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Emma Uprichard (Reader)

Emma Uprichard (Reader)

I am an applied social science methodologist. I have been described as a 'methodological polymath' within the social science space. My work focuses on the ontology, epistemology and methodology of change and continuity, of being and becoming, and enacting change.

More specifically, my research is driven by the methodological challenge of studying complex social systems across time and space (see for example this project). This has me engage with many different quantitative, qualitative, mathematical and computational methods, practically, theoretically and philosophically. This methodologically focused research is led by three questions:

  • How do we empirically study nonlinear social entities that change (and continue to be the same) as we research them?
  • How might we study complex change and continuity in a way that also produces useful knowledge to engage desired change?
  • How might the ontology and epistemology of time itself both hinder and facilitate change and continuity, individually, collectively, and intergenerationally?

In terms of supervising students, my interests are broad and eclectic. Please get in touch with me if you would like to discuss potential ideas for doctoral projects.

Research Profile

Methods and methodology; complexity; critical realism; time and temporality; change and continuity; data and methods for policy.

Academic Profile

I joined Warwick and CIM in August 2012 having previously held posts at Goldsmiths, University of London (2011-2012), University of York (2007-2010), and Durham University (2004-2006).

At Warwick since Sept. 2020, I lead the Data Science initiatives across the university, which are badged as Warwick Data.

I am a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute working on developing data science methods for complex government policy and evaluation - see short films about this work here: layers of change and rhythms.

I am a member of The National Statistician's Data Ethics Advisory Committee (NSDEC).

I am also a member of the Department for Education’s (DfE) Serious Violence Research and Analysis Expert Advisory Group (EAG).

In 2017-19, I was co-editor of the International Journal of Social Research Methodology; I am still board member to the journal. I am also on the editorial board journal Complexity, Governance and Networks.

Until March 2022, I am a co-investigator on CECAN - the 'Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus’ (led by Prof. Nigel Gilbert), a £3m national research centre funded and supported by the ESRC, Defra, BEIS, NERC, EA, and FSA which is tasked with, among other things, developing a range of cutting-edge methods for complex evaluation.

Previously, I led the University of Warwick's Nuffield/ESRC/HEFCE Q-Step bid (£1.3mil) and subsequently set up what is now the Warwick Q-Step Centre, part of a trail-blazing initiative designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training in the UK.

Current Research Projects

External Grants:

2018-2020 - Alan Turing Fellowship. Linking and Modelling Tempos for Complex Policy. See short films about this work here: layers of change and rhythms. End date: September 2020.

2016-22 Co-I. CECAN - Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus. PI: Prof. Nigel Gilbert. ESRC. Start Date: 01/03/2016. Project End Date: 01/03/19. Centre funding by ESRC renewed until 2022.

2015-16: IBM Faculty Award (PI): Big Data and Real Time Analytics: Ethics and Data Linkage. With Dr Maria Liakata and Dr Arne Strauss. $20,000. Further details here.

2015: UNDP-CIM: Visualizing Climate Change Adaptation: Using 'Integrated Analytics' To Learn Lessons In Cabo Verde.$70,000. Further details here.

2014-2017: ESRC Seminar Series (PI): Method in the Social Sciences: An Interdisciplinary Approach, with Professor David Byrne (School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University) and Professor Brian Castellani (Center for Complexity in Health, Kent State University, USA), Project Start Date: 15/02/2014 Project End Date: 15/02/2017. £30,000

ESRC First Grants: Food Matters: A Sociological Case Study of Food and Eating Across The Life Course in York C. 1945 - 2010, £138,500

Internal Grants:

2015-16: Big Data and Integrated Analytics (PI), University of Warwick Research Development Fund. £5,500

2015: Women in STEM subjects: Complexity, Big Data and Method (PI), University of Warwick ESRC Acceleration Impact Award, and Athena Swan Equality and Diversity. £2,250

2015-2016 Co-I: Where, When and Why Do Accidents Happen? A Preliminary Study for the Space-time Analysis and Causality Study on Traffic Accidents. (PI: Dr Naru Shiode). University of Warwick Research Development Fund. £15,900

2014-15: Talking Big Data (PI). University of Warwick ESRC Acceleration Impact Award. £10,000

2013-14: Complexity and Case Based Methods Research (CCBMR), Funded by: Research Development Fund (RDF 13/14 DA). Project Start Date: 01/08/2013 Project End Date: 31/07/2014, £9,700

2013-14 PI: Time-Space Trajectories of Wellbeing and Place: An Interdisciplinary Approach. University of Warwick Research Development Fund ((RDF 13-14 SA). Start Date: 01/08/2013 Project End Date: 31/07/2014. £11,000

Selected Publications

(See Google Citations profile)

Edited books

Lury, C., Fensham, R., Heller-Nicholas, A., Lammes, S., Last, A., Michael, M., Uprichard, E. (eds), (2018) Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods, Oxon: Routledge.

Byrne, D. and Uprichard, E (eds) (2012) Cluster Analysis. Four Volume Set. Vol. 1: ‘Logic and Classics’; Vol. 2: ‘Useful Key Texts’; Vol. 3: ‘Cluster Analysis in Practice’; Vol. 4: 'Data Mining with Classification’. London: Sage.

Journal articles and Book chapters

Uprichard, E. (2018) 'Capturing and Composing: Doing the epistemic and the ontic together', in Lury, C. et al. Routledge Handbook of Interdisciplinary Research Methods, Oxon: Routledge, pp. 83-90.

Caves, L., Teixeira de Melo, A., Stepney, S., and Uprichard, E. (2018) 'Time Will Tell: Narrative expressions of time in a complex world' in R. Walsh and S. Stepney (eds) Narrating Complexity, Springer, Chapter 19, p.269-284.

Halls, A., Uprichard, E. and Jackson, C. (2018) Changing girlhoods – Changing Girl Guiding, The Sociological Review. 66, 1, 257–72. 
Uprichard, E. and Dawney. L. (2016) 'Data Diffraction: Challenging Data Integration in Mixed Methods Research', Journal of Mixed Methods Research, Published online before print October 20, 2016, doi: 10.1177/1558689816674650.

Uprichard, E. (2016) 'Reply to Smith and Atkinson', Special Issue in International Journal of Social Research Methodology on 'Celebrating 50 years of Cicourel's Method and Measurement in Sociology'. 19 (1): 131-136.

Moor, L. and Uprichard, E. (2014) The Materiality of Method: The Case of the Mass Observation Archive, Sociological Research Online, 19 (3): 10.

Mahnke, M. and Uprichard, E. (2013) 'Algorithming the Algorithm' in René König and Miriam Rasch (eds), Society of the Query Reader: Re-actions on Web Search, Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, pp.265-270.

Uprichard, E. Nettleton, S. and Chappell, P. (2013) ‘Food hates’ over the life course: an analysis of food narratives from the UK Mass Observation Archive, Appetite, 17: 137-143.

Uprichard, E. (2012) 'Describing Description (and Keeping Causality): The case of academic articles on food and eating, 1950-2009?', Sociology, 47 (2): 368-382.

Uprichard, E. (2012) ‘Being Stuck in (Live) Time: The sticky sociological imagination’ in Sociological Review Monograph, Live Research Methods, Back, L. and Puwar, N. (eds), 60 (1): 124-138.

Byrne, D. and Uprichard, E. (2012) 'Useful complex causality' In H. Kinkard, (ed) Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Social Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 109-129.

Uprichard, E. (2012) 'Sampling: Bridging probability and non-probability designs', International Journal Of Social Research Methodology, 16 (1): 1-11.

Uprichard, E. (2012) 'Dirty Data: Longitudinal classification systems', Sociological Review, 59 (2): 93-112.


Uprichard, E. and Jackson, C. (2017) 'Classification' in George Ritzer (ed) Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, 2nd Edition. Blackwell.

Uprichard, E. and Jackson, C. (2017) 'Data' in B. S. Turner (Ed.) Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, doi:10.1002/9781118430873.est0618.

Uprichard, E. (2017) Complexity, in B. S. Turner (Ed.) Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, doi:10.1002/9781118430873.est0596.

Uprichard, E. (2015) 'Most big data is social data: The analytics need serious interrogation', Philosophy of Data Science. Impact of Social Science blog. London School of Economics.

Uprichard, E. (2014) 'Big Doubts about Big Data', The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 2013.

Uprichard, E. (2013) 'Big Data - Little Questions?', Discover Society, Focus, 1.

Modules Taught

Research Supervised

  • Modupe Adeoyo: Complex Trauma - to complete Jan 2025 (part-time)
  • Andra Sonea: National Critical Infrastructure - to complete Oct. 2023 (part-time)
  • Lisa Stoltz: Complexity, Visualisation and Evaluation - to complete Oct 2022 (part-time)
  • Han Wen: How Branding is Changing Everyday Life in China - to complete Oct. 2022 (full-time).
  • Nathalie Mezza-Garcia: Complex Governance and SeaZones: The Floating Island Project. Completed 2020 (full-time)
  • Paz Saavedra: Caring for the past in traditional practices of care; completed 2020 (full-time)
  • Jo Trowsdale: Art-making as a site for education: a case study of The Imagineerium Project. Completed 2020 (part-time)
  • Samantha Martin: Coeliac Disease: Chronic Illness and Self-Care in the Digital. Completed 2019 (full-time)

Public Engagement and Impact

I am a member of The National Statistician's Data Ethics Advisory Committee (NSDEC) and the Department for Education’s (DfE) Serious Violence Research and Analysis Expert Advisory Group (EAG).

2014. Invited Panel Member. Big Data and Governance: balancing risks and rewards. Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology, 6 Nov.

2013. Big Data gets big numbers at Warwick. Insite. University of Warwick Press Release.

Emma Uprichard (Reader)


Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies
Room B0.07
University of Warwick

Email: E dot Uprichard at warwick dot ac dot uk

Mob: +44 (0)78554 99829

Twitter: @emuprichard