Research Associate | Co-lead of Collaborative Action Research workstream

Dr Richard Brunner worked with Professor Nick Watson to support community planning partners in Glasgow, one of the four What Works Scotland case study areas.

About Richard’s research interests


Social research is the third stage of Richard’s career.

Stage one included supporting homeless people, mental health advocacy, and supporting people living on housing estates in Hackney, East London to organise and improve the quality of their lives.

Stage two involved social policy analysis in the voluntary and statutory sectors in Scotland, including for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Stage three has involved a wide range of social justice-related research, including work as a Research Fellow at the University of Strathclyde.

Richard has conducted studies using a wide variety of qualitative research methods, including with the Scottish Pakistani community in Govanhill; with disabled parents; about teaching human rights; and exploring how mentoring can help young people from disadvantaged communities in Glasgow.

Richard came to the University of Glasgow to do a PhD in October 2011, supervised by Professor Nick Watson and Professor Kirsten Stalker (University of Strathclyde).

His study, funded by the ESRC, involved interviewing people in Glasgow who have been in psychiatric hospital. Richard applied the capabilities approach to interpret their social justice experiences.

Richard joined What Works Scotland in January 2015.

What Works Scotland publications

Evaluability assessment: An application in a complex community improvement setting

This research article in Evaluation Journal (open access) is based on What Works Scotland fieldwork. It reports on the context, the process undertaken and evidence from participants in an Evaluability Assessment (EA) facilitated with public service workers involved in implementing a complex, area-based community improvement initiative. The authors show how the process allows practitioners at all levels to identify activities for evaluation and co-produce the theory of change developed through the EA.  (June 2019) – Co-authored by Richard Brunner, Peter Craig and Nick Watson.

What Works Scotland blog posts

Other blog posts and articles

Mental health, social science and the capabilities approach – Published on the ESRC blog (2 March 2018)

Contact Richard

Richard is based at the University of Glasgow. See his staff profile on the University of Glasgow School of Social and Political Science website