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Portrait of Dr Yvonne Downs Dr Yvonne Downs | 01484 472665


Position: Research Assistant - Accountancy and Finance
Qualifications: BA, MA, MA (Ed Res), PGCE, PhD
Research Group: Financial Ethics and Governance Research Group

Yvonne completed her PhD at Sheffield in 2010 and is currently research assistant to the Financial Ethics and Governance Research Group (FEGReG). She did a BA in German and French at the University of Sheffield, graduating with 1st Class Honours and then did a PGCE at the University of Exeter. She began her career teaching in secondary schools and sixth form colleges before obtaining funding from the Economic and Social Research Council to study for an MA in Women’s Studies at the University of Bradford. This had a profound influence on her thinking and on her self-designation as someone who does feminist research. After several years in the financial services industry she ran her own personal and professional development business and was also director of a company specialising in the training and development of managers. Receipt of funding from the University of Sheffield to study for an MA in Educational Research saw her return to education and she then began doctoral research in 2007, which was again funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Research & Scholarship

Yvonne’s overarching passion is for research and how it is implicated in setting the parameters of knowledge. She is also fundamentally curious about people and their everyday interactions with and negotiations of social systems and this drives the substantive foci of her research, her methodological allegiances and her use of particular conceptual and evaluative frameworks. Her doctoral research therefore interrogated the value of higher education through the prism of individual biographies. Her passion is for qualitative research, particularly narrative methodologies and specifically life history genres and their potential to bring fresh perspectives to understanding the dynamic between the personal, historical and the social. In 2013 she received funding from the Business School to investigate narratives of the lived experience of financial ethics and to evaluate methodologies for researching sensitive topics in financial ethics. This has led to a growing interest in ethnographic approaches. Other research interests centre on the Capability Approach and critical feminist perspectives.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Cowton, C. and Downs, Y. (2015) ‘Heated debates and cool analysis: thinking well about financial ethics’. In: The Philosophy, politics and economics of finance in the 21st century: From hubris to disgrace. London, UK: Routledge. . ISBN 978-0-415-85901-1


Swailes, S., Downs, Y. and Orr, K. (2014) ‘Conceptualising inclusive talent management: potential, possibilities and practicalities Human Resource Development International , 17 (5). ISSN 1367-8868

Mzembe, A. and Downs, Y. (2014) ‘Managerial and stakeholder perceptions of an Africa-based multinational mining company's corporate social responsibility(CSR)The Extractive Industries and Society . ISSN 2214-790X


Downs, Y (2013) Reading and Teaching Ivor Goodson (Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education) . New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 9781433120176

Downs, Y. and Swailes, S. (2013) ‘A Capability Approach to talent managementHuman Resource Development International , 16 (3), pp. 267-281. ISSN 1367-8868

Bampton, R., Cowton, C. and Downs, Y. (2013) ‘The e-interview in qualitative research’. In: Advancing social and business research methods with new media technology. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. pp. 329-343. ISBN 9781466639188


Hill, R., Downs, Y. and Drake, J. (2012) Getting Ready for New Governance Freedoms: A Survey of Further Education College Governance 2012 University of Huddersfield

Swailes, S. and Downs, Y. (2012) Problematising the ‘war for talent’: using Sen’s Capability Approach as a new framework for thinking about talent management Huddersfield, UK: University of Huddersfield (Unpublished)


Elmogla, M., Cowton, C. and Downs, Y. (2011) Corporate social reporting in a transition economy: the case of Libya Huddersfield, UK: Financial Ethics and Governance Research Group University of Huddersfield (Unpublished)

Taylor, C., Downs, Y., Chikwa, G. and Baker, R. (2011) ‘I did it my way: Voice, visuality and identity in doctoral students’ reflexive videonarratives on their doctoral research journeysInternational Journal of Research and Method in Education , 34 (2), pp. 193-210. ISSN 1743 727X

Downs, Y (2011) ‘Muddy rules for cyberspace: Musings of a she-blogger’. In: Gender and Education Conference (GEA) 2011, 27th-29th April 2011, University of Exeter, Exeter UK

Downs, Y (2011) ‘Ethics review: A students taleCreative Approaches to Research , 4 (1), pp. 33-43. ISSN 1835-9442

Downs, Y (2011) ‘Through the looking glass: publishing in peer reviewed academic journalsPower and Education , 3 (1), pp. 39-51. ISSN 1757-7438


Downs, Y (2010) ‘Phoenix rising? Minding the gaps? Learning lessons from intimate publics’. In: The 7th Biennial International Auto/Biography Association Conference , 28th June-1st July 2010, University of Sussex

Downs, Y (2010) ‘Transcription tales. Or: Let not love’s labour be lostInternational Journal of Research and Method in Education , 33 (1), pp. 101-112. ISSN 1743 727X


Downs, Y (2009) ‘Ethics and video-narrative: a personal account’. In: Faculty of Development and Society Conference, 19th June 2009, Sheffield Hallam University

Downs, Y (2009) ‘Ethics and narrative research - a contradiction in terms? ’. In: Narrative, memory and identities. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield . pp. 21-30. ISBN 9781862180734

Downs, Y. and Watts, M. (2009) ‘Fatal Attraction? Feminist life history research and the capability approach’. In: Capabilities Approach and Education Network, 25th June 2009, University of Cambridge

Downs, Y (2009) ‘It's a bit like giving birth. Middle-aged women graduates talk about their experience of higher education. ’. In: DPR8: Power and the Academy The 8th Discourse, Power, Resistance Conference, 6th - 8th April 2009, University of Manchester


Allen, A., Anderson, K., Bristol, L., Downs, Y., O'Neill, D., Watts, N. and Wu, Q. (2008) ‘Resisting the unethical in formalised ethics: Perspectives and experiences’. In: Power in the Academy. Stoke on Trent: Trentham Books. pp. 135-152. ISBN 9781858564470


2014- present Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Qualitative Research Journal
2013. A paper co-authored with Professor Stephen Swailes that explored talent management in a Capabilities framework was shortlisted for the Alan Moon Memorial Prize at the 14th International HRD Conference at the University of Brighton in 2013.
She is a member of the Human Development and Capability Association and an Affiliate Member of the Academy of Social Sciences.2012-present. Reviewer for Business Ethics: A European Review,
2012 . Invited panel member for the ‘Publishing in Journals’ thread of the Research Festival of the National Centre for Research Methods. This was voted one of the top ten presentations of the festival which led to her being invited again in 2014.2011. Yvonne was invited to write about the life and work of Ivor Goodson, one of the foremost contributors to the study of education and a leading proponent of  life history research, and this was published in 2013.
2010- present. Reviewer the International Journal of Research and Method in Education and for Power and Education.

Last updated Thursday 6 March 2014
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