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Dr Michelle Farr

Dr Michelle Farr

Dr Michelle Farr
BSc (Hons), MPHIL, PhD

Senior Research Associate (Qualitative Research)

Office CLARC
9th Floor, Whitefriars BS1 2NT
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 342 7279


I work in applied health research, with a background in sociology and public services management. I have 13 years of qualitative research experience with a wide range of public services including health, local government, and third sector organisations. I have a strong interest in collaborative and participatory research in public services, working with service users and staff to improve services and co-produce research. I am currently working on a public engagement project to explore how to equalize power relations in co-produced health research, and how to evidence the impact of co-produced research.


In my post with the CLAHRC West Ethnography team I have worked on a variety of projects including the evaluation of chronic pain peer support groups, and two projects evaluating the implementation of health technology. One project evaluated the implementation of a GP online consultation system that supported patient access to GPs, and another examined the implementation of a mental health care pathway tool, co-designed to support the co-production of care plans. I am currently working on a public engagement project to explore how to equalize power relations in co-produced health research, and am interested in how to evidence the impact of co-produced research.

My PhD was on co-design and co-production processes in health and local government. Other research interests include peer support in physical and mental health, and how to co-design more compassionate mental health services. Theoretical and methodological research interests include using realism and complexity thinking to understand how co-produced research can make a difference in practice.

Previous to my CLARHC West post I worked at the University of Bath on a number of research projects. I undertook a research project with the Point of Care Foundation, to understand the implementation process of Schwartz Rounds (interdisciplinary reflective groups that support staff in providing compassionate care) within mental health and community services. I collaborated with the King’s Fund’s Patient and Family Centred Care project to conduct participatory action research to study what facilitates improvements in patients’ experiences of care, working with patients and staff. Working with a Citizens Advice Bureau I co-produced research with an advice services team that analysed the impact of advice services using social return on investment methods. My PhD evaluated two co-design and co-creation projects, one based in hospital cancer services, and one based in local government.

My career began working in the voluntary sector, working in mental health services, with young people and in community development. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Activities / Findings

Farr, M. and Cressey, P. (2018) ‘The social impact of advice during disability welfare reform: from social return on investment to evidencing public value through realism and complexity’. Public Management Review. doi: 10.1080/14719037.2018.1473474

Farr, M., Banks, J., Edwards, H., Northstone, K., Bernard, E., Salisbury, C. & Horwood, J. (2018) ‘Implementing online consultations in primary care: A mixed method evaluation extending normalisation process theory with service co-production’ BMJ Open. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019966

Banks, J., Farr, M., Salisbury, C., Bernard, E., Northstone, K., Edwards, H., & Horwood, J. (2018) ‘The use of electronic consultation in primary care: views and experiences from general practice’ British Journal of General Practice. 68 (666): e1-e8. doi:10.3399/bjgp17X693509

Farr, M. (2017) ‘Power dynamics and collaborative mechanisms in co-production and co-design processes’. Critical Social Policy. doi: 10.1177/0261018317747444

Farr, M. & Barker, R. (2017) ‘Can staff be supported to deliver compassionate care through implementing Schwartz Rounds in community and mental health services?’ Qualitative Health Research 27(11) 1652–1663. doi: 10.1177/1049732317702101


I am a Group Tutor on Behavioural and Social Sciences, Foundations of Medicine, Year 1. In my previous post at the University of Bath I taught a range of courses including qualitative research methods, organisational sociology, and power and commitment in organisations.


  • co-production
  • co-design
  • co-creation
  • implementation of health technology
  • sociology of health services
  • realism
  • complexity
  • collaboration and knowledge mobilisation.


  • qualitative methods
  • ethnography
  • realist evaluation
  • complexity theory

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Networks & contacts

  • I work with the Ethnography team within the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) West. Previously my research collaborations have included research with The King's Fund
  • the Point of Care Foundation and a Citizens Advice Bureau.

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