Dr Caroline Cupit

Research Associate
Health Sciences
University of Leicester
George Davies CentreCaroline Cupit 2019
University Road
Leicester, LE1 7RH

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3720
Email: caroline.cupit@leicester.ac.uk


Caroline Cupit is a social scientist and a graduate of the University of Reading (BSc) and the University of Leicester (MRes, PhD). She is currently supported by a Mildred Blaxter Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness and is exploring a growing movement to promote low-carbohydrate diets in healthcare practice. Caroline has experience in the use of ethnographic and qualitative interview methods to support quality improvement, and to study the social organisation of healthcare settings. Her PhD (awarded December 2018) was funded through The Health Foundation’s Improvement Science awards, and was an institutional ethnography of cardiovascular disease prevention in English general practice.

Caroline is interested in the practical and theoretical issues involved in using ethnographic methods for studying healthcare and healthcare improvement. In particular, she has expertise in institutional ethnography (Smith, 1987Campbell and Gregor, 2002Smith, 2005). In her doctoral research, she took a patient standpoint to explore problematic experiences in preventative care, exploring the ways in which policy, guidelines, incentives and other institutional structures shape frontline care practices. She is active in promoting the use of institutional ethnographic methods to support healthcare improvement, and in the international network of researchers using institutional ethnography. In 2017, Caroline organised a series of seminars on ethnographic approaches to study healthcare and healthcare improvement which became the foundation for a new Ethnography Summer School at the University of Leicester.

Caroline’s work has particularly highlighted aspects of care which may be overlooked within the contemporary organisation of healthcare services, but which are important to patients — for example, continuity, and good communication practices. She has an interest in how problems such as over-diagnosis and over-treatment arise in clinical practice, and exploring how these may coexist with under-treatment or other deficits in care. She is keen to support policymakers, managers and practitioners to develop care practices which are sensitive to the individual needs and preferences of patients.

Prior to undertaking academic research, Caroline worked on service improvement projects in local commissioning and for the regional Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC). Her previous career in commercial recruitment and welfare-to work sectors influenced her appreciation of the social context in which healthcare services are provided — how this impacts on patients’ needs and their experience of accessing care.


  1. Cupit, C., Rankin, J., Armstrong, N., et al. (2019) Overruling uncertainty about preventative medications: the social organisation of healthcare professionals’ knowledge and practices. Sociology of Health & Illness, 42 (S1). doi:10.1111/1467-9566.12998.

  2. Cupit, C. (2018) An ethnographic study of cardiovascular disease prevention: the social organisation of measures, knowledge, interventions and tensions in English general practice. PhD Thesis, University of Leicester. Available at: https://lra.le.ac.uk/handle/2381/43097

  3. Cupit, C. (2018) Cardiovascular disease prevention in English general practice: key findings for policymakers from interviews, observations, and policy analysis. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329630162
  4. Cupit, C. (2019) What is “good care”? Distinguishing between concepts and practices. Rethinking Medicine. Available at: http://www.rethinkingmedicine.co.uk/1/post/2019/02/what-is-good-care-distinguishing-between-concepts-and-practices.html
  5. Cupit, C., Mackintosh, N. and Armstrong, N. (2018) Using ethnography to study improving healthcare: reflections on the ‘ethnographic’ label. BMJ Qual Saf, p. bmjqs-2017-007599. doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2017-007599.






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