Professor Carolyn Tarrant

Carolyn Tarrant 2019

Group Lead of SAPPHIRE

Social Science Applied to Healthcare Improvement Research (SAPPHIRE) Group

Health Sciences
University of Leicester
George Davies Centre
University Road
Leicester, LE1 7RH

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3217

Personal details

I am Professor and research group lead of the Social Science Applied to Healthcare Improvement Research (SAPPHIRE) Group, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester. I am a social scientist with expertise in qualitative methods, including ethnographic methods in applied healthcare research. I am an investigator on several projects funded thorough the Joint Research Councils UK Theme of Behaviour Change and Antimicrobial Resistance. This includes a recent study to explore approaches to reducing broad-spectrum antibiotic use in acute medical patients internationally, and a study of the use of behaviour change theory to design interventions to reduce antibiotic prescribing across the healthcare economy in the UK. I have conducted research into the implementation of improvement programmes for healthcare associated infections and sepsis, including a qualitative study of the Matching Michigan programme to reduce central line infections in ICUs (Funded by the Health Foundation), and an evaluation of the Scottish Patient Safety Sepsis VTE Collaborative (funded by Healthcare Improvement Scotland). I lead qualitative workpackages across a number of large grants funded through the NIHR, including multi-site ethnographic research on patient experience and reflective learning in acute care (PEARL study). I have also studied the implications of measurement and performance management for quality improvement, and published a number of papers on this topic. I am Assistant Editor for the journals BMJ Quality & Safety, and the Journal of Hospital Infection. I am lead postgraduate tutor for the Department of Health Sciences.

External activities

  • Charted psychologist, BPS (2008)
  • Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy (2017)
  • Associate Editor for the journals BMJ Quality & Safety and Journal of Hospital Infection


  • Psychology in medicine
  • Qualitative methods



  • Tarrant C, Krockow EM, Nakkawita WMID, Bolscher M, Colman AM, Chattoe-Brown E, Perera N, Mehtar S, Jenkins DR. Moral and contextual dimensions of "inappropriate" antibiotic prescribing in secondary care: a three-country interview study. Frontiers in Sociology 2020;5(7).

  • Shallcross L, Lorencatto F, Fuller C, Tarrant C, West J, Traina R, Smith C, Forbes G, Crayton E, Rockenschaub P, Dutey-Magni P, Richardson E, Fragaszy E, Michie S, Hayward A on behalf of the PASS research group. An interdisciplinary mixed-methods approach to developing antimicrobial stewardship interventions: Protocol for the Preserving Antibiotics through Safe Stewardship (PASS) Research Programme. Wellcome Open Research 2020;5(8):8. https://doi/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15554.1















PhD thesis


My research interests include the application of social science to the problems of antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections, the implementation of patient safety interventions, patient involvement in the quality and safety of healthcare, and practical and ethical challenges in ethnographic research.

Current projects

  1. Antimicrobial resistance as a social dilemma: Approaches to reducing broad-spectrum antibiotic use in acute medical patients internationally.
    Carolyn Tarrant, Andrew Colman, Edmund Chattoe-Brown, David Jenkins, Nelun Perera, Shaheen Mehta 
    ESRC, Jan 2017- Dec 2019
  2. How can a successful Maternity Safety Improvement Programme be scaled?
    Mary Dixon-Woods, Tim Draycott, Carolyn Tarrant 
    The Health Foundation, 2017-2019
  3. Patient Experience And Reflective Learning (PEARL)
    Julian Bion et al. 
    NIHR, 2016-2019
  4. Preserving Antibiotics through Safe Stewardship (PASS)
    Andrew Hayward (UCL), Susan Michie (UCL) et al
    ESRC / joint research councils, 2017-2020
  5. Improving antibiotic usage and post-operative outcomes along the surgical pathway (ASPIRES)
    Alison Holmes (Imperial College) et al
    ESRC / joint research councils, 2017-2021

Previous projects

  • Enhanced Peri-Operative Care for High-risk patients (EPOCH) Trial. A stepped wedge randomised cluster trial of an intervention to improve quality of care for patients undergoing emergency laparotomy
    Miqdad Asaria, Julian Bion, David Cromwell, Omar Faiz, Alan Girling, Mike Grocott, Peter Holt, Sally Kerry, Richard Lilford, Rupert Pearse, Carol Peden, Ravi Mahajan, Graham Martin, Gerry Richardson, Kate Rivett, Carolyn Tarrant, Tim Stephens. 
  • Safety Thermometer in useEvaluation of NHS Safety Thermometer data collection and use
    Natalie Armstrong, Mary Dixon-Woods, Carolyn Tarrant. 
    Salford Royal NHS
  • Evaluation of the Sepsis / VTE (venous thromboembolism) Collaborative
    Carolyn Tarrant, Graham Martin, Julian Bion. 
    Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Evaluation of Safer Clinical Systems
    Mary Dixon-Woods, Graham Martin, Carolyn Tarrant, Julian Bion, Armstrong Institute. 
    The Health Foundation
  • ‘Why is Southmead safe’ - a qualitative study exploring how and why the PROMPT training programme works at Southmead, Bristol
  • An evaluation of the feasibility of using The Patient Activation Measure in NHS primary care in England
    N Armstrong, C Tarrant, G Martin and B Manktelow. 
    The Health Foundation / NHS England
  • Commercial use of tissue samples in the 1958 birth cohort: a study of participants' views.  
    Mary Dixon-Woods, Carolyn Tarrant, Paul Burton, Madeleine Murtagh, Susan Wallace, Graeme Laurie. 
    MRC & Wellcome Trust
  • An ethnographic study of efforts to reduce central venous catheter blood stream infections in intensive care units in England (Dixon-Woods M, Tarrant C, Lilford R, Bion J)
  • Responsiveness of primary care services: development of a patient-report measure (Tarrant C, Baker R, Boulton M, Freeman G, Box G, Jackson P)
  • The experience of medical students classified as unsatisfactory at finals (Patel R, Kitchen R, Briggs J, Bonas S, Tarrant C, Hastings A)
  • Exploration of feedback of results to participants of the ORACLE Children’s Study (Kenyon S, Dixon-Woods M, Jackson C, Tarrant C).
  • Further analysis of cancer trial research ethics committee applications: improving quality in patient information sheets (Dixon-Woods M, Tarrant C, Angell E).


Postgraduate supervision (1st supervisor)

  • Tom Furniss - The impact of environment and routines on interactions with patients and relatives in acute care settings: a video-reflexive ethnography

Share this page: