We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Mrs Jennifer Riley, BA (Hons) Dunelm; MA, Lancaster

PhD student & Teaching Assistant in the Department of Theology and Religion

Contact Mrs Jennifer Riley (email at

Research Interests

My PhD explores how religion, spirituality and medicine interact in the lives of healthcare practitioners in the UK. While research at the interface of religion and medicine is thriving, healthcare practitioners have much more rarely been the subject of robust qualitative research than have their patients. I am particularly interested in the question of religious and spiritual change at the level of the individual: what effect does working in healthcare have upon people's religious and/or spiritual beliefs, practices, belongings? How does working within a so-called 'medical worldview' affect one's personal 'worldview'?

I am using mixed qualitative methods to collect stories from healthcare practitioners in a variety of fields and at different career stages, representing many different faiths as well as none, and including those who consider themselves 'spiritual but not religious.' 

In placing individuals at the heart of my data collection and analysis, I draw heavily on the 'Lived Religion' framework with a narrative emphasis. As such, this work has potential to contribute to much wider research on the reality of religion and spirituality in day-to-day life as it interacts with work and emotion. 

More widely, my research interests lie int the sociology and anthropology of contemporary Christianity, religion in contemporary Britain, the contemporary church, lived religion, and methodological issues in the social scientific study of religion.