Professor Nick Emmel

Professor Nick Emmel


I am a world-leading realist methodologist, lead editor of the recently published ‘Doing Realist Research’ (SAGE, 2018) and author of Sampling and Choosing Cases in Qualitative Research: A Realist Approach (SAGE, 2013). I am a critical sociologist who always questions preconceived and common sense notions and names causes. I like to ask hard (and interesting) questions about complex social puzzles that demand interdisciplinary investigation. My substantive research focuses on vulnerability and flourishing, with a focus on accessing services to be healthy. At the moment I lead a group of over 30 academics from across the University of Leeds in #RealismLeeds; I manage the MA Social Research (interdisciplinary); and I am Director of Advanced Qualitative Research Methods Training of the White Rose Doctoral Training Programme.


  • Director Advanced Qualitative Methods Training of the ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership

Research interests

I have conducted extensive research in the UK and India interpreting and explaining processes of vulnerability and flourishing, with a focus of accessing services to be healthy. I have written widely on these issues. Over the last two decades I have conducted qualitative longitudinal and mixed method research in low-income communities in Leeds, with successive waves of this research funded by the ESRC’s Research Methods Programme, National Centre for Research Methods, and Timescapes, the ESRC’s Qualitative Longitudinal Initiative. Through this methodological funding I have developed innovative methodologies and written extensively about accessing hard-to-reach groups, qualitatively driven mixed method research, participatory methods, qualitative longitudinal research, and realist methodologies. I engage extensively in interdisciplinary research and with public, private, and third sector organisations supporting the design and implementation of realist research, evaluation, and synthesis.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD
  • BSc(Hons)
  • RGN

Student education

My research-led teaching addresses health inequalities and inequities in an international context and research methodology. I contribute to undergraduate teaching with a particular focus on explaining health outcomes across the world as well as locally in Leeds. I also provide research methods training within the School, in the wider University, and White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership. My expertise is in realist methodologies. I am programme lead of the MA Social Research and MA Social Research (interdisciplinary) and lead the team-taught MA module Research Strategy and Design.

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes 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>