The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Mabel Lie

Research Associate



In 2005, I completed an ESRC CASE PhD studentship in Sociology and Social Policy (Newcastle University), and in 2006, a Big Lottery funded project on older people as volunteers in Age Concern. Moving to the Institute of Health and Society (IHS), my role as a qualitative researcher has included the study of the experiences of two methods of abortion in a clinical trial (TOPS), decision-making about the hyper-acute treatment of stroke (DASH) and women's experiences of gestational diabetes (funded by Diabetes UK) with a view to developing a diabetes prevention intervention. In 2011 I completed qualitative research on an ambient home monitoring system for older people (funded by Technology Strategy Board) and supported a doctoral research project 'Designing a Decision Aid for Choice of Urinary Diversion with Cystectomy'. In the same year I joined the team on a multi-centre cohort study (MERIDIAN) assessing the role of MRI scanning in the diagnosis of fetal brain abnormalities in utero. The sociological study involved working across faculties at the Institute of Cellular Medicine and the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, as well as with colleagues at Sheffield University's Clinical Trials Research Unit. In 2015, with funds from an ESRC Impact Acceleration Grant, we ran a series of practitioner workshops across the UK to increase the impact of the sociological sub-study's findings. A study of the use of telemedicine in fetal ultrasound consultations followed. In 2016 I conducted a qualitative study embedded in a clinical trial (ALTAR) investigating alternatives of prophylactic antibiotics for recurrent urinary infection based at IHS (2016), and an ethnography of an artist working in a care home (2017) based at the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre, funded by the Wellcome Trust. I am presently completing work on a qualitative study of a multi-centre EMPOWER clinical trial investigating the effectiveness of two drugs to treat emesis in pregnancy. At the same time, I am working on a study of women who have experienced a termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly. I am presently based at the Population Health Sciences Institute, Medical School.


1982: B.A.(National University of Singapore)
1983: Dip.Ed.(Institute of Education, Singapore)
1998: M.A. in Applied Linguistics and Bilingualism (University of Newcastle upon Tyne)
2000-2004: ESRC CASE PhD studentship (Newcastle University) in collaboration with the Newcastle Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership (EYDCP)

Previous Positions

1999: Research Associate, Minority Language Engineering Project (MILLE) at Lancaster University - feasibility study on the collection and text-encoding of Spoken Sylheti (Bengali) data.



  • Research Interests

My general area of expertise is in qualitative research in social policy and healthcare contexts, having interviewed black and minority ethnic participants, children, older people, young women, patients and health care professionals. I also have some experience in quantitative methods using SPSS. I am interested in comparative case study research, household research and social networks. I have particular expertise in a range of QSR software for qualitative analysis (most recently NVIVO11 and Atlas.ti), and in working with interpreters in research among speakers of other languages. In the past few years, I have developed particular skills in narrative interviewing on sensitive topics, ethnographic research, as well as qualitative research into clinical trial participation.

Current Work

2018: EMPOWER - EMesis in Pregnancy - Ondansetron With mEtoclopRamide - qualitative study on trial participation in pilot trial

2017: HELIX ArCH - Art, Authenticity and Citizenship in Care Homes

2016- 2017: ALTAR (Alternative to prophylactic antibiotics for the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infection in women) - embedded qualitative study on trial participation

2011-2015: MERIDIAN - Magnetic resonance imaging to enhance the diagnosis of fetal developmental brain abnormalities in utero 

2014 - 2016: AHSN Telemed - Evaluation Study o Fetal Ultrasound Telemedicine Service (funded by the Academic Health Science Network)

Research Roles

2004-2006: Research associate on the project 'Volunteering, self-help and citizenship in later life' at the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology. Collaborative research by Age Concern Newcastle and Newcastle University, funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

2006-2008: Research Associate, Institute of Health and Society.
Qualitative sub-study of women participating in the random and preference arms of a clinical trial of medical versus surgical termination of pregnancy

2008-2009 Research Associate on DASH Objective 2: Decision-making about thrombolysis in hyper-acute stroke: determining patient and professional views, funded by NIHR 

2009-2010 Research Associate on DPPP: Preventing type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes: qualitative studies with postnatal women to inform intervention development, funded by Diabetes UK

2010-2011 Research Associate on SHeL: Safe Home Living - the use and acceptability of remote monitoring systems for older people living alone, funded by the Technology Strategy Board

2010-2011 Research Associate supporting NIHR doctoral fellowship: 'Designing a Decision Aid for Choice of Urinary Diversion with Cystectomy'

Esteem Indicators

Associate Fellow, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University
Associate Member (Academic), Centre for Translational Research in Public Health (FUSE)

I have refereed academic articles for the following journals

  • Multilingua: Journal of Cross-cultural and Interlanguage Communication
  • Population, Space and Place
  • Social Policy and Society
  • Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
  • Journal of Comparative Family Studies
  • Global Networks
  • International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
  • Reproductive Health
  • Social Theory and Health
  • Journal of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Healthcare
  • Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
  • International Journal of Women's Health
  • Culture, Health and Sexuality
  • Ageing and Society
  • Journal of Social Policy
  • PLoS ONE


ESRC CASE studentship 2000-2003
2006: Writing bursary from the Institute of Policy and Practice

2015: ESRC Impact Acceleration Grant



Undergraduate Teaching

Tutor in 'Medicine in the Community' course for Stage 1 and 2 MBBS students (2007-2012)

Postgraduate Teaching

Qualitative research supervisor for Masters research qualitative study embedded within ASPIRE (Aspirin resistance among pregnant women at risk of preeclampsia)