I worked clinically as an Adult Nurse in acute medicine, rehabilitation, and medical oncology, before moving to social science research via an interlude exploring livelihoods in Northern Nigeria. My jump from practice to research was motivated by a desire to understand, and change, the many things that stop knowledge being used to inform practice.
My ESRC-funded doctorate investigated how knowledge was identified and used in Public Health guideline development at the (as it then was) National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NICE), challenging the view that only certain, narrowly-defined forms of evidence inform guideline development. Subsequently, my research career at University of Exeter Medical School and NIHR CLAHRC for the southwest peninsula (PenCLAHRC) has been applied (conducting systematic reviews to inform Public Health guideline development), methodological (developing realist synthesis for explaining implementation challenges), and developmental (engaging stakeholders in thinking through implementation questions and how research can help).
Doing knowledge mobilisation research has meant crossing conventional sectoral boundaries and working in diverse fields, including offenders’ mental health, health promotion in schools, and intermediate care. Working in this way gives rise to challenges that are not unlike those that ethnographers encounter where they are simultaneously an ‘insider’ and an ‘outsider’. But challenges can also be opportunities, and embracing this insider/outsider tension enables me to bring a distinct perspective.
I joined the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre at Hull York Medical School in late 2017 as Senior Lecturer in Implementation Science & Knowledge Mobilisation. Note that the ‘&’ is not a fudge. Until we’re better able to articulate the iterative use of scientific and experiential forms of knowledge, or people outside of Philosophy departments can have the term ‘phronesis’ in their job title, the ‘&’ will just have to remain.
- 2008 PhD (Plymouth)
- 2004 MRes (London)
- 2003 BA (London)
- 1995 DipHE (Bournemouth)
- 2014-2017 Senior Research Fellow in Implementation Science, NIHR CLAHRC South West Peninsula (PenCLAHRC), University of Exeter Medical School
- 2013-2014 Senior Research Fellow in Evidence Synthesis, ESMI, University of Exeter Medical School
- 2009-2013 Research Fellow, PenTAG, University of Exeter Medical School
- 2008-2009 Associate Research Fellow, PenTAG, University of Exeter Medical School 2005-2008 ESRC CASE PhD studentship, University of Plymouth
- 1995-2004 Staff Nurse (Adult) - Rehabilitation (Bristol), Elderly Medicine (Poole), Medical Oncology (London)
I am a social scientist focusing on knowledge mobilisation and implementation issues in health and social services. My research focuses on how social, psychological and organisational factors interact and impact on how knowledge is used in practice. I use theory-driven methods to conduct research that informs both the development of interventions (the implementation and impact theories that underpin the ways in which complex interventions are proposed to work) and the evaluation of interventions (refining understanding of implementation mechanisms that are transferable across fields of practice).
Funded research projects
2018-2022 Johnson, M., Fallon, M., Currow, D., Norrie, J., Hall, P., Seymour, J., Chaudhuri, N., Bajwah, S., Keen, J., Higginson, I., Buchanan, D., Hart, S., & Pearson, M. (2018) ‘A parallel-group, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial comparing the effectiveness and cost-consequence and cost-effectiveness of low dose oral modified release morphine (MRM) versus placebo on the intensity of worst breathlessness in people with chronic breathlessness’ - NIHR Health Technology Appraisal (HTA) Award 17/34/01 (£1,380,693) (Co-investigator)
2017-2019 Mattick, K., Pearson, M., Wong, G., Carrieri, D., Papoutsi, C., Briscoe, S. & Jackson, M. (2017) ‘Care under pressure: a realist review of interventions to tackle doctors’ mental ill-health and its impacts on the clinical workforce and patient care’ - NIHR Health Services & Delivery Research (HSDR) Award 16/53/12 (£201,827) (Co-Principal Investigator)
2017-2018 Turner, A., Pearson, M., Baxter, S., Bunn, F., Hanratty, B., Sheaff, R. & Wilson, P. (2017) ‘New Models of Care - Enhanced dissemination of findings from five NIHR HSDR-funded reviews’ - NIHR Health Services & Delivery Research (HSDR) (£27,224) (Co-investigator)
2016-2017 Sheaff, R., Pearson, M., Lloyd, H., & Byng, R. (2016) ‘From programme theory to logic models for Multi-specialty Community Providers: A realist evidence synthesis’ - NIHR Health Services & Delivery Research (HSDR) Award 15/77/34 (£168,170) (Co-Principal Investigator)
2016-2021 Ismail, K., MacArthur, C., Bick, D. Johnston, T., Roberts, T., Oborn, E., Pearson, M., Tincello, D., Davenport, C., Daniels, J., Dean, S., Hay-Smith, J., Hemming, K., Kidd-Chadwick, J., Bridges, N., & Coleman, T. (2015) ‘Antenatal Prophylactic Pelvic Floor Exercises and Localisation (APPEAL) Programme’ - NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research (£1,893,723 - Exeter components £305,487) (Co-investigator)
2015-2017 Boyd, K., Rappert, B., Farrimond, H., Pearson, M., Lang, I., Ralph, N., Poole, A. & Mellodew, K. (2015) ‘The Exeter Policing, Evidence and Research Translation (ExPERT) Project’ -College of Policing/ Higher Education Funding Council for England (£249,976) (Co-investigator)
2014-2016 Wong, G., Pearson, M., Mattick, K. & Brennan, N. (2014) ‘Interventions to improve antimicrobial prescribing in doctors in training: a realist review’ - NIHR Health Services & Delivery Research (HSDR) Award 13/97/24 (£187,540) (Co-investigator)
2011-2012 Pearson, M., Jones-Hughes, T., Peters, J. & Whear, R. (2011) Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) Systematic review - ‘Are interventions to reduce the impact of arsenic contamination of groundwater on human health and crop productivity in developing countries effective?’ Award 59617 (£37,236) (Principal Investigator)
2011-2012 Anderson, R., Pearson, M., Pawson, R., & Shepperd, S. (2011) NIHR Service Delivery & Organisation (SDO) ‘The effective and cost-effective use of intermediate, step-down, hospital at home and other forms of community care as an alternative to acute patient care: a realist review’ - Award 10/1012/07 (£101,079) (Co-investigator)
My full publication list is available on Worktribe.
Brand, S.L, Quinn, C., Pearson, M., Lennox, C., Owens, C., Callaghan, L., Kirkpatrick, T., Stirzaker, A., Michie, S., Maguire, M., Shaw, J. & Byng, R. (2019) Building programme theory to inform the development of complex interventions that are adaptable and scalable: The role of realist formative process evaluation prior to full trial. Evaluation 25 (2) 149-170
Papoutsi, C., Mattick, K., Pearson, M., Brennan, N., Briscoe, S. & Wong, G. (2017) Social and professional influences on antimicrobial prescribing for doctors-in-training: a realist review. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 72 (9) 2418-2430
Pearson, M., Hemsley, A., Blackwell, R., Pegg, L. & Custerson, L. (2017) Improving Hospital at Home for frail older people: Insights from a Quality Improvement project to achieve change across regional health and social care sectors. BMC Health Services Research 17:387
Van Belle, S., Wong, G., Westhorp, G., Pearson, M., Emmel, N., Manzano, A & Marchal, B. (2016) Can “realist” randomised controlled trials be genuinely realist? Trials 17: 313
Pearson, M., Brand, S.L, Quinn, C., Shaw, J., Maguire, M., Michie, S., Briscoe, S., Lennox, C., Stirzaker, A., Kirkpatrick, T. & Byng, R. (2015) Using realist review to inform intervention development: Methodological illustration and conceptual platform for collaborative care in offender mental health Implementation Science 10:134
Pearson, M., Chilton, R., Woods, H.B, Wyatt, K., Ford, T., Abraham, C. & Anderson, R. (2015) Implementing health promotion programmes in schools: a realist systematic review of research and experience in the United Kingdom Implementation Science 10:149
Pearson, M., Hunt, H., Cooper, C., Sheppard, S., Pawson, R. & Anderson, R. (2015) Providing effective and preferred care closer to home: A realist review of intermediate care. Health and Social Care in the Community 23 (6) 577-593
Monks, T., Pearson, M., Pitt, M., Stein, K. & James, M.A (2015) Evaluating the impact of a simulation study in emergency stroke care. Operations Research for Health Care 6 40-49
Pearson, M. (2010) ”What do we know? What should we do?”: Melding research validity and rhetoric in the analysis of policy making Evidence & Policy 6 (1) 77-90
Pearson, M. and Coomber, R. (2010) The challenge of external validity in policy-relevant systematic reviews: a case study from the field of substance misuse Addiction 105 (1) 136-145
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Evidence & Policy
Panel member, NIHR Health Services & Delivery Research (HS&DR) Funding Committee (2019-2022)
Research Advisory Panel member, NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB):
- Social Care Panel (2018)
- Yorkshire & North East (2017-2018)
- South West (2016-2017)
Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter Medical School
External Examiner, MSc Implementation Science and MRes Clinical Research, King’s College London