Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Emma Uprichard (Reader)

Emma Uprichard (Reader)

I am an applied social science methodologist with a focus on complex social systems. I focus on the ontology, epistemology and methodology of change and continuity, and of being and becoming, and enacting change in complex social systems.

More specifically, my work is driven by the methodological challenge of studying complex social systems across time and space (see for example this projectLink opens in a new window). This has me engage with many different quantitative, qualitative, mathematical and computational methods, practically, theoretically and philosophically, in order to use them to create desired change.

In terms of supervising students, my interests are broad and eclectic, but I am especially interested in supervising students working on time and temporality in some way. Please get in touch with me if you would like to discuss potential ideas for doctoral projects.

Research Profile

Methods and methodology; complexity; time and temporality; change and continuity; complex realism; critical realim; 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); Durham University (2004-2006).

2018-23 - Alan Turing Institute FellowLink opens in a new window working on developing data science methods for complex government policy and evaluation - see short films for examples of this work here: layers of changeLink opens in a new window and rhythms.Link opens in a new window

2017-23 - Member of the UK Statistics Authority's National Statistician's Data Ethics Advisory Committee (NSDEC)Link opens in a new window.

Member of the Department for Education’s (DfE) Serious Violence Research and Analysis Expert Advisory Group (EAG).

Between 2020-21, I led the Data Science initiatives across the university, now known as as Warwick DataLink opens in a new window.

In 2017-19, I was co-editor of the International Journal of Social Research Methodology;Link opens in a new window I am still board member to the journal. I am also on the editorial board journal Complexity, Governance and NetworksLink opens in a new window.

2016-23 - Co-Investigator of CECANLink opens in a new window - the 'Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus’ (led by Prof. Nigel Gilbert), which has been pioneering, testing and promoting innovative policy complex evaluation approaches across UK government departments. This national research centre is funded and supported by the ESRC, Dept. of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Dept. for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Environment Agency (EA), and Food Standards Agency (FSA).

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 CentreLink opens in a new window, 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:

2021-22 - Alan Turing Fellowship. Intergenerational Tempos: Methods for Complex Policy and Data Futures.

2018-20 - Alan Turing Fellowship. Linking and Modelling Tempos for Complex PolicyLink opens in a new window. See short films about this work here: layers of changeLink opens in a new window and rhythmsLink opens in a new window. End date: September 2020.

2016-23 Co-I. CECANLink opens in a new window - Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus. PI: Prof. Nigel GilbertLink opens in a new window. ESRC. Start Date: 01/03/2016. Project End Date: 01/03/19. Centre funding by ESRC renewed until 2023.

2015-16: IBM Faculty AwardLink opens in a new window (PI): Big Data and Real Time Analytics: Ethics and Data Linkage. With Dr Maria Liakata and Dr Arne Strauss. $20,000. Further details hereLink opens in a new window.

2015: UNDP-CIM: Visualizing Climate Change Adaptation: Using 'Integrated Analytics' To Learn Lessons In Cabo Verde.$70,000. Further details hereLink opens in a new window.

2014-17: ESRC Seminar Series (PI): Complexity and Method in the Social Sciences: An Interdisciplinary ApproachLink opens in a new window, with D. Byrne and B. Castellani, 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

2015-16 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 profileLink opens in a new window)

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 AnalysisLink opens in a new window. 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.

Uprichard, E., Edwards, R. and M. Williams (2018) IJSRM’s 100th issue, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 21:1, 1-6, DOI: 10.1080/13645579.2018.1398809

*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,

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 Reneacute; K.and M. 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 Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Social Science, Kinkard, H. ed. 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., (2011) ‘Narratives of the Future: Complexity, time and temporality’ in Handbook of Methodological Innovations in the Social Sciences, Williams, M. and Vogt, P. (eds), London: Sage, pp.103-119.

Uprichard E (2010) Questioning Research with Children: Discrepancy between Theory and Practice?' Children & Society. 24(1):3-13.

*Uprichard E. (2009) Introducing Cluster Analysis - what can it teach us about the case? In D. Byrne and C.C, Ragin (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Case-Based Methods, London: Sage, pp.132-143.

Uprichard E (2008) Children as ‘Being and Becomings’: Children, Childhood and Temporality. Children and Society 22(4): 303–313.

Byrne, D. and Uprichard, E., (2007) 'Crossing levels: The potential for numerical taxonomy and fuzzy set approaches to studying multi-level longitudinal change', Methodological Innovations Online, 2, 1.

Parker, S., Uprichard, E. and Burrows, R. (2007) Class Places and Place Classes: Geodemographics and the spatialization of class. Information, Communication and Society 10(6): 902-921.

Uprichard E and Byrne D (2006) Representing Complex Places: A Narrative Approach. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 38(4). SAGE Publications Ltd: 10.1068/a37333

*Mayhew, E., Uprichard, E., Beresford, B., Ridge, T., & Bradshaw, J. (2004). Children and childhood in the United Kingdom. In A. Jensen (Ed.), Children's welfare in ageing Europe, Trondheim: Norwegian Centre for Child Research, pp. 403–457.

Other (e.g. blogs, reports, encyclopedia article):

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., Penn, A., Barons, M., Liddon, A. Byrne, D.; Befani, B.; Wilkinson, H.; Smith, J.Q. (2016) Dependency Models. CECAN Evaluation and Policy Practice Note (EPPN) No. 4 for policy analysts and evaluators.

Uprichard E (2015) 'Policy Briefing: A Smart City's Perspective',Link opens in a new window Discover Society. Policy & Politics, 23.

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?'Link opens in a new window, Discover Society, Focus, 1.

Hackett, S. and Uprichard, E. (2007) Animal Abuse and Child Maltreatment: a review of the literature and findings from a UK study', NSPCC report.

ain, R. Uprichard, E., Warren, J. (2004) Lifemapping: Trajectories of exclusionand young people’s views on Identification, Referral and Tracking(IRT), Report to County Durham Identification Referral andTracking Initiative, The University of Durham.

Uprichard E (2002) Class, Space and Community: A Workshop Conference. International Labor and Working-Class History 61. Cambridge University Press: 161–164. DOI: 10.1017/S014754790200011X.

Modules Taught

  • IM903 - Complexity in the Social Sciences
  • IM926 - Research Design, Practice and Ethics
  • IM952 - Big Data Research: Hype or Revolution?
  • IM950 - Scaling Data and Societies

Research Supervised

  • Modupe Adeoyo: Complex Trauma - to complete Jan 2025 (part-time)
  • Andra Sonea: National Critical Infrastructure - to complete Oct. 2024 (part-time)
  • Lisa Stoltz: Complexity, Visualisation and Evaluation - to complete Oct 2023 (part-time)
  • Han Wen: How Branding is Changing Everyday Life in China. Completed 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. Co-supervised with Simon Williams. Completed 2019 (full-time).
  • Ali Dodson: Schelling’s Bounded Neighbourhood Model: A systematic investigation. Co-supervised with Susan Stepney and Leo Caves. Completed 2014.
  • Davita Gunbay. Children’s childhoods: Exploring childhood through children’s interpretations of television advertisements in North Cyprus. Co-supervised with Stevi Jackson. Completed 2012.

Public Engagement and Impact

I am a member of The National Statistician's Data Ethics Advisory Committee (NSDEC) Link opens in a new window 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 rewardsLink opens in a new window. 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