Patterson, S., L. McDaid, K. Hunt, S. Hilton, P. Flowers, L. McMillan, D. Milne and K. Lorimer (2019). “How men and women learn about sex: multi-generational perspectives on insufficient preparedness and prevailing gender norms in Scotland.” Sex Education: 1-16. (Open accesshttps://doi.org/10.1080/14681811.2019.1683534  

Lorimer, K (2019) Operationalising the Capability Approach for a multidimensional measure of sexual health and wellbeing. Gender Studies Conference, University of Helsinki 24-26 October

Lorimer, K (2019) How do we embrace human flourishing and social justice in the evaluation of sexual health and wellbeing interventions? Insights from qualitative work. Human Development and Capability Association Conference, London 9-11 September

Lorimer, K., L. DeAmicis, J. Dalrymple, J. Frankis, L. Jackson, P. Lorgelly, L. McMillan and J. Ross (2019). “A rapid review of sexual wellbeing definitions and measures: should we now include sexual wellbeing freedom?” Journal of Sex Research.  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00224499.2019.1635565

Caswell, R., J. Ross and K. Lorimer (2019). “Assessing the measurement of patient experience and outcome in health care settings on receiving care after sexual violence: a systematic review.” Sexually Transmitted Infection. https://sti.bmj.com/content/early/2019/06/19/sextrans-2018-053920

McDaid, L., K. Hunt, L. McMillan, S. Russell, D. Milne, R. Ilett and K. Lorimer (2019). “Absence of holistic sexual health understandings among men and women in deprived areas of Scotland: qualitative study.” BMC Public Health 19(1): 299. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-6558-y (Open access)

Lorimer, K. and L. McMillan (2019). Gender and Class in the Blaming and Shaming of Women in Sexual Violence. BSA Annual Conference. Glasgow Caledonian University.

Towards an effective structure for the delivery of clinical supervision to sexual health nurses: a mixed methods project

Towards an effective structure for the delivery of clinical supervision to sexual health nurses: a mixed methods project

PI: Dr Jenny Dalrymple
CI: Karen Lorimer (GCU)
Funder: NHSGG&C mental/sexual health partnership

(Jan 2018 – March 2019)

Aim: The study aims to develop an effective format for undertaking clinical supervision with sexual health nurses.

Research questions:

  1. How does the length of each clinical supervision session impact on its effectiveness for sexual healthnurses?
  2. How does the frequency of clinical supervision impact on its effectiveness for sexual health nurses?
  3. How does one to one clinical supervision compared to group supervision impact on its effectiveness for sexual health nurses?
  4. How does the location of clinical supervision impact on its effectiveness for sexual health nurses?
  5. How does being able to choose a supervisor impact on the effectiveness of clinical supervision for sexual health nurses?
  6. How do sexual health nurses and junior doctors experience clinical supervision?

Social media use as a busy academic

Lots has already been written about using social media as an academic, so what can I add?  Being honest, not much except perhaps to curate some of this for you and offer a brief summary.  So if you’re new to social media as an academic, here are some useful things to consider.

For starters, the LSE impact of social sciences blog has featured some great articles

Pat Thomson has written about project blogs:  What makes a successful research project blog? Forums for generating ideas fare better than sharing final results as well as Why do bloggers blog about blogging?

Inger Mewburn and Pat Thomson wrote about ‘Academic blogging is part of a complex online academic attention economy, leading to unprecedented readership.’  Across many of the blogs they looked at, they tended to be ‘academics talking to academics in an effort to advance knowledge and understanding’

Melissa Terras shared with us what happened to the dissemination of her work when she blogged and tweeted about it.

You need to tell people about your work if you want them to see it

What I’ve taken from these and the many other pieces about different forms of social media use, is that it is good to direct people’s attention to your outputs, as well as who you are.  Melissa is right:  people will read your work if you tell them about it.  What I particularly like from Melissa’s post is that you can put in some of this effort after your work has already been published and not necessarily at the point it is published.  I’ve found myself incredibly up to my eyes in work as a paper is coming out and wishing it could be delayed a week or two to allow me to ‘do the social media bit’.  What Melissa has taught me is don’t worry, you can still do this later.

Time is often a factor people cite as why they struggle with social media

There are some really useful tips online for creating Twitter lists, to make the most of your time on Twitter.

I also use TweetDeck on my computer to monitor the different Twitter accounts I manage, and schedule posts.  This displays as columns, and I can create a column simply to follow a conference hashtag, which is really useful if I’m not able to attend the conference.  Here’s an example from a University of Sussex blog post (and they explain really well how to use this functionality).

Being able to schedule posts for the Sexual Health Research Network is really useful to help me manage my time and ensure there is regular activity on the account.

Select a platform and try to curate your information there rather than spread yourself thin by trying to maintain too many accounts.  For example, if you like ResearchGate then try to keep that up-to-date and y’know it’s ok not to use anything else.  Personally, I find ResearchGate a bit tricky to use and I don’t like how it displays information.  A reason I started my own site was to have all the information I wanted to share in the one place, and where I was in more control of the content.

Finally, it’s also ok to be a ‘lurker’ – for example, to read twitter and not interact.  The Nature Social Networks survey from 2014 showed that many academics want to share information and view information, but are less likely to want to interact.  So, if you’re in that camp then you’re not alone.

It’s not equality of voice

I struggle with any training in social media use that assumes (by virtue of silence) that we all have equality of access and/or voice.  Alison Phipps wrote about research impact work not being neutral, and Tressie McMillan Cottom has shared her experiences of being a black, female academic putting herself and her work into the public domain. What these examples should alert us to is the potential personal cost to putting oneself in the public domain.  We hear about the importance of ensuring the public know of our work if it has been publicly funded, but we must protect our staff and students if they are at risk of being abused online in any way.  It is also acceptable to remain offline and this must be something that institutions support and do not force social media use on anyone.

Applying for a PhD studentship? Here are some tips from the ‘other side’

So you want to apply for a PhD and you see an advert for a funded studentship that sounds great! In this post, I want to walk you through what you should do from this point through to submitting your application.

Contacting your potential supervisors

Does the advert say something like get in touch with supervisors or contact to express interest?  Perhaps it doesn’t but you still want to submit an email to alert the academic supervisors to your interest in the PhD studentship.  My advice is please do not email busy academic staff with what we read as a simple ‘hiya’ email.  Please only get in touch to ask a pertinent question.  Be very sure that your question cannot be answered somewhere else, such as in the application pack information.  It does not look good for a potential doctoral student to ask for information on something that is easily found from the most basic research!

Of course, you may want to ‘test’ us, by emailing and seeing how quickly you get a response!  Smart.  But to reiterate:  have an insightful question for us.

Your application

Read ALL instructions well ahead of time so that you can prepare everything you need in good time.  For example, do you need to submit a reference or two WITH your application or AFTER?  Again, you are applying to undertake advanced research training, so to not do even some basic research at this stage does not look good to us your potential supervisors.

As to the information you provide in your application – please, please frame it towards research.  You’re applying for a doctorate, so tell us in detail about your research training and experience, across every bit of your application. Put your education upfront:  degree title, classification, dates, institution.  If you did a dissertation then tell us not just the title but which methods you employed and what software packages you used (e.g., SPSS, NVivo).  Summarise the key information for us, in a cover letter for example, so we don’t miss it.  I’ve read so many PhD applications that tell me very little about the type and level of research training the applicant has had, what methods they are experienced in from their own research at undergraduate and Masters-level degrees.  How can I possibly invite such a candidate to interview for an advanced research degree when I have no idea of their research knowledge and skills?

But isn’t my employment important for other reasons?  Yes of course it can be.  If you are applying for a social science doctorate on a sensitive topic, for example, then of course it is important to tell us that you have experience of working with vulnerable groups.  But do more than simply bullet point a job, as this is leaving us to connect the dots.  Tell us where you worked, with whom and when, and then be explicit why this experience is invaluable for this PhD.

In any application it is not enough to simply state the qualities you think you have, you need to EVIDENCE them.  Are you a self-starter?  Then say that and then back it up with an example.  Do you have good time management skills, then tell us of a time this was vital.  Prioritise the skills you think are most relevant to the doctoral research you are applying to do.

In short, tailor every application and do not submit a generic CV, cover letter etc.  We.  Will.  Know.


You are invited to an interview?  Well done!  You’re likely among 3-6 interviewees.

Be prepared to talk research.  You are applying for an advanced degree in research so it will be research focused.  Brush up on your methodology and methods knowledge, and be prepared to talk through your own research training and experience.  Be prepared to answer why you want to do a PhD, why THIS PhD, and why this institution.  What are your career goals?  Use your question time to probe our approach to supervision and gauge whether you want to be supervised by us! It is important to try to get to know your potential supervisors as 3-4 years is a long time to spend with people you might not get along with.  I recognise that it’s become difficult for candidates to feel they have choice on such matters, given the competition for fully funded studentships.  Nevertheless, it is worth doing a bit of research into your supervisors and institution so that you are prepared for what you will embark upon for at least 3 years of your life as a full-time PhD student (longer if part-time).  Search for advice on these matters on other sites, as there is some really good information out there on this.

Finally, good luck!

What exactly does sexual wellbeing mean?

That was a question we asked as we reviewed the evidence so we could know whether there is any definition of sexual wellbeing, and how people have measured it.

I’ll provide more information on the review findings in due time (we need to finish writing the paper first!), but let me provide a few interesting bits of information to whet the appetite:

  • There seems to be very few studies that offer a definition of sexual wellbeing, yet they are attempting to measure it.
  • One study developed a multi-dimensional measure of sexual wellbeing (see reference, below) although they did not explicitly refer to sexual wellbeing and said sexual health instead.
  • If we think about the various influences on peoples health, we can draw on the social determinants of health framework, which tells us such influences can come from individual factors but also from wider community and indeed socio-cultural factors.  So, sexual wellbeing should also be influenced by such a variety of factors, as it’s an aspect of our health and wellbeing.  But there don’t seem to be many studies that explore the wider level influences, as most seem to focus at the individual level – cognitive-affect – as well as the relationship level.

If we can’t define this nor measure it more broadly then how can we assess the outcomes of complex interventions?  Will we miss what’s really happening?  How can we tell how well we’re doing as a society if we don’t know to what we refer when we say sexual wellbeing never mind have a way to measure it?

So, a lot more work needs to be done, particularly on how the wider community-level and socio-cultural levels impact on individuals’ sexual wellbeing.  But let’s start by trying to come up with a good definition, on which we can all base our work.


Smylie, L., B. Clarke, M. Doherty, J. Gahagan, M. Numer, J. Otis, G. Smith, A. McKay and C. Soon (2013). “The Development and Validation of Sexual Health Indicators of Canadians Aged 16-24 Years.” Public Health Reports 128: 53-61.

You can read our paper:

Lorimer, K., L. DeAmicis, J. Dalrymple, J. Frankis, L. Jackson, P. Lorgelly, L. McMillan and J. Ross (2019). “A rapid review of sexual wellbeing definitions and measures: should we now include sexual wellbeing freedom?” Journal of Sex Research.  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00224499.2019.1635565