Dr Avril Nicoll
Dr Avril Nicoll

Dr Avril Nicoll

PhD, MRes

Research Fellow


Health Services Research Unit
University of Aberdeen
2nd Floor, Health Sciences Building
AB25 2ZD


I joined HSRU on 1st March 2020 as a Research Fellow on the VOICES study, which aims to improve healthcare for people with systemic vasculitis. We are using qualitative methods to understand how patient and staff experience of care varies. I am a qualitative social science researcher curious about how patients and staff together bring about practice change. This interest comes from my clinical background in speech and language therapy, 14 years as publisher and editor of Speech & Language Therapy in Practice magazine, and extensive experience as a user representative in maternity services. I also have a personal interest in care for people with rare autoimmune disease.


  • PhD Practice change  
    2017 - University of Stirling 
  • MRes Health Research 
    2012 - University of Stirling 
  • BSc (Hons) Speech Pathology & Therapeutics 
    1988 - University of Glasgow 

Prizes and Awards

Fellowship of the Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists (2011)


Research Overview

Qualitative inquiry; the work involved in practice change / implementation; intervention description; patient and staff experience of care

Research Areas

Applied Health Sciences

Research Specialisms

  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Healthcare Science

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

I am working with Professor Louise Locock and patient partners on the qualitative aspect of a Versus Arthritis study led by Dr Rosemary Hollick. My role in VOICES (Vasculitis Outcomes In relation to Care ExperienceS) includes carrying out interviews for Healthtalk.org with people who have systemic vasculitis, a group of rare autoimmune diseases. I am also contributing to organisational case studies, using qualitative methods to understand variation in care. 

I completed my PhD on practice change in speech and language therapy in 2018. My previous research contracts have covered a variety of topics and methods. Most recently I was a researcher on the PD COMM trial of speech and language therapy interventions for people with Parkinson's, where my role included using case notes to describe the trial interventions.

Past Research


Researcher, PD COMM trial, Glasgow Caledonian University

Research Fellow, 'Frameworks to maximise effective intervention sustainability on the ward - a systematic review', University of Stirling

Research Assistant, 'Challenges and opportunities for career progression of staff employed by the University of Stirling undertaking part-time research doctorates', University of Stirling

Research Assistant, 'Improving quality of life and swallowing function in patients with head and neck cancer. Development and feasibility of a Swallowing Intervention Package (SiP)', University of Stirling

Research Assistant, IPEC (Improving Patient Experience of Care) study, University of Dundee

Research Assistant, Process Evaluation of Alcohol Brief Interventions in Wider Settings, University of Stirling


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