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Dr. Catherine Conlon

Assistant Professor (Social Studies)


I am Director of the BA Sociology and Social Policy and PI of the Unplanned Pregnancy and Abortion Care Study (UnPAC) at the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin. My research focuses on the social politics of reproduction and sexuality which has generated high impact publications including lead authored articles in Gender & Society and Qualitative Research. My research areas include abortion and crisis pregnancy, sexual socialisation and inter-generational relations. My current research is a study of women's experiences of using unplanned pregnancy supports and abortion care services in Ireland since legalisation of abortion in January 2019, funded by Irish Government's Health Service Executive Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme. My research agenda displays methodological innovation and scholarly excellence and my publications span both substantive areas and methodological papers in high impact journals and edited collections. My commitment to trans disciplinary and creative research practices saw me join the Creative Arts Practice Research Theme Steering Group in TCD and a collaboration with Prof Evangelia Rigaki in the School of Music to translate material from my PhD research concerning women concealing pregnancy into an Opera Performance The Pregnant Box (Conlon and Rigaki, 2014) for Trinity College Dublin Discover Research Night 2014. I am a member of the Organising Committee of the annual Irish International Narrative Studies Conference and hosted the conference in TCD in May 2019 as part of the Irish Narrative Studies Group in collaboration with colleagues from NUI Maynooth, Dublin City University and IT Sligo. I serve on the Board of the Centre for Gender, Feminisms and Sexualities at University College Dublin I teach across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and supervise Masters and PhD students. I teach in both mediums of classroom and online education on substantive subject areas and research methodologies. Core module curricula I have designed and taught include: Introduction to Social Policy; Principles of Social Policy [online]; Families and Society; Ageing and Intergenerational Relations; Research Design and Research Methodologies for Practitioners. My research has featured in both national and international print media including the Irish Times, The London Independent and Le Monde. I have been interviewed about my research on current affairs news programmes including RTE's Morning Ireland and the Pat Kenny Show and Newstalk's The Right Hook. I have featured on TV current affairs programmes including RTE's PrimeTime and Virgin Media's Ireland AM. I welcome inquiries and applications from PhD applicants in the areas of sexuality, reproductive politics, inter-generational relations and sexual socialisation.
 Research with Parents
 Changing Generations

Details Date From Date To
Sociological Association of Ireland
British Sociological Association
Spillane, A., Taylor, M., Henchion, C., Venables, R. and Conlon, C. , Early abortion care during the COVID-19 public health emergency in Ireland: Implications for law, policy, and service delivery. , International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 154, 2021, p379 - 384, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
Foley G, Timonen V, Conlon C, Elliott O'Dare C., Interviewing as a vehicle for theoretical sampling in grounded theory, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 20, 2021, p1 - 10, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Bras S., Gomperts R., Kelly M., Aiken A.R.A., Conlon C., Accessing abortion outside jurisdiction following legalisation of abortion in the Republic of Ireland, BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health, 47, (3), 2021, p200 - 204, p200-204 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Sampling and conceptualization in Grounded Theory in, editor(s)Järvinen, M Mik-Meyer, N , Qualitative analysis - eight approaches , London, Sage, 2020, pp223 - 242, [Conlon, Catherine], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Conlon C, Timonen V, Elliott O'Dare C, O'Keeffe S, Foley G., Confused about theoretical sampling? Engaging theoretical sampling in diverse grounded theory studies, Qualitative Health Research, 30, (6), 2020, p947 - 959, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Elliot O'Dare, C, Timonen, V and Conlon, C., Doing' intergenerational friendship: challenging the dominance of age homophily in friendship'' , Canadian Journal on Aging/La Revue canadienne du vieillissement , 2020, p1 - 14, Notes: [DOI: 10.1017/S0714980819000618], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Mullally A., Horgan T., Thompson M., Conlon C., Dempsey B., Higgins M.F., Working in the shadows, under the spotlight " Reflections on lessons learnt in the Republic of Ireland after the first 18"months of more liberal Abortion Care, Contraception, 102, (5), 2020, p305 - 307, p305-307 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Elliott O'Dare, C., Timonen, V. and Conlon, C., Intergenerational friendships of older adults: Why do we know so little about them?, Ageing & Society, 2019, p1 - 16, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
O'Dare, CE, Timonen, V, Conlon, C, Escaping 'The Old Fogey': Doing Old Age through Intergenerational Friendship , Journal of Ageing Studies, 48, 2019, p67 - 75, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Timonen V, Foley G, Conlon C., Challenges when using Grounded Theory: A pragmatic introduction to doing GT research, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 17, (1), 2018, p1 - 10, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI

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Conlon, C, Supporting Parents Communicating with Children Aged 4-9 Years about Relationships, Sexuality and Growing Up, 27, Dublin, HSE, January, 2018, p1 - 112, Report, PUBLISHED
O'Dare, CE, Timonen, V, Conlon, C, Forum Article Intergenerational Friendship: Challenging the Dominance of Age Homophily in Friendship, Ageing and Society, 2017, p1 - 16, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
The Fragility of Respectability of Lone Mothers in, editor(s)Quilty, A, Kennedy, S, Conlon, C , The Abortion Papers Ireland: Volume 2, Cork, Attic Press, 2015, pp228 - 243, [Conlon, C], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Scharf, T., Timonen, V., Conlon, C. and Carney, G., Changing Generations - Findings from new research on intergenerational relations in Ireland, Dublin and Galway, Trinity College Dublin and National University of Ireland Galway, April, 2013, 20 pp., Report, PUBLISHED
Conlon, C, O'Connor, J and Ni Cathain, S, Attitudes to Fertility, Sexual Health and Motherhood amongst a Sample of Migrant Women Living in Ireland, Dublin, Crisis Pregnancy Agency, 2012, Report, PUBLISHED
Conlon, C, The situation concerning homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in Ireland: Sociological Country Report, Dublin, Publisher European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, March, 2009, Report, PUBLISHED
Walsh, J, Conlon, C, FitzPatrick, B, Hansson, U, Enabling Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Individuals to access their Rights under Equality Law, Belfast, The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland And The Equality Authority, November, 2007, p1 - 193, Report, PUBLISHED
Conlon, C, Concealed Pregnancy: A case-study approach from an Irish setting, Dublin, August, 2006, p1 - 204, Report, PUBLISHED
Barry, U, Conlon, C, Murphy, S, National expert assessment of the gender perspective in the National Report on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006 - The Irish National Report, 2006, Working Paper, PUBLISHED
Conlon, C, Mixed Methods research of Crisis Pregnancy Counselling and Support Services, 12, Dublin, Crisis Pregnancy Agency , January, 2005, p1 - 126, Report, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
UCD Ad Astra Doctoral Research Scholarship 2006-2010
Crisis Pregnancy Agency Phd Scholarship 2007-2010
My research interests encompass: women's fertile bodies; sexual and reproductive health policy and inter-generational relations. My current research project focuses on women's experiences of seeking pregnancy support and abortion care since the introduction of legislation providing for abortion services in Ireland in January 2019. This follows on from research I carried out with Irish women attending abortion services in England in 2004-6 and 1996-8. Together the data generated across these projects constitute a unique and highly valuable data-set capturing women's experiences of seeking abortion care on a transnational basis and within the state. A recently completed project explored parents accounts of talking with their young children (aged 4-9) about sexuality, the body and growing up. This focus on 'sexual socialisation' from parent's perspectives continues my interest in sexual subjectivity, discourses of heterosexuality and sexuality and reproduction as practice. My research inquiries are undertaken under conditions of on-going interrogation of ontological, epistemological and methodological concerns raised by post-structuralist, post-humanist and post-qualitative perspectives. This involves a social research inquiry praxis interrogating what constitutes as knowledge for social science/policy as well as what constitutes as data-for-knowledge. These inquiries generated an interest for me in Research Creation and collaborations with arts practitioners including Dr Evangelia Rigaki, TCD School of Music and film-maker AnneMaree Barry to explore productive modes of trans disciplinary inquiry. My collabortion with Evangelia led to the development of the Opera performance 'The Pregnant Box' as part of TCD's Discover Research Night in 2014. The translation represents an embodied materializing of data that instantised and made visible the inquiry as an affective intervention where the audience is brought into an entangled web of being, meaning and sound that de-centers all subjects.