Rebecca Hawkins


Rebecca is a Lecturer in Qualitative in Health Research at Leeds Institute of Health Sciences. Rebecca’s disciplinary background is in Anthropology, and her research interests include ageing, frailty, caring, and applied health and social care research. Her current portfolio includes research on frailty, resourcefulness in later life, enhancing routine physical activity in care homes, older people’s social relationships within care home settings (with a particular focus on social isolation and loneliness), and longer-term support for stroke survivors. Rebecca teaches on the postgraduate Health Research programme. Her main area of expertise is in qualitative methodology and methods, particularly ethnography.

Rebecca has peer-reviewed research applications for Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB), National Institute for Health Research (UK). She is a reviewer for Sociology of Health and Illness; Age and Ageing; Ageing and Society; and the Journal of Intellectual Disability Research. Rebecca is a member of the British Sociological Association and the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Research interests

Clegg A, Young J, Bower P, Cundill B, Farrin A, Foster M, Foy R, Hartley S, Hawkins R, Hulme C, Humphrey S, Pendleton N, Teale E, West R, Holmes J. Personalised care planning to improve quality of life for older people with Frailty. NIHR, Programme Grants for Applied Research £2,754,006; 2017-2022.

Forster A, Graham E, Farrin A, Hulme, C, Fisher J, Hull K, Hawkins R. Skilful Care Training Package for residents in care homes: cluster randomised controlled feasibility trial. Physiotherapy Research Foundation, £300,340.55, 2016-2019.


Forster A, Young J, Hewison J, House A, Hulme C, Hawkins R, Dickerson J, Richardson G, Bhakta B, Hartley S, Speed M, McKevitt C, Farrin A, Fay M, McEachan R, Foy R. Development and evaluation of strategies to provide longer-term health and social care for stroke survivors and their carers. NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Health Research. £1,673,049. (Ref:RP-PG-0611-10017), 2013-2018. 

Young J, Clegg A, Nolan M, Mountain G, Teale E, Spilsbury K, Hanratty B, Noble B, Parry J Bates C, Hawkins R, Astell A, Young T. Avoiding Attendance and Admission in Long Term Conditions. Theme: Primary Care-Based Management of Frailty in Older People. NIHR CLAHRC. £999,868, 2014 - 2018. 

Hawkins R, Forster A. Exploratory study investigating older people’s social relationships within residential care settings, with a particular focus on social isolation and loneliness. NIHR CLAHRC for Leeds, York and Bradford Challenge Fund £33,905, 2013

Forster A, Hawkins R. Exploratory study investigating the support networks of stroke survivors and their carers following stroke. NIHR CLAHRC for Leeds, York and Bradford Challenge Fund £23,859, 2013


  • PhD: Caring the Policies and Practices of Care in a Residential Home, University of Cambridge, 2008
  • BA (Hons) Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, 2003

Student education

Lecturer on the postgraduate Health Research programme (PG Cert, PG Dip & MSc).
Responsible for the development and delivery of qualitative methods training delivered on the postgraduate Health Research programme.
Module lead for Applied Qualitative Health Research Module.
Supervises students undertaking the MSc in Health Research.

Rebecca would welcome the opportunity to supervise PhD students undertaking research in the following areas: Qualitative methods; Ageing; Frailty; Loneliness and social isolation; Care Home research.

PhD students

Sarah K Smith: Exploring how touch-screen technology may facilitate meaningful activities in leisure time for people living with dementia in the community (Rebecca supervised with Professor Gail Mountain at the University of Sheffield & Dr Brenda Gannon at the University of Manchester. Sarah's PhD was funded by the White Rose ESRC Doctoral Training Centre Network). Completed 2015.

Lynn Morra Philipp: Culture, healing practice pluralism and living with inflammatory bowel disease. Completed 2012.

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Health Sciences
  • Frailty and elderly care
  • Successful ageing
  • Complex interventions
  • Academic Unit for Ageing and Stroke Research
  • Psychological and Social Medicine
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>