Laura Camfield

SFHEA, Professor


Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Areas of Expertise

Wellbeing; mixed methods in research and evaluation; poverty and resilience; children and young people; research ethics.


I have had 26 years international research experience using qualitative and quantitative methods and am an active participant in academic networks with a strong record of publication and presentation. My research interests include well-being in developing countries, with a particular emphasis on more subjective/ psychological aspects and developing measures that reflect local priorities; poverty research and evaluation using qualitative and mixed methods approaches; and children and young people. I have had experience applying anthropology to complex problems in interdisciplinary environments and ensuring the quality of qualitative research within large international projects. More recently, I have contributed to a number of evaluations and carried out training on a bespoke basis, for example an assignment in Uganda building the evaluation capacity of ministries, Parliament and civil society. I also teach on DEV’s short course and masters’ programme; I have taught on the main impact evaluation course since 2011 and started courses in gender research and non-experimental impact evaluation methods in 2013 and 2014 respectively. I was commissioned by the ESRC to review the methodologies used in the DFID-ESRC poverty alleviation grant scheme and advise Save the Children, UNICEF and BBC Global Media Action on research with mixed and longitudinal methods. The countries I work in most frequently are Ethiopia and Bangladesh; however, I have also conducted and managed research in Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan, Andhra Pradesh (India), Peru, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, and UK/Europe. 

Key Responsibilities

Head of School (2018-). SeNSS DTP International Development Pathway Chair (2015-). Vice President for Young Researchers and UK ExCo member, European Association of Research and Training Institutes (2014-). International Accreditation Council member (2014-, Chair 2020-). Co-opted member of the Development Studies Association Council (2014-, member since 2002). Associate editor, European Journal of Development Research (2012-18). Co-editor, Anthropology, Change and Development book series, Palgrave Macmillan (2012-). Senior College Member, ESRC Peer Review College (2010-) and Academic member, Committee for the revision of the ESRC Framework for Research Ethics (2014-16). Costa Foundation Trustee (2019-) 


Academic Background

I have a PhD in Social Anthropology from Goldsmith’s College, University of London and a Masters in the Anthropology of Development from SOAS. Before joining the School of International Development in 2010 I was a Research Fellow with Young Lives (2007-10),at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford, and prior to that with the Wellbeing in Developing Countries ESRC Research Group at Bath (2002-7). I maintained links with both groups through an ESRC grant with under the Comparative Cross-National Research Methods call (2010-15), and membership of the WeD Network.

I am the Vice-President for Young Researchers for the European Association of Research and Training Institutes and a co-opted member of the Development Studies Association Council since 2014, when I also co-convened the EADI/DSA multidimensional poverty and poverty dynamics group (2014-20). 

CV and Experience

Click here to download Laura's CV

Room: Zicer 1.21A
Ext:  1885

Key Research Interests

Currently, my two research foci are enhancing the quality of cross-national methodologies used to collect qualitative and quantitative data with children and young people in the global South (through Gender and Adolesence Global Evidence (GAGE) programme) and supporting rigorous qualitative and mixed methods evaluations. I am part of the gender and impact evaluation research groups at UEA and was co-organiser of the research network, 'As Well as the Subject: Additional Dimensions in Development Research Ethics'

Doctoral Research Students

I have supervised twelve doctoral students to completion, acted as external examiner for 16 students, and am currently supervising seven doctorates:

 – Current

  • Rachel Tough (2022) Life and liminality during COVID-19: An ethnography of pandemic in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (co-supervisor Anthony Pickles)
  • Khaled Esber (2021) Exploring the Evaluation Model Used by NGOs Operating remotely in Besieged Areas in Syria (co-supervisor Brendan Whitty)
  • Sabrina Ahmed (2021) Understanding counter-terrorism policies in global south: a case study of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh (co-supervisor Lee Jarvis)
  • Stephanie Shankland, 2016 ‘What is the role of social metrics in how aid institutions leverage private sector (MNC) resources for social impact and poverty reduction?’ (co-supervisor Maren Duvendack)
  • Lucas Sempe, 2017 ‘School-level inequality and learning achievement: Measurement, theory, and analysis based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)’ (co-supervisor Lucio Esposito)
  • Agathe Dupeyron, 2018 'Whether evaluation techniques from the field of international development can be used to evaluate the impacts of archaeology on local communities and development in an Andean context?' (co-supervisor George Lau)
  • Thais de Carvalho, 2018 ‘How is 'childhood' understood and experienced in a transnational ethnic context in Latin America?' (co-supervisor Caitlin Scott)

 – Completed

  • Stephen Porter, 2020-2021 ‘How Evaluation Affects Accountability Mechanisms’ (PhD by Publication, co-supervisor Maren Duvendack)
  • Claudia Linan Segura, 2015-2020 ‘Aspirations and expectations amongst Mexican Youth: The role of educational and labour policies in the transition out of high-school’ (co-supervisors Maria Abranches and Kate Jere)
  • Jomkwan Yothasamut, 2012-2016 ‘Understanding of socio-cultural factors that influence childhood obesity among pre-schoolers in Bangkok Metropolitan’ (co-supervisor Michael Pfeil)
  • Will Monteith, 2012-2016 ‘The composition and function of politics in a historical marketplace in Kampala, Uganda’ (co-supervisor Ben Jones)
  • Sonja Marzi, 2012-2016 ‘Young Colombians' Aspirations in Cartagena de Indias: Navigating Spaces and Futures’ (co-supervisor Esther Priyadarshini)
  • Carole White, 2011-2015 ‘Social resilience and place identity in the small-scale “Cromer Crab” fishery, North Norfolk, UK.’ (co-supervisor Catherine Locke)
  • Dabesaki Mac-Ikemenjima, 2010-2015 ‘Exploring a mixed methods approach towards the development of a new measure of quality of life of Nigerian students’ (co-supervisor Lucio Esposito)
  • Kate Orkin 2009-2015 ‘Non-schooling factors influencing children’s time allocation to work, school enrolment, grade attainment and test scores’ (co-supervisor Stefan Dercon)
  • Kaneta Choudhury (p/t) 2006-2015 ‘Quality of life in Bangladesh: an exploration of people's goals, values and resources’ (co-supervisor Joe Devine)
  • Hannah Hoechner 2010-2014 ‘The educational experience of Almajirai in Kano, Nigeria’ (co-supervisor Raufu Mustapha)
  • Bethlehem Tekola 2005-2009 ‘Making Sense of Childhood Poverty: Perceptions and Daily Experiences of Poor Children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’ (co-supervisor Chris Griffin)
  • Faith Martin 2004-2007 ‘Investigating What Is Important To Quality Of Life: Validating The “Global Person Generated Index” In Northeast Thailand’ (co-supervisor Karen Rodham)


Teaching Interests

I teach on the PhD Research Skills Workshop module, the mixed methods component of the impact evaluation short course, and continue to supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or