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  2. MSc Projects with Madeline Cruice
School of Health Sciences

MSc Projects with Madeline Cruice

General research interests

My main research interest is quality of life issues for people with aphasia, and their families and friends. I am interested in: 

  • How people with aphasia understand and complete quality of life tools (cognitive and linguistic aspects);
  • How significant others act as "proxies" when completing quality of life tools on an aphasic person's behalf;
  • The impact of the quality of life tool on the person completing it; and 
  • The relevance of existing quality of life tools to people with aphasia, judged using their personal perspectives.

Furthermore, I am interested in social health/ participation, emotional health (depressive symptoms) and psychological well-being in life with aphasia, and subsequently am interested in related areas of social networks and activities, aphasia awareness and disability training, communication access, functional communication, and environmental approaches to intervention.

Suggested MSc Projects

I am interested in supervising students who would like to investigate the use of quality of life tools as an outcome measure in speech and language therapy interventions. I am especially interested in what clients and clinicians think of the relevance and usefulness of a tool, how helpful it is in decision-making around treatments etc, and whether the tool captures meaningful change during intervention. These types of questions can be investigated using a series of indepth single cases, and are best located within the student's current caseload with NHS ethics approval. Alternatively, they can be investigated by following a small number of patients through their inpatient stay, and also investigate the use of quality of life tools in multidisciplinary team outcomes.

I would also consider supervising projects that relate to my research interests above, and encourage students to email me to further discuss their ideas.

Projects for which you would analyse already existing data:

  • Social network typologies in older individuals with aphasia after strokeThis project would investigate what types of networks exist in aphasic participants' social lives, and investigate the relationship between a range of variables (depression, age, gender, perceived social support, levels of language functioning and communication disability, and well-being) and network type. This project uses the social network convoy model of Antonucci and Akiyama. Potential students interested in this project may like to read Fiori, K., Antonucci, T., & Cortina, K. (2006). Social network typologies and mental health among older adults. Journal of Gerontology, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61, 25-32.

The merit in undertaking this project is that is is an original research idea (not previously explored or published in English scientific literature), and would contribute new evidence to the growing knowledge base of "social participation" in aphasia.

  • Social network typologies in healthy older individuals
    This project is a 'companion' project to the above, in that it basically mirrors the research aims and methodologies, but is instead based on healthy older individuals with no history of neurological insult or disease. It can be completed independently of the above project. This project uses the social network convoy model of Antonucci and Akiyama. Potential students interested in this project may like to read Fiori, K., Antonucci, T., & Cortina, K. (2006). Social network typologies and mental health among older adults. Journal of Gerontology, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61, 25-32.

The merit in undertaking this project is that it would provide concrete evidence of social network types in a control or normal population, against which the social networks of people with acquired communication disorders can be compared.

  • Semantic complexity of quality of life tools
    This project would explore the semantic complexity of words used in a range of quality of life tools, through a thorough linguistic analysis. It will compare several popular existing tools, and identify potential facilitators and barriers to understanding for people with aphasia (information access).

Previous MSc projects supervised

  • Creating an accessible information brochure for people with aphasia.
  • Language and Quality of Life Reporting - the Impact of Linguistic Complexity in Quality of Life Tools on Participant-Proxy Agreement for People with Aphasia
  • Health-Related Quality of Life in Children and Adolescents with Cochlear Implants.
  • Describing the techniques used by a group facilitator in facilitating a conversation group for people with aphasia - an exploratory qualitative study.
  • An exploratory study of the strategies used by the patient and the interdisciplinary team when setting collaborative goals.
  • Identifying the barriers and facilitators to communication for hospital in-patients.
  • Exploring factors which contribute to 'successful' or 'unsuccessful' use of communication books by aphasic adults.

Key words

Quality of life, aphasia, social, access, evaluation, qualitative