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Anti-Bullying Centre

Research Projects

Anyone who wishes to undertake postgraduate research at the Anti-Bullying Centre is welcome to contact the centre at 01 884 2036 or email geraldine.kiernan@dcu.ie

Current Research Projects


Research Students

Mr. Liam Challenor B.Sc, M.Sc

Ms. Helena Murphy  BSC (Government of Ireland Post-Graduate Scholar)

Ms. Paloma Viejo Otero (DCU Scholar 2014-2018)

Ida Risanger Sjursø

Ms. Catherine Stapleton  BSc GDEd (Government of Ireland Post-Graduate Scholar 2013-2015)

Mr. Allan Stevenson  BSc

Ms Jacqueline Canonaco M.S. (Visiting Doctoral Student)

Ms Maria del Mar Roman (Visiting Doctoral Student)

Mr Sebastian Moncaleano (Visiting student from Boston College)

Research Students Profiles

Liam Challenor BSc MSc 

Cyberbullying of teachers by pupils in Ireland

The cyberbullying of teachers by their pupils has not been researched as widely as peer bullying or cyberbullying. The cyberbullying of teachers by pupils is defined as “the creation of digital texts, images and recordings that portray the teacher in ways that are demeaning and/or ridicule the teacher, which are then transmitted electronically to others" (Kyriacou & Zuin, 2015, p.267). This research attempts to provide a diverse understanding of the online lives of teachers in secondary schools. Some of the variables for examination include how teachers self-regulate their profiles on social media, the security and privacy prevention tools used and their attitudes towards communicating with students online.  Negative physical and mental health effects including severe stress, fear for personal safety, teacher and pupil performance have been identified as a result from pupils bullying and cyberbullying teachers, this is an additional area of examination. This research investigates the types of cyberbullying that teachers experience and how this influences them in their roles as teachers within their school environment. This research utilises a mixed methods design to provide further insight into teacher cyber victimisation to develop support structures for teachers and schools. 

Supervisor: Dr. James O'Higgins Norman and Dr. Irene Connolly 
Funded by: Department of Education and Skills/National Action Plan on Bullying

Helena Murphy BSc 

Evaluating the Impact of Teacher Empathy on School Culture and Bullying: The Case of a DEIS Boys Single Sex Primary School

The purpose of this research is to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between the impact of teacher empathy on school culture and bullying in a primary school.  There will be discussion on a bullying definition and the effects of bullying behaviour, as well as an examination of the literature from National and International experts on bullying.  Their individual programmes and approaches to countering bullying behaviour will be considered in relation to Bandura’s ‘Social Learning Theory’ (Bandura 1937).  The Government action plan for Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) will be discussed in relation to Bourdieu’s theory of ‘Cultural Capital’ (Bourdieu 1979) as it relates to school culture and bullying.  Other literature in the field will also be explored to establish which prevention and intervention strategies best serve to tackle bullying incidents through schools serving children from areas experiencing social and economic inequalities.  

The importance of the teacher’s role in cultivating preventative anti-bullying strategies, academic success and pupils’ holistic development by promoting prosocial values and an ethos of respect and equality in the classroom will also be discussed, through modelling behaviours of empathy and caring in engaging with pupils along with the importance of building pupil’s individual resilience to assist with dealing with victimisation.  I will undertake my research in a case study school using surveys, observation and interviews with staff and pupils. 


Paloma Viejo Otero

Paloma's is undertaking PhD research that is concerned with the rise of race hate speech in social media. It assumes a comparative perspective, looking at three countries, Greece, Ireland and Spain, to examine the differences and similarities in the creation, circulation and regulation of racist materials. It is focusing in the first instance in mapping and tracing organized racist and extreme right wing groups such as the Golden Dawn in Greece, Alianza Nacional in Spain, and Phoenix Rising in Ireland, and subsequently tracing the trajectories of ad hoc and random racist contents, analyzing their discourses, the contexts of their production, their movement across the web and the attempts (if any) to control and limit these. The aim of the research is to understand the conditions of possibility for the creation and circulation of racist materials in online environments, and the specific articulations and assemblages of technological platforms, practices, racism and race based exclusion. 
Supervisor: Dr. Eugenia Siapera
Funded by: DCU Career Enhancement Fund

Ida Risanger Sjurso

Ida is a visiting doctoral student from the Centre for Learning Environment and Behaviour at the University of Stavanger in Norway where is is registered on the PhD programme. Her research is focused on a qualitative comparison of traditional and cyberbullying. Supervisors: Prof. Erling Georg Roland (Norway) and Dr James O'Higgins Norman (Ireland). Funded by : Government of Norway and EU Erasmus+

Jacqueline Canonaco, M.S. (Visting Doctoral Student) 

Jacqueline is a doctoral candidate in School Psychology at the University of Wisconsin (USA). She is spending this year as a visiting doctoral student at the ABC in order to conduct research for her dissertation prior to returning back to the states for her final stage of training--a year-long internship in a clinical setting.Her research involves an international evaluation of a one-on-one forgiveness curriculum for students who bully. This project uses multiple baseline design to evaluate the efficacy of a manualized intervention for students who bully others. Through the intervention, children will learn about empathy and inherent worth, and work to utilise their understanding of these two concepts to forgive someone who has previously hurt them. This type of intervention works to decrease the level of anger that is pent up inside some students who bully, thereby decreasing the frequency of their aggressive externalising behaviours. 

Maria del Mar Roman (Visiting Doctoral Student) 

Maria is visiting from the University of Murcia, Spain. She has a degree in Social Education and a Master's Degree in Educational Technology: E-learning and Knowledge Management. Her research is concerned with the PLE (Personal Learning Environment) of the students in Spanish universities. The research takes as its starting point the CAPPLE project "Competences for lifelong learning based on the use of PLEs: analysis of future professionals and proposals for improvement". This project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.


Kate Stapleton BSc. Agr, GDEd

Kate is undertaking a Masters by research focused on An Evaluation of Students Religions and the School Experiences of Non Catholic Students in Four Post-Primary Schools in Munster.
Supervisor: Dr. James O'Higgins Norman
Funded by: Irish Research Council


Previous Research Projects



Victor Gonzalez Calatayud

Olga Gómez Ortis

Gerard Farrelly

Gerard Harrington


Staff assocciated with ABC have been involved with the following projects

Research Students Profiles

Victor Gonzalez Calatayud (completed 2016)

Victor was a visiting student from the University of Murcia in Spain. His research focuses on the prevalence of bullying and cyberbullying in Murcia. He is also interested in how teachers perceive and respond to this problem. His research aims to increase awareness of cyberbullying so that the government and schools can implement appropriate solutions to support young people copying with cyberbullying. Supervisors: Prof. Maria Paz Prendes Espinosa and Dr James O' Higgins Norman. Funded by: University of Murcia, Spain 

Olga Gómez Ortis (Completed 2015)

Olga is a visiting doctoral student from the University of Cordoba in Spain where she is registered on a PhD programme. She is working from a quantitative perspective on the protective factors in bullying involvement: individuals, contextual and family related factors. 
Supervisor: Dr.Rosario Ortega-Ruiz (Spain) and Dr. James O'Higgins Norman (Ireland). 
Funded by: Government of Spain.

Gerard Farrelly BEd Med (completed 2014)

Gerard is currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education at St. Patrick's College and is studying the responsibility of senior management teams in primary schools in relation to homophobic bullying.
Supervisors: Dr. Michael O'Leary and Dr. James O'Higgins Norman
Funded by: Private.

Gerard Harrington BA (Completed 2013)

Gerard is a student on the MA in Management at All Hallows College. His research is concerned with how to manage negative messages from social media sites for young males with a vulnerability to suicidal ideation.
Supervisor: Dr. James O'Higgins Norman
Funded by: Private.