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Emma Uprichard (Reader)

Emma Uprichard (Reader)

My work is driven by the methodological challenge of studying complex social systems across time and space (see for example this project). This methodological challenge is led by three simple questions:

  • How do we empirically study a nonlinear social entity that itself changes (and continues to be the same) as we research it?
  • How might we study that social entity in a way that also produces useful knowledge for policy and planning purposes?
  • How do we study social change and continuity over time and space in a way that also preserves the notion of the ageing human agent, inter-generationally, whilst appreciating the importance of context?

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; time and temporality; children/childhood and children's geographies; cities and urban change; food hates/avoidances; critical realism; change and continuity; the Mass Observation Archive and other longitudinal qualitative or quantitative resources; big data, especially big data 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).

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 also a member of The National Statistician's Data Ethics Advisory Committee (NSDEC). I was co-editor of the International Journal of Social Research Methodology 2017-19 and a board member to the journal. I am also on the editorial board journal Complexity, Governance and Networks. Until March 2022, I am also 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)

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.

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

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.

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

  • Lisa Stoltz: Complexity, Visualisation and Evaluation
  • Han Wen: How Branding is Changing Everyday Life in China
  • Nathalie Mezza-Garcia - Complex Governance and SeaZones: The Floating Island Project
  • Samantha Martin - Coeliac Disease: Chronic Illness and Self-Care in the Digital; completed 2019.
  • Paz Saavedra - Caring for the past in traditional practices of care; completed 2020
  • Jo Trowsdale - Art-making as a site for education: a case study of The Imagineerium Project; completed 2020.

Public Engagement and Impact

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