Emma Hyde

Emma Hyde


In 2017, I graduated with a First-Class BA in English Literature and Sociology from The University of Leeds and completed a secondary school teaching placement year as part of my degree. Having decided I wanted to pursue a career in social research, I continued my studies at Leeds, graduating in 2018 with Distinction (MSc Inequalities and Social Science).

Following my MSc, I was appointed a full-time pre-doctoral research fellowship as the 2018/19 Ann McPherson Fellow at The Medical Sociology & Health Experiences Research Group (MS&HERG), University of Oxford. Here, I assisted senior researchers with qualitative research into experiences of health, illness, and well-being, contributing to work which places personal narratives at the heart of informing policy and improving health services. During this role, I was involved in research on digital health and also carried out qualitative secondary analysis of interviews from the MS&HERG Data Archive, exploring young people’s experiences of depression.  

In 2019, I was then awarded a Leeds Doctoral Scholarship which gave me the opportunity to begin my PhD here in the School of Sociology and Social Policy. My research aligns with The Centre for Research on Families, Life Course and Generations (FLaG), and I have co-organised a number of academic workshops, events, and writing groups.

Research interests

My PhD research focuses broadly on young adults’ transitions to independence in the UK. Specifically, I am interested in the experiences of those in their twenties and thirties who have not secured residential independence and have remained in or returned to their parents’ home for prolonged periods of time. Intensified by the 2007/2008 global financial crisis, my research is situated in a landscape of austerity and welfare cuts which have hit young people particularly hard. Across Europe, transitions to adulthood have become increasingly precarious compared with previous generations and this will be exacerbated further by the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst cuts to housing welfare in the UK, there has been a policy push for parents to ‘step up’ and house young adults until they are financially independent, reflecting normative assumptions about parental responsibility and obligation. In reality however, whilst many families may wish to provide support there are practical and financial constraints preventing them from doing so.

Interviewing young adults and parents across diverse socioeconomic circumstances, my thesis will illuminate how families are differentially positioned towards socioeconomic change and constraint within this context. Specifically, I will explore how (in)dependence is resourced and subjectively constructed across unequal family resources, relationships and support-exchanges which are implicated young adults’ trajectories and orientations to the future. Particularly exploring the personal and emotional aspects of family life, I will analyse the relational experience of this living arrangement and explore questions around young adults’ wellbeing.

My wider research interests include:

  • Youth, family, life course & transitions
  • Inequalities
  • Sociological perspectives on health and well-being
  • Personal relationships 
  • Qualitative methodology
  • Qualitative secondary analysis

Other projects:


  • I have taught on the Level 1 module ‘Understanding & Researching Contemporary Society’ in The School of Sociology and Social Policy at Leeds
  • I also taught on the ‘Short Courses in Qualitative Research Methods’ programme at The Medical Sociology & Health Experiences Research Group, University of Oxford

Relevant sites:

Professional memberships:

  • British Sociological Association


  • MSc Inequalities & Social Science
  • BA English Literature & Sociology (Industry)

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Research on Families, The Life Course and Generations
  • ICY: Inclusion, Childhood & Youth Research Centre