Centre for Research in Social Professions


About Us

The Centre for Research in Social Professions (CRiSP) was established in 2012. Since its inception team members have undertaken empirical research in a number of research areas, such as youth and community, health, psychology, educational progression, teaching and learning, social and environmental sustainability, policy, interculturalism, and community development.

In partnership with social professionals and local communities, CRiSP has developed its mission of improving the quality of life for those living within the region. For this work to happen, CRiSP utilises knowledge, skills and expertise of local people, researchers from across IT Sligo, local, national and international partners (e.g. Canadian, North American and European academic partners; national and local government; statutory, private and voluntary sector agencies).
Members’ research activities have achieved national and international recognition.

CRiSP is consolidating these achievements by creating a research space for social and health science researchers; and business/enterprises to collaborate together. We do this through:

  • – Building research capacity
  • – Supporting research capability
  • – Strengthening research capability

Building research capacity

CRiSP builds research capacity through:

  • – Providing research training
  • – Building a community of practice
  • – Support for peer-review publication
  • – Funding staff to undertake research
  • – Promotion of post-graduate research
  • – Maintaining a research office space where staff can discuss, plan and conduct research-related activities
  • – Employment of a Director to actively develop and manage capacity building strategy
  • – Actively seeks funding from local, national and European sources


Supports research capability

We offer a range of events for staff, researchers and local community partners e.g. conferences, workshops, trainings, symposia and seminars.
CRiSP supports the research capability of staff through running tailor-made training and workshops on areas including:

  • – Writing workshops
  • – Evaluating community projects
  • – Creating competitive applications
  • – Qualitative research methods
  • – Quantitative research methods
  • – Guides to getting published
  • – Grant writing workshops

Weekly lunchtime seminars are hosted to provide researchers the opportunity to showcase their research and receive feedback in a supportive environment. In addition, CRiSP facilitates international seminars with visiting Fulbright scholars. CRiSP also organises symposia and conferences.

Strengthen research networks

CRiSP has forged links with national and international organisations such as Irish Social Sciences Platform (ISSP), CYPSC, Formation d’Educateurs Sociaux Européens / European Social Educator Training (FESET), Pedagogy Learning & Education for the Early Years (PLÉ), Social Care Ireland (SCI) and Children and Young People’s Services Committees (CYPSC), and, Researching Early Childhood Education Collaborative (RECEC).

CRiSP raises the profile of non-STEM research conducted by ATU members. At the same time, CRiSP has created a space for interdisciplinary work with academics from the Schools of Science, Engineering, Business & Social Sciences, and the Centre for Online Learning (COL

CRISP Lecturers

Tamsin Cavaliero is a lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences. Her research interests include Graphic Facilitation Methods, Inclusive Education, Intercultural Practices, Gypsy Roma and Traveller Communities. Her Phd research focused on themes of Embodiment, Identity and Space among the Irish Traveller Community in home and school environments.

Áine Doherty is a Lecturer in Marketing at the Institute of Technology, Sligo. With a professional background in Marketing and Sales, she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate Marketing, Digital Marketing and Sales modules both online and face-to-face. Áine has been teaching online since 2015 and her role as a Digital Champion involves mentoring colleagues on their adoption of digital teaching and learning tools. Industry engagement is integral to her teaching and learning practice, her role as marketing work placement coordinator is central to this.

Áine achieved a Master of Science in Marketing Practice and a Research Master of Business prior to her career in academia. Her research interests include Experiential Marketing, Digital Marketing, and Teaching, Learning and Engagement. She is currently completing a PhD at NUI Galway under the supervision of Dr Ann Torres examining Experiential Marketing in Higher Education. During her time as a part-time PhD student, Áine founded an informal “PhD Staff Support Group” offering colleagues an opportunity to gain peer support and training throughout their PhD journey.

Dr. Martha Doyle is a lecturer in Social Policy and Research Methods at IT Sligo. Her research interests are in the areas of health service planning and delivery, personalization of care and contemporary issues in social care practice. She is currently Co-PI on a HSE funded research project evaluating the implementation of Integrated Care Programme for Older people (ICPOP) at three national sites (2020-2022). Her research has been published in high-ranking journals including, The Gerontologist, Ageing and Society, Ageing and Mental Health, the Journal of Social Policy and Health and Social Care in the Community. Prior to joining IT Sligo in 2016, she held the position of National Co-ordinator of the Dementia and Neurodegeneration Network of Ireland. From 2005 to 2013, she was a Research Fellow, in the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College. Dr Doyle holds a PhD in Social Policy, a Masters of Science in Applied Social Research and a Higher Diploma in Statistics, all from Trinity College Dublin and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology (Hons) from the National University of Ireland Galway.

Dr. Niamh Gallagher is a Lecturer and Researcher based in the Department of Social Sciences. She currently teaches on the BA (Hons) Programmes in Early Childhood Care & Education and Social Care Practice, the BA (Hons) in English and Psychology and the MA Programmes in Social Work Practice & Leadership and Advocacy in the Early Years. Niamh joined IT Sligo in January 2016. Niamh qualified with a First Class Honours Degree in Clinical Speech and Language Studies from University of Ulster in 1997 and a First Class Honours Degree in Health Sciences (Primary Care) at NUI Galway in 2005. She was awarded her Ph.D  in Health Sciences (Primary Care, NUI Galway ) in 2010 which comprised a qualitative exploration of continuity of care experiences in out-of- hours primary care services for those with chronic illness and complex polymorbidity.

Niamh teaches at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels within the Department of Social Sciences and is responsible for delivering modules on Research Based Study Skills, Inclusive Practices and Additional Needs in Early Childhood Education & Care and Interprofessional and Interagency Collaboration in Health and Social Care. Prior to commencing her academic position in Sligo Institute of Technology, Niamh worked as a Senior Speech & Language Therapist with the HSE for a period spanning fifteen years. Here, she was responsible for the assessment, differential diagnosis and management of children and adults presenting with a range of developmental and acquired speech, language and communication disorders and the clinical supervision and mentoring of undergraduate and postgraduate speech and language therapists in training. She was also responsible for designing and implementing various CPD programmes for a variety of other health/social care and educational disciplines on a number of topics of relevance to speech, language and communication disorders.

Niamh’s current areas of research align with her teaching remits and focus on the themes of transitions and continuity of care within health care, social care and educational services, centralisation of the service user voice in these contexts, intrinsic and instrumental case study methodologies and interprofessional and interagency collaboration in health and social care as well as educational contexts. She is currently joint Principal Investigator (with Dr. Martha Doyle, IT Sligo) on a collaborative research project with the HSE’s Integrated Care Programme for Older People (ICPOP) and is supervising postgraduate research masters/PhD students on projects related to integrated care, continuity of care and care of older persons.

Dr Gallagher’s career ambition is to continue to contribute to the development of academic social/health and educational sciences through high quality teaching and research of national and international relevance.

Dr. Máire Hanniffy is a lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences. She lectures on the MA in Social Work, the BA in Sociology and Politics, the BA in Social Care Practice, and the BA in Early Childhood Care and Education.

Máire completed her B.A in Public and Social Policy and her M.A. in Community Development in NUIG. She completed  her PhD ‘Life Foundations An Exploration of School Readiness’ with the Child and Family Research Centre in NUIG in 2016. Her research interests include childhood and family, children’s play, education and research methods. Prior to undertaking her doctoral studies Máire also worked in the community development sector.

Ríona is a lecturer in accounting in the Department of Business at the Institute of Technology, Sligo. She joined the Institute in 2015, having previously lectured for National University of Ireland, Galway at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Prior to moving into academia, Ríona worked in PricewaterhouseCoopers in audit (financial services) and taxation (personal tax) roles.

 Research interests of Ríona include management control systems, trust, and the audit environment. She completed her PhD in 2020 on connections between management controls in large audit firms. Ríona is currently working on publishing the findings of this research. As a doctoral student, Ríona was awarded research funding by the Irish Accounting and Finance Association.

Ríona teaches across different subdisciplines of accounting. These are financial and management accounting, finance, and taxation. She has experience of research supervision having supervised research projects at different levels of the QQI framework (i.e., levels 7, 8, and 9).

Ríona holds a first-class honours degree in Commerce and a Masters of Accounting. She is a Fellow member of Chartered Accountants Ireland and an associate member of the Irish Taxation Institute.

I am a sociologist and lecturer for a range of undergraduate and taught MA programmes in the Department of Social Sciences at IT Sligo, and currently chair the BA (hons) programme in Sociology and Politics. My teaching spans the fields of Childhood/ Youth Studies, Inequality, Race, Technology, and Creative Practice, and I am engaged in supervising MA and PhD research candidates in these areas. My own research interests include: Childhood culture and politics; Migration and race; Arts-based pedagogies; Visual and narrative research methods. I am Chair of the Child and Youth Participation SIG for the all-island Children’s Research Network (TRiCC). I am a member of the Executive Committee of the Sociological Association of Ireland. I am also a member of the Athena Swan Self- Assessment Team at IT Sligo. Prior to joining IT Sligo in 2007, I worked as an artist/facilitator in a range of community settings.

Mary McGuckin is a lecturer in Tourism and Strategy in the School of Business & Social Sciences. She has taught on a range of programmes in addition to supervising research dissertations at undergraduate and postgraduate levels for over 20 years. She continues to engage closely with tourism industry partners and has completed a range of industry-specific projects including visitor surveys and service audits, marketing audits and plans, economic appraisals, feasibility studies and customised industry training workshops for a range of industry sectors. Mary was a Guest Lecturer at the University of Algarve, Portugal and Florida University, Valencia, Spain and has presented research papers at national and international tourism and management conferences. Research interests include literary festivals and tourism, destination management and marketing strategies.

Catherine McGuinn (Ph D) is a lecturer in Marketing and Director of CRISP (Research Centre) at the Institute of Technology, Sligo,  a graduate member of the Marketing Institute of Ireland and the Irish Academy of Management. Catherine has taught several marketing modules and research methods at both under and post graduate level. Catherine is a member of the Academic Council, has acted as Head of Department and is a former chair of the Research and Innovation committee of the Academic Council. Catherine has supervised a number of Masters by Research to completion and is currently supervises a PhD. Catherine has authored and co-authored at many national and international conferences (IAM, THRIC, ENVIRON). Research interests include customer service, CSR, professional marketing practice, retail and public sector marketing.

Valerie Mc Taggart PhD (c) is a lecturer in Global Business Services, at the Institute of Technology, Sligo. She has a Degree from the University of Ulster at Jordanstown in Applied Consumer Studies, a BA Hons Degree in Applied Consumer Studies from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, a Master’s in Business from John Moors University Liverpool, and an Ordinary Degree in Teaching and Education from NUIG. Valerie is in the process of completing my PhD which focuses on the ‘Digital Transformation in Traditional Organisations’ through DCU School of Business. She is also the director of IT Sligo’s research team on the Future Digital Organisation.

Prior to joining IT Sligo as a full-time member of the academic team in 2018, Valerie worked in financial services in Ireland and UK for over twenty years undertaking several roles including project management, leadership and training and development.

She is research active in a number of areas, presenting her research at several national and international.

Dr. Majella Mulkeen is a lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences at the Institute of Technology Sligo where she teaches sociology, social policy, equality and care. Her research interests include equality, gender, and care. Her work on equality and emancipatory practice features in the core textbook Applied Social Studies-An introduction for students in Ireland (2013, Eds Share, P. & Lalor, K.). She has published on gendered processes in child protection practice (2012) and on marketisation in Irish social care (2016) in the peer reviewed Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies. She completed her doctoral studies on the centrality of the affective sphere in social care practice and its neglect within regulatory frameworks. She co-edited a Special Edition of the Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies (2020) on the Standards of Proficiency in Social Care. She is author of Care and the Standards of Proficiency for Social Care (2020), bridging care scholarship and social care theory and practice in a critical assessment of the relational and emotional dynamics of care in the Standards. She is currently Programme Chair of the BA Social Care Practice.

Mary O’ Keeffe is a Tourism / Marketing Lecturer in the Department of Marketing, Tourism and Sport. Prior to joining IT Sligo, Mary worked with CERT providing education / training services to the Irish tourism sector. She has been a Guest Lecturer at the Florida University, Valencia, Spain, developing a new module on Experiential Tourism Marketing. 

Mary also supervises research dissertations at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Recent research interests include heritage tourism and social value creation, community tourism and service excellence in tourism settings. Mary was involved in hosting THRIC 2017 (Tourism and Hospitality Research Conference) at IT Sligo and is currently collaborating with fellow CUA (Connacht Ulster Alliance) partners on a PRTC proposal (Post Graduate Research Training Centre). Supporting regional development, the PRTC initiative, provides scope for further research, of regional and national interest, incorporating the major strands and strengths of heritage, tourism, and archaeology in Ireland’s West and North-West.

Cathy O’Kelly is an experienced professional and academic, based at The Institute of Technology, Sligo, Ireland, specialising in Management, Professional Skills and Entrepreneurship.

Having worked with a number of multi-national organisations, including being a member of the start-up team for Hewlett Packard Manufacturing (Irl). Ltd, Cathy is also an experienced entrepreneur. Cathy gained international experience working with the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, Morimura International Trading Company, New York City, USA., Bahrain Polytechnic, Kingdom of Bahrain and Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Cathy was a member of the Research and Development Team for the Irish Strategic Innovation Funded, Accelerating Campus Entrepreneurship (ACE) project. The aim of ACE was to develop an innovative approach to entrepreneurship education in Ireland, with a particular emphasis on students from non-business disciplines. Current research interests include advancing problem based learning approaches to education, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the use of technology in teaching.

JUAN MANUEL REAL-ESPINOSA is Assistant Lecturer in Spanish at the Sligo Institute of Technology. He has a BA in Hispanic Linguistics and Literature from the University of Seville, Spain, and an MA in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language from the University of La Rioja, Spain. Currently he is in his third year of the Ph.D. programme in Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, at UCD. Previously, he developed his teaching career as a Spanish teacher at the Instituto Cervantes in Istanbul, Cairo, and Dublin, at Fatih University in Istanbul and at University College Dublin. He was Head of the academic department of Instituto Cervantes in Porto Alegre from 2009 to 2016. He lectures on several Master’s programs for teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language and in the last fifteen years he has collaborated on different teacher training programs across Europe, America and Asia. His research interests include Mobile Assisted Language Learning, Second Language Acquisition, Teaching Grammar in Second Language Acquisition, Cognitive Linguistics, Cultural Factors in Second Language Learning, History of Spanish Language and History of Spanish Literature.

Maria Scanlon is a Lecturer in Accounting at IT Sligo having previously worked at DCU Business School. Maria qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers where she worked as an assistant manager in Audit Services and completed a three-month secondment at PwC Boston. Maria has lectured at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her main subject areas include audit, financial reporting and financial management.

Maria is currently studying for her PhD at the Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School UCD. Her research examines auditor-client interactions particularly in the context of recent EU Audit Reform legislation. Maria has presented her research at a number of international and national doctoral seminars and was the Irish Accounting and Finance Association (IAFA) nominee at the 2017 American Accounting Association (AAA) doctoral consortium.

Joanna Sweeney is an academic researcher and educator in the fields of Tourism & Marketing. Before joining IT Sligo in 2003, Joanna Sweeney previously worked in the tourism industry Internationally & in Ireland for over 10 years in the areas of aviation, events & hospitality. Joanna is an active researcher & has presented at numerous conferences including conferences in the field of tourism and has published numerous Peer reviewed research papers in areas such as voluntourism, agritourism, ethnomusicology, film induced tourism & event management which have appeared in academic publications & conferences proceedings. As an educator, Joanna has worked as a lecturer and tutor to third level students in a variety of subject areas including Adventure Tourism, Event Management, Marketing Ethics, Non Profit Marketing, Volunteer tourism, Tourism concepts & principles. While she was a student she was active in setting up an Organic Society & environmental society on campus. In addition to tourism, her areas of expertise include volunteer tourism, civic engagement & event project  management.

Dr. Leonard Taylor is a lecturer in law, with an LLM and PhD in human rights law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights. He researches on the human rights law, the history of human rights and political Catholicism.  Leonard was previously a lecturer at the Irish Centre for Human Rights. He has recently published a monograph with Cambridge University Press, titled Catholic Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights. Leonard has presented in a number of international conferences with a focus on the history of human rights and political Catholicism. He currently lectures in law, political theory, human rights and policy, and corporate social responsibility, in both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. 

Leonard has been a member of development teams for an undergraduate BA Business and Law degree (QQI level 8), a postgraduate MA in Professional Leadership (QQI level 9), and a postgraduate MA in Social Work (QQI level 9), where he developed modules in law, professional ethics, and corporate social responsibility. Leonard is also a membership of IT Sligo Research Ethics Committee. Leonard is currently an external examiner for Health and Social Care undergraduate programmes in the School of Science of Letterkenny Institute of Technology.

Leonard is a member of the Irish Association of Law Teachers (2020-2021), the Law and Society Association (LSA) (2020-2021), the International Consortium for Law and Religion Studies (ICLARS) (2020-2021), and the Law and Religion Scholars Network (LARSN) (2020-2021).