Dr Christel McMullan MA, PhD

Dr Christel McMullan

Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

Murray Learning Centre
Institute of Applied Health Research
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Christel is a Qualitative Research Fellow in the Centre for Patient-Reported Outcomes Research in the Institute of Applied Health Research. Her main interests lie in electronic Patient Reported Outcomes and using Qualitative Research to explore and understand patients’ experiences of disease and trial processes.

She is currently leading/working on a range of projects around using electronic Patient Reported Outcomes Measures (ePROMs).

She is also the Early Career Research Academic Group (ECRAG) chair and the IAHR representative on the Postdoc/Early Researcher Career Development and Training (PERCAT).


  • Fellow of Advanced Higher Education, 2021
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE), University of Birmingham, 2021 (Distinction)
  • PhD in Education, Queen’s University Belfast, 2003
  • MA in Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Ulster, 1998
  • Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies (MA) Anglo-Irish Studies, Université de Caen, France, 1997
  • Maitrise (PgDip) Anglo-Irish Studies, Université de Caen, France, 1996
  • Licence (BA Hons) English Language, Literature & History, Université de Caen, France, 1995


Christel obtained a first class degree (‘Licence’ (= BA Hons) in English Literature and History in the University of Caen (Normandy, France) and the Ulster University. She then focused on Irish/Northern Irish history and obtained an MA in Peace & Conflict Studies from the Ulster University. She pursued this interest in Northern Irish history and cross-community relations through her PhD (Queen’s University Belfast, 2003), which consisted of an ethnographic study of an integrated school in Belfast. Following her PhD, she gained experience in Qualitative Research in various areas (Education, Communication, Management, and Nursing) both in Queen’s University Belfast and the Ulster University (Northern Ireland).

Since moving to the Institute of Applied Health Research in the University of Birmingham in 2014, she has focused a lot of her work towards electronic Patient Reported Outcomes and using Qualitative Research in RCTs.

In addition to her research work, Christel is also teaching on several courses/modules. She is also actively involved in supervising PhD students and mentoring junior colleagues on the PGCHE course.

Christel's LinkedIn Profile


Postgraduate supervision

Christel has co-supervised one doctoral research students to completion and is currently supervising three others. Their projects, using qualitative and mixed-methods, focus on ePROs in renal care and real-world evidence.

Christel is interested in supervising further doctoral research students who are planning to use qualitative within their research. If you are interested in studying any of these subject areas please contact Christel directly, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email mds-gradschool@contacts.bham.ac.uk


Christel’s main research interest is Qualitative Research, more specifically within Patient-Reported Outcomes and RCTs.

Her current projects include:

The PRiORiTy study (Patient Reported Outcomes Research in Trauma) (CI) - Developing a pathway for the electronic capture of PROMs/PREMs for inclusion within the SRMRC clinical information platform for use in research and routine and ongoing clinical care (NIHR SRMRC).

The CIS Oncology study (CI) - to assess the usability of an ePRO platform with individuals with lived experience of cancer (CIS Oncology).

The TLC study (Therapies for Long COVID in non-hospitalised individuals) - to identify which treatments are most likely to benefit people with particular symptoms of Long COVID and test supportive treatments to improve their quality of life (NIHR UKRI).

The PROmics study – to develop an electronic capture system to assess quality of life and symptoms, both at the point of receiving therapy and on a longer-term basis following discharge from hospital (NIHR UKRI).

Previous projects include:

STOP-COLITIS – NIHR Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation funded trial of faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in achieving and maintaining remission for patients with ulcerative colitis.  The study includes qualitative research with patients and clinicians that will inform the selection of an optimal route of administration of the transplantation.

ACCURE-UK – NIHR Research for Patient Benefit funded feasibility study for a trial of appendicectomy in ulcerative colitis.  Qualitative research has gathered data on the acceptability of this surgical intervention and the related clinical trial and has explored how patients with ulcerative colitis attempt to adapt to life with the disease, and in turn how medical and surgical therapies play a role in this.

The Bluebelle study – NIHR Health Technology Assessment funded feasibility study for a trial of post-surgical wound dressing types to prevent surgical site infection.  This study is a collaboration with researchers at Bristol University that has included a substantive qualitative component.


Adriano A, Thompson DM, McMullan C, Price M, Moore D, Booth L, Mathers J, Peer Support in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): A Systematic Review, https://assets.researchsquare.com/files/rs-1236073/v1/3959acd6-7e2a-4866-96db-7e9d2485c040.pdf?c=1652809068, pre-print.

Subramanian A et al. (McMullan C – co-author) Assessment of 115 symptoms for Long COVID (post-COVID-19 condition) and their risk factors in non-hospitalised individuals: a retrospective matched cohort study in UK primary care, Nature Medicine, in press.

Calvert MJ et al. (McMullan C – co-author) Patient reported outcome assessment must be inclusive and equitable, Nature Medicine, 28, 1020-1024

Hughes SE, Haroon S, Subramanian A, McMullan C, Aiyegbusi OL, Turner GM, Jackson L, Davies EH, Frost C, McNamara G, Price G, Matthews K, Camaradou J, Ormerod J, Walker A, Calvert MJ, Development and validation of the symptom burden questionnaire for long covid (SBQ-LC): Rasch analysis, BMJ. 2022 Apr 27;377:e070230

Chandan JS et al. (McMullan C – co-author) Non-pharmacological therapies for post-viral syndromes, including Long COVID: A systematic review, BMJ Open, 12(4), e057885

Haroon S et al. (McMullan C – co-author) Protocol: Therapies for Long COVID in non-hospitalised individuals: from symptoms, patient-reported outcomes and immunology to targeted therapies (The TLC Study), BMJ Open, 12(4), e060413

Aiyegbusi O et al (McMullan C – co-author), Symptoms, complications and management of long COVID: a review, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 2021 Jul 15:1410768211032850.

Turner GM, McMullan C, Aiyegbusi OL, et al. Stroke risk following traumatic brain injury: Systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Stroke. April 2021.

Hughes SE, Aiyegbusi OL, Lasserson DS, et al. (McMullan C – co-author) Protocol for a scoping review exploring the use of patient-reported outcomes in adult social care. BMJ Open 2021;11:e045206.

Mathers J, Iqbal T & McMullan C. Beyond the Yuck Factor: Faecal Microbiota (Stool) Transplantation for Ulcerative Colitis-A Qualitative Study. International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 2020, Vol. 19.

Anderson N, et al. (McMullan C – co-author) Using Patient-Reported Outcome measures (PROMs) to promote quality of care in the management of patients with established kidney disease requiring treatment with haemodialysis (PROM-HD): a qualitative study. QUALITY OF LIFE RESEARCH. 2020, 29(1).

McMullan C et al. Care providers’ and patients’ attitudes toward using electronic-patient reported outcomes to support patients with traumatic brain injury: a qualitative study (PRiORiTy), Brain Injury, 2020, 34:6, 723-731

McMullan C et al, on behalf of the Bluebelle Study Group, Dressing use issues in primary abdominal wounds: a qualitative study of health staff and patient views, British Journal of Nursing 2019 28:20, S10-S18.

Aiyegbusi OA et al (McMullan C – co-author) Patient and Clinician Perspectives on Electronic Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in the Management of Advanced CKD: A Qualitative Study, American Journal of Kidney Diseases, 2019, 74(2):167-178.

Turner et al (McMullan C – co-author) An Introduction to Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) in Trauma, Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 2018; in press.

McMullan C, Pinkney TD, Jones LL, et al. Adapting to ulcerative colitis to try to live a ‘normal’ life: a qualitative study of patients’ experiences in the Midlands region of England. BMJ Open 2017;7:e017544. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2017-017544.

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