to the collaboration.

2) To act as a resource on research findings to the field. To do this it will link with the North West Training and Development Team for Learning Disability Services. The likely method will be production of a regular ‘research digest’.

3) To work towards the establishment of a ‘North West England Institute for Learning Disability Research’, pulling together and focusing local R and D projects and ensuring effective sharing of findings. Models for this were discussed at workshops organised by the group in 1998 and early 1999: in particular the replication of selected locally initiated studies using a common protocol could help bridge the gap between local audits and more generalisable research.

4) To run a series of seminars on the present state of research evidence in learning disability provision and practice. Sponsorship from the local service system would be sought for this, which would have as a goal the production of consensus guidelines on good practice.

Activities and publications to date:

Conference: Broadening the Boundaries of Research, April 2001.

Report available

Conference: Research for Service Development following the White Paper, November 2001

Research Focus - summary of research activities distributed widely

Research Digest - summary of individual research projects disseminated widely

Research Discussion Groups - held on occasional basis

see www.ld-research-nw.org.uk

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HAZE: Capacity Building for Evaluation June 2000 - continuing

Funded: Manchester, Salford and Trafford Health Action Zone

Staff: (MMU)Carolyn Kagan; (Hull) Alan Boyd, Ted Geerling, Wendy Gregory, Gerald Midgley, Peter Murray, Mike Walsh

Collaboration: University Hull Centre for Systems Studies (grantholder)


To assess the needs of community, voluntary and statutory groups across the HAZ for support for evaluation

To design and implement learning events to support evaluation across the HAZ

To identify the future support needs across the HAZ for support for evaluation


All the workshops were participative and included discussion, structured excercises, games - even song!
Pictures of workshops.


A report of the project :

Boyd, A., Geerling, T., Gregory, W., Midgley, G., Murray, P., Walsh, M. and Kagan, C. (2001) Capacity Building for Evaluation: A report on the HAZE Project to the Manchester, Salford and Trafford Health Action Zone
(ISBN 1 90203 412 0)

is available from:

Centre for Systems Studies, The Business School, University of Hull, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK.

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Perceived Need for Witness Support in the Inner City June 2000- February 2001

Funded by: A Regeneration Partnership

Staff: Carolyn Kagan, Sue Caton (PT), Amisha Amin (MSc student), Amna Choudhury (Volunteer)


The overall brief for the project was to:

examine if need for a community witness support scheme exists in a specific area in the inner city. The study was to examine how a project could go beyond existing victim support services by encouraging people to come forward and supporting witnesses at the very earliest stage of witnessing acts of crime, nuisance and disorder, as well as providing a support service for witnesses called to attend magistrates’ courts.

Specifically it aimed to:

    1. provide independent information about the perceived need for a community witness support scheme in an inner city area;
    2. provide information from the perspectives of different stakeholders in the community about how actual and potential witnesses might best be supported in the future prior to and after reporting crime, nuisance and disorder;
    3. to identify relevant outcomes and performance indicators of a potential community witness support scheme
Specifically, the research aimed to:
  1. seek the views of local people about the existing supports and barriers to reporting, and coming forward as witnesses to, crime, nuisance and disorder, and identify options for a community witness support scheme;
  2. consult with residents, the police and relevant regeneration officers and those involved in other voluntary and statutory agencies about the relative advantages of different types of community witness support schemes for tjhis part of the inner city;
  3. identify human resources available, and potential partners for the scheme and their possible contribution to a community witness support scheme;
  4. identify ways in which a community witness support scheme might encourage greater participation from residents of this part of the iner cityr in the reporting of incidents of crime, nuisance and disorder;
  5. identify possible outcomes, outputs and performance indicators of a community witness support scheme over time and to identify monitoring and evaluation options.

The study was undertaken in partnership with a local project group, linked to a regional organisation of Victim Support Groups. It built on (i) the researcher’s experience of research and evaluation of community based services; (ii) previous work undertaken by the project group in planning a community witness support scheme.

The study was a short term, mixed method evaluation, wherein different kinds of information from different sources will be collected. At the core of the evaluation were the views of local people and of community groups operating in the area. In order to undertake field research of this sort, a range of different kinds of information was gathered from overlapping stages of the research.

We used a combination of different kinds of interviews and questionnaires. We undertook planned interviews with: residents or people who worked in the area who had recently witnessed acts of crime, nuisance and disorder and had proceeded to different stages of the prosecution process (8); residents who were active in regeneration activities, participating in regeneration task groups, the Crime and Disorder Task Group, Housing and Neighbourhood Management and the Local Area Panels (LAP): these residents nearly all held positions in community organisations, such as chair of residents’ associations or Homewatch Schemes (12); and professionals working in the area or on witness support projects elsewhere (14). The planned interviews with residents all covered the same ground, but different experiences arose for discussion with different participants. The interviews with professionals were more open, addressing any relevant aspects of witness behaviour, experience and support needs, as well as aspects of the criminal justice system and community development, affecting witnesses and offenders.

We also conducted 100 ad hoc street interviews. These were shorter interviews with people who were stopped in the street, at different times during working hours. Equal numbers of participants were gained from the different parts of the particular area of study. Equal numbers of people below 35; 35-45; 46-60; 60+ participated. All street interviews followed the same set of questions.

Once options had been developed 4 discussion groups (including residents, agency workers, police) met to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option and to identify future strategies.

A final recommendation was put to the Crime and Community Safety Task Group.


A report (C. Kagan, S. Caton, A. Amin (2001)) is available from COP Research Group, Department Psychology and Speech Pathology, Manchester Metropolitan University, Hathersage Road, Manchester M13 OJA, UK.

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