Professor Henrietta O Connor

Professor of Sociology, also Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor

School/Department: Media Communication and Sociology, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 5952



I joined Sociology in August 2014 having previously been employed at the Centre for Labour Market Studies at the University of Leicester.

I did my undergraduate degree in Human Geography at Queen Mary College University of London and then obtained a university scholarship at Trinity College Dublin and was awarded an MLitt in 1993. I completed my PhD at the University of Leicester.

I have played an active role at the University of Leicester most recently as PVC and Head of the College of Social Science Arts and Humanities and Chair of the University Equality and Diversity Committee. Previously I was Head of Department of the Centre for Labour Market Studies and Deputy Head of the School of Management. I have also held posts as Sub-Dean of Graduate Studies and Director of Postgraduate Research in the College of Social Science.

I am Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an Academic Fellow of CIPD.


My principal research interests focus on the sociology of work and employment and transitions to and from the labour market. For example together with John Goodwin I have carried out research and published widely in aspects of transition such as young people's transition from school to work graduate labour markets and older worker's transitions out of the labour market and in to retirement.

Another area of research is concerned with gender work and employment with a focus on motherhood employment and childcare decisions. I have also published research on women in academia specifically concerned with gender and grant capture.

I also have an active interest in research methods. My current work is based around the secondary analysis of qualitative data qualitative longitudinal research and community restudies.

My work on the use of the internet as a research tool in the 1990s was pioneering and together with Clare Madge I have published widely on the use of virtual interviews as a methodological tool and also on the role of the internet as a means of social support for new parents. The ESRC funded training package which resulted from this work can be found here.


Goodwin, J. Parsons, L., and O'Connor, H. (2020) COVID-19: A Global 'Civilising Offensive', Timelines, Issue 29 pp.13-15

Droy, L. Goodwin, J. and O'Connor, H. (2020) Using a Multi-Strategy Approach to Manage Methodological Uncertainty about the Long-Term Effects of Government Sponsored Youth Training on Occupational Mobility, Bulletin of Sociological Methodology/Bulletin de Mathodologie, Vol. 147-148, issue: 1-2, pp. 200-230

Goodwin, J., O'Connor H., Droy, L. and Holmes, S. (2020) Returning to YTS: the long-term impact of youth training scheme participation, Journal of Youth Studies, Volume 23, Issue 1.

Zhou, C, Head, M, Marshall, D, Gilbert, B, El-Harasis, M, Raine, O'Connor, H, Atun, R, Maruthappu, M (2018) A systematic analysis of United Kingdom cancer research funding by gender of primary investigator BMJ Open

Edwards, R., Goodwin, J., O'Connor, H. and Phoenix, A. (2017) Working with Paradata, Marginalia and Fieldnotes: The Centrality of By-Products of Social Research. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

O'Connor, H. and Goodwin, J. (2017) Fieldnotes, Marginalia and Paradata in Youth Employment Restudies 1960-1985, in Edwards, R., Goodwin, J., O'Connor, H. and Phoenix, A. (2017) Working with Paradata, Marginalia and Fieldnotes: The Centrality of By-Products of Social Research. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Furlong, A., Goodwin, J., O'Connor, H., Hadfield, S., Hall, S., Lowden, H.and Plugor, R. (2017) Young People in the Labour Market: Past, Present, Future. London: Routledge.

Meer, N., Leonard, P., Taylor, S., O'Connor, H. and Offer, J. (2016) Bringing it "Home" ?  Sociological Practice and the Practice of Sociology'. Special Issue of Sociology (50: 5) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the journal.

O'Connor, H. and Bodicoat, M. (2016) Exploitation or Opportunity?: Student Perceptions of Internships in Enhancing Employability Skills. British Journal of Sociology of Education.

Goodwin, J., Hughes, J. and O'Connor, H. (2016) 'Return to Winston Parva: Starting to Reconstruct The Established and the Outsiders 'From the Margins'. Historical Social Research, 41:3 18-30.

Boyle, P.,  Smith, L.K.,  Cooper, N.J., Williams, K.S. and O'Connor, H.(2015) Women are funded more fairly in social science, Nature, 10 September 2015 DOI: 10.1038/525181a


I would be interested in supervising PhD study in the following areas:

Youth transitions from school to work

Gender work and employment

Older workers and retirement

Motherhood employment and childcare 


Research Methods 

Press and media

Sociology of work and employment
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