Institute of Health & Society

Staff Profile

Dr Tim Rapley

Senior Lecturer



I am a medical sociologist with particular expertise in qualitative studies of medical practice and research. 


PhD Sociology/Conversation Analysis (London)
MA Sociology with special reference to qualitative research - awarded with distinction (London)
BA (Hons) Human Geography (London)

Previous Positions

Staff Scientist, Newcastle University 2006-2011
Research Associate, Newcastle University 2002-2006
Research Associate, Goldsmiths' College, University of London 2001-2002


British Medical Sociology Association 





Undergraduate Teaching

  • MBBS Lecturer
  • MBBS Personal Tutor

Postgraduate Teaching

  • MSc in Public Health and Health Services Research
         Module Lead - Further Qualitative Research
         Dissertation Supervisor, Dissertation Examiner, Personal Tutor  



Research Interests 

I focus on detailed empirical studies of medical practice and research. I’m interested in identifying, describing and understanding the everyday, taken-for-granted, aspects of medical work.  A focus on what people actually do, as opposed to just what they think they do, or they tell you what they do, can offer unique, practical and tailored solutions.  My research focuses on two over-arching related questions:

  • How is medical work shaped by new and existing forms of interaction, knowledge and technology? 
  • How is research-based knowledge produced, disseminated and integrated?


Research Roles

I am lead the qualitative research aspects on a number of research projects.


Postgraduate Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Nataly Birbeck, EPSRC DTC Digital Civics
  • Susan Bissett, NIHR Doctorol Fellow,
  • Karen Holt
  • Julia Maddison,
  • Jen McAnuff, NIHR Clinical Doctorol Fellow,
  • Lem Ngongalah,
  • Claire Sullivan,

Previous Supervision 

  • 2017 Katie Hester, PhD, NIHR Doctorol Fellow
  • 2017 Kate Hackett, PhD, Arthritis Research UK Nurse and Allied Health Professionals Fellow
  • 2016 Mary Cruikshank, MD, Arthritis Research UK Educational Research Fellow
  • 2016 Holly Stevens, PhD
  • 2014 Lorraine McSweeney, PhD, ESRC
  • 2013 Lynne Stobbart, PhD, NIHR Doctoral Fellow
  • 2010 Ben Thompson, MD, Arthritis Research UK Educational Research Fellow
  • 2010 Jo Patterson, PhD, NIHR Doctoral Fellow


Esteem Indicators

  • Editorial board member of Implementation Science
  • Editorial board member of Qualitative Research  
  • SAGE Research Methods Board Member

I have given invited papers in Charite (Berlin), Essex University, Humboldt University (Berlin), Lancaster University, Leicester University, Manchester University, and Tampere University and a Keynote address at 'Advances in Qualitative Research, Qualitative Methods Research Network, European Sociological Association', Cardiff University



Current funding focuses on two areas: 

  • Organisation of Care

Arthritis Research UK, Newcastle Biomedicine Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre (ARUK-NB-EATC)  Isaacs J, van Laar J, Ng W F, Rapley T, Kay L, Blamire A, Birrell F 2012-2017 £225,000

NIHR Programme Grant TRANSITION - How can health services contribute most effectively to facilitating successful transition of young people with complex health needs from childhood to adulthood? Colver A, Reape D , Wheatley H, McDonagh J, McConachie H, Le Couteur A, Vale L, Rapley T, Pearce M, Deverill M, Parr J, Dovey-Pearce G, Bate A, MacFarlane J 2012-2017 £2,020,754

NIHR, Integrated Clinical Academic Fellowships – Senior Clinical Lecturer. Promoting health & functioning in children with physical limitations through participation in physical activities: ActiveCHILD 2016-2021 Kolehmainen N, Vormoor HJ, Pearce MS, Rapley TJ, Newton JL, Vale LD £449,240 (ICA-SCL-2015-01-003)

JGW Patterson Foundation CAPTURE JIA: Achieving Uniform and Optimal Data Collection to Improve Patient Care for Children and Young People with JIA 2016-2017 McErlane F, Thomson W, Foster H, Smith N, Rapley T £45,190.62 (19166)


  • Implementation of Care

European Union ImplementAll: Towards evidence-based tailored implementation strategies for eHealth. 2017-2021. €5,999,170 (REF: H2020-SC1-2016-2017)

HTA LiTEFORM. Lite Therapy Effectiveness For ORal Mucositis Trial. A randomised controlled trial of the clinical and cost effectiveness of Low Level Laser in the management of Oral Mucositis in Head and Neck cancer irradiation 2017-2022 Nugent M, Muirhead C, Patterson J, Ternent D, Rousseau N, Shanmugasundaram R, Goranova R, Rapley T, Peacock J, O'Hara J, Bryant V, Wilson J. £1,227,189.20 (HTA - 15/57/160)

HTA Clarifying the management of men with recurrent urethral stricture disease: A randomised trial of open urethroplasty versus endoscopic urethrotomy. (OPEN) 2012-17 Pickard R,  Mundy A, Payne S, Watkin N, Sinclair A, N’Dow J, Andrich D, Rapley T, Deverill M, Barclay S, McColl E, Norrie J, Cook J, McClennan G, McPherson G, Vale L £1,324,614  

NIHR Career Development Fellowship Environmental manipulation after perinatal stroke  2014-2018 Basu A, Rapley T, Vale L £570,916.22 

NIHR/HEE Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship Improving health in children with disabilities: an intervention-development study to support participation in leisure in 8-12 year-olds with communication and mobility limitations. McAnuff J, Kolehmainen N, Rapley T, Colver A £286,137

NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship Diabetes and periodontitis: developing and piloting a novel oral health intervention to enable improved glycaemic control  Bisset S, Preshaw P, Rapley T, Presseau J, Bradshaw C. £ 239,802

Websites - site introduces Normalization Process Theory and offers an interactive toolkit to help people think through implementation issues. - site for all clinicians who may encounter children with serious musculoskeletal problems. It aims to raise awareness, knowledge and skills to facilitate early diagnosis and referral to specialist care.