Dr Sara Louise Wheeler

BA PhD Liverpool

Dr Sara Louise Wheeler
Lecturer in Social Policy (Welsh medium)
01248 388223
Room 204, Neuadd Ogwen


I took up my current post as a lecturer in September 2015, having previously joined the school of social sciences as a researcher on a WISERD civil society project. My current research includes a project with Public Health Wales, exploring the connections between a sense of cultural belonging and health. Other research interests include explorations of Deaf identities, Welsh identities, onomastics (names and naming), and the use of auto/biographical methodologies to explore lived experiences. I am a member of the British Sociological Association’s Auto/ Biography study group and I regularly present at their biannual conferences.

Before coming to work at Bangor University, I have previously held positions at the universities of Chester, Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores. I am also currently a Visiting Research Fellow at Glyndŵr University. My PhD research explored doctor-patient communication and medically unexplained symptoms in the primary care milieu. I have also previously worked on a variety of research projects in the sphere of health and illness, including: habilitation for children and young people with a vision impairment; a feasibility study of CAM therapies for cancer-related insomnia; effective management of type-1 diabetes in adolescents; and behavioural epidemiology and the management of the night-time economy.

Prior to my career in academia I worked in the field of equality and diversity and also a variety of childcare and education-related roles in bilingual settings, including Catalonia and the Basque country. I also worked for nine years as an Independent Public Appointments Assessor for the Welsh Government. I therefore have a variety of research interests relating to health, disability, minority languages, devolution, and equality and diversity.

I am originally from Wrecsam and I am a fluent Welsh speaker. I am involved in a variety of civic participation activities in and around my home town and I have a plethora of related research interests. I also have a particular interest in the dialect and historical context of my paternal family’s village of Rhosllannerchrugog and I am currently conducting some research relating to this. I am also from a Deafhearing family and my civic participation interests encompass this phenomenon.

I live in a small village in the Wirral peninsular and many of my personal interests relate to rural life and wildlife.


I am currently working on a project with Public Health Wales, exploring the connections between a sense of cultural belonging and health. Drawing on international research, we will be exploring this phenomenon in a Welsh context, including issues relating to the Welsh language and cultural identity. Included in this research will be an appreciation of Welsh community and cooperative initiatives.

My other current research interests are in the following fields:

  1. Qualitative research: epistemological anarchism, methodological pluralism, complexity theory & bricolage; reflexivity; writing as a method of enquiry; life writing; autoethnography, duoethnography, netnography and ethnography; performative social science; poetics; detailed and multiple case studies; the narrative approach; conversation analysis and discourse analysis; transdisciplinarity. 
  2. Identity, belonging, community, nationalism, devolution, language and culture, every-day life, particularly in the Welsh context and in relation to multicultural extended families. 
  3. Health and illness, particularly: mental health, resilience, burn out, psychosocial issues, somatisation and well-being; addiction, dependence and recreational use of alcohol and other substances; medical education; special educational needs and disability; autism and dyslexia; equality and diversity. 
  4. Deaf studies, including: Deafhearing family life; Deafhood; signed languages, BSL and sign-singing (sign language to music); research relating to identity/ ethnicity of Deaf communities worldwide; plural identity research in relation to Deaf community, especially Deaf Welsh Identity; research relating to particular conditions such as tinnitus, Waardenburg syndrome and varying degrees of associated hearing loss; assistive technologies and innovation; genetic counselling. 
  5. Navigation of the early career trajectory and exploration of these experiences and narratives using a variety of reflexive approaches.


(Pre-2009: published under my maiden name Sara Edwards; post-2009: Sara Louise Wheeler):


Wheeler, S. L. (2017) ‘Constructing a Sociological Biography: a Surprisingly Complex Autobiographical Practice’, The Qualitative Report, 22(2).

Hogg, K., Thetford, C., Wheeler, S. L., York, S., Moxon, R. and Robinson, J. (2017) ‘Habilitation provision for children and young people with vision impairment in the United Kingdom: A lack of clarity leading to inconsistencies’, British Journal of Visual Impairment, 35(1), pp. 44–54.

Wheeler, S. L. (2016). Two Short “As” and a Rolling “R”: Autoethnographic Reflections on a “Difficult” Name. SAGE Open, 1–11. http://doi.org/10.1177/2158244016658935

Hughes, J. G., Towler, P., Storey, L., Wheeler, S. L., & Molassiotis, A. (2015). A feasibility study of auricular therapy and self-administered acupressure for insomnia following cancer treatment. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 7, 623–627. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.eujim.2015.08.003

Wheeler, S. L., & Hopwood, A. G. (2015). Tinnitus: A Deafhearing Phenomenon. Qualitative Inquiry, 21(2), 173–174. http://doi.org/10.1177/1077800414542700

Cooper, H., Spencer, J., Lancaster, Gillian, A., Titman, A., Johnson, M., Wheeler, S. L., … Lwin, R. (2014). Development and psychometric testing of the online Adolescent Diabetes Needs Assessment Tool (ADNAT). Journal of Advanced Nursing, 70(2), 454–468. http://doi.org/10.1111/jan.12235

Sumnall, H. R., Woolfall, K., Edwards, S., Cole, J. C., & Beynon, C. M. (2008). Use, function, and subjective experiences of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 92(1-3), 286–90. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2007.07.009

Conference or workshop item

Wheeler, S.L. (2016) Pink hearing aids and purple shampoo: positive presentations of a biographical ‘disruption’. In: British Sociological Association Auto/ Biography Silver Jubilee Summer Conference, Wolfston College Oxford, UK, July 15-17, 2016.

Wheeler, S.L. (2016) Tafodiaith Rhosllannerchrugog: koine dialect of a Welsh mining village and experiences of negative prestige. In: Sociolinguistics Symposium 21, University of Murcia, Spain, June 15-18, 2016.

Wheeler, S.L. and Wrexham’s Singing Hands (2016) Sign-singing: a Deafhearing musical experience (poster and performance). In: International Conference on Bilingualism in Education, Bangor University, UK, June 10-12, 2016.

Wheeler, S.L. and Law, J. (2016) Developing parallel provision in a minority language with equal status: Welsh-medium provision as a case study. In: International Conference on Bilingualism in Education, Bangor University, UK, June 10-12, 2016.


Wheeler, S.L. (2015). Researcher as bricoleuse rather than bricoleur: a feminizing corrective research note. Women & Language http://www.womenandlanguage.org/category/research/

Wheeler, S.L. (2015). Life on the fringes: The early-career sociologist in the health care milieu. Centre for Imaginative Ethnography, June 9 http://imaginativeethnography.org/imaginings/literary-experiments-in-ethnography/a-june-9-sara-wheeler/

Wheeler, S.L. (2014) In Celebration of Deafhood. Sociology, 48 (4), pp.838-44 (book review essay) http://soc.sagepub.com/content/48/4/838.extract

Wheeler, S.L. (2014) Constructing a sociological career: An eternally complex autobiographical practice. The Sociological Imagination, June 16. http://sociologicalimagination.org/archives/15535

Thetford, C., Wheeler, S, L. & Robinson, J., 2014. Habilitation services for children and young people with vision impairment in the UK : an exploratory study. University of Liverpool (report for the funder)

Wheeler, S, L. 2013. Signs of Hope: Deafhearing family life, Donna west Cambridge Scholars Publishing: September 2013, Sociology of Health and Illness (Book review). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-9566.12086/abstract

Wheeler, S.L., 2011. The impact of familiarity on doctor-patient interaction during primary care consultations pertaining to Medically Unexplained Symptoms. University of Liverpool. (Thesis) 

Beynon, C., Edwards, S., Morleo, M., Anderson, Z., and McVeigh, J.  2005. Drink Spiking Report. Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University. http://www.cph.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/drink-spiking-report.pdf

Wheeler, S.L. (2009 – ongoing). Synfyfyrion Llenyddol (‘literary musings’ Welsh-medium column in a local community newspaper for the Wrecsam area). Y Clawdd. https://saralouisewheeler.wordpress.com/category/erthyglau-articles/y-clawdd/synfyfyrion-llenyddol-literary-musings/


Master’s by research: Melen Hâf Lloyd – an auto/ethnographic project exploring lived experiences of cochlear implants.

I also supervise undergraduate dissertation students in the second and third year of study.


SCP-1006: Materion Iechyd & Lles (Year 1, semester 1&2, 20 credits)

SCU-1001: Ymchwil Cymdeithasol (Year 1, semester 1&2, 20 credits)

SCU-2001: Dulliau Ymchwil (Year 2, semester 1, 20 credits)

SCS-2011: Cymdeithaseg Iechyd (Year 2, semester 2, 20 credits)

Other activities

Professional membership      
2014 - current   BSA Auto/ Biography study group
2002 - current   British Sociological Association (BSA)

Civic participation:
2012 - current   Sign-singing member, Wrexham singing hands
2009 - current   Committee member & columnist, Y Clawdd, Wrecsam                                       
2010 - 2011       Literature committee member, Welsh National Eisteddfod, Wrecsam
2002 - 2004       Volunteer, Sahir House (Multicultural HIV support & information centre)

Academic editorial:       
2006 - 2010      Editorial Team Member, Medical Sociology Online Journal                         
2002 - 2007      Editorial Board Member, ‘Network’, British Sociological Association