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Dr Jon Symonds

Dr Jon Symonds

Dr Jon Symonds
PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), MA (Hons)

Lecturer in Social Work with Children and Families

Office Room 2.3, 6 Priory Road
8 Priory Road,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1TZ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 954 6781


My research interests focus on understanding and improving practice in professional encounters, informed by my background as a registered social worker. I am experienced in making direct recordings of practice and using Conversation Analysis to identify (and improve) specific components of professional interaction. I have applied this to my doctoral research on the recruitment of fathers to parenting programmes as well as in other funded projects. My other research interests are in families, parenting and fatherhood, and practitioner engagement skills. I am an original member of the UoB Conversation Analysis Research Group.

Research projects


Older men at the margins (OMAM) with Dr Paul Willis, Tricia Jessiman and Professor David Abbott.

Outcomes in social care assessments (OSCA) with Professor Liz Lloyd and Dr William Turner.

Recruiting fathers to family support services with South Gloucestershire Council.


The values of assessment (2017) with Professor Val Williams, Dr Sue Porter, Caroline Miles, Mike Steel and the West of England Centre for Inclusive Living.

Fathers with learning disabilities and their experiences of social care (2017) with Dr Daryl Dugdale.

Telephone calls to GP receptionists (2016) with Professor Elizabeth Stokoe and Dr Rein Sikveland.

Understanding the causes of miscommunication in primary care consultations for children with acute cough (UnPAC) (2015) with Dr Christie Cabral and Dr Rebecca Barnes.

'Have you got a partner as well?' Engaging fathers and other carers with parenting programmes: a study using Conversation Analysis (2015) PhD thesis.


I joined the University of Bristol in 2010 after 15 years of practice with adults with learning disabilities, children and adolescents with mental health problems and parenting services. I have been a registered social worker since 2006 and delivered teaching and training to practitioners at pre- and post qualifying levels since 2008.

My research interests are in families, parenting and fatherhood, practitioner engagement skills, and using Conversation Analysis to understand and improve professional practice. I welcome proposals from prospective students considering Masters or doctoral dissertations in these areas.


Most of my teaching is on the MSc in Social Work where I convene the Communication and Interviewing Skills element of the programme, act as personal tutor to students and supervise Masters level dissertations in the final year.

I also give lectures at undergraduate level on child abuse and fatherhood, and at postgraduate level on Conversation Analysis.


  • Social work research
  • Families; Parenting; Fatherhood
  • Engagement
  • Professional practice
  • Conversation Analysis



School for Policy Studies

Research centres

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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