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 Institute of Applied Health Research. Her main interests lie in using qualitative research to explore and understand patients’ experiences of disease and trial processes.

She is currently working on two research projects:

  • STOP-Colitis – Working on the qualitative element of a prospective randomised pilot study to assess two possible routes of Faecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT)
  • PRiORiTy – Patient Reported Outcomes Research in Trauma (https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/mds/centres/cpror/research/priority.aspx) – 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


  • 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 her PhD in Queen’s University Belfast and gained experience in Qualitative Research both in various areas (Education, Communication, Management, and Nursing) 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, she has focused a lot of her work towards using qualitative research in RCTs.



  • EBM MBChB – small group teaching
  • Public Health MPH – Qualitative research; NVivo
  • NVivo workshops


Christel’s main research interest is Qualitative Health Research, more specifically within RCTs. The main areas she has been focusing on are Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Patient Reported Outcome Measures, and wound dressings.

Current and recent research projects include:

  • PRiORiTy – Patient Reported Outcomes Research in Trauma

 PRiORiTy – 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

  • STOP-COLITIS – is an 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 – is an 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.
  • Bluebelle – is an 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.

Research groups and centres:

Social Studies in Medicine

Centre for Patient Reported Outcomes


Rycroft-Malone J, Seers K, Eldh, AC, Cox K, Crichton N, Harvey G, Hawkes C, Kitson A, McCormack B, McMullan C, Mockford C, Niessen T, Slater P, Titchen A, van der Zijpp T, Wallin L. A realist process evaluation within the Facilitating Implementation of Research Evidence (FIRE) cluster randomised controlled international trial: an exemplar. Implementation Science 2018 (in press)

Turner G, Backman R, McMullan C, Mathers J, Marshall T & Calvert M. Establishing research priorities relating to the long-term impact of TIA and minor stroke through stakeholder-centred consensus. Research Involvement and Engagement, 2018; 4:2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5784709/

Elliott D The Bluebelle Study Group (McMullan C – co-author) Developing outcome measures assessing wound management and patient experience: a mixed methods study  BMJ Open 2017;7:e016155. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016155

The Bluebelle Study Group (2015) How pre-trial qualitative research can change proposed RCT design: a case study and implications for future research. Trials; 16(Suppl 2):O35

Mathers, J., Keeley, T., Jones, L., Calvert, M., Williamson, P., Jones, J., McMullan, C., Wright, S. & Young, B. (2015) “Using qualitative research to understand what outcomes matter to patients: direct and indirect approaches to outcome elicitation”, Trials, 2015, 16(Supp2):O39.

Eldh, A. et al. "I have the world’s best job – staff experience of the advantages of caring for older people", Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 2016, 30(2), 365-379.  RQIA “Review of discharge arrangements from acute hospitals”, RQIA report, 2014, Belfast.

Morison, S. & McMullan, C. (2014) "Learner-Teacher Interaction (LTI): Engaging and supporting students in achieving self-regulated learning", HEA, Health and Social Care Cluster, York http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/disciplines/hsc/Learner_Teacher_Interaction_Morison_QUB_March_2014.pdf

Morison, S. & McMullan, C. (2013) "Preparing for the future: challenges and opportunities for management and leadership skills", British Dental Journal, 214(1). 

Leitch, C. M., McMullan, C. and Harrison, R. T. (2012) "The Development of Entrepreneurial Leadership: The Role of Human, Social and Institutional Capital", British Journal of Management, doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8551.2011.00808.x 

Hargie, O., O'Donnell, A. & McMullan, C. (2011) "Constructions of Social Exclusion among Young People from Interface Areas of Northern Ireland ", Youth & Society, 43(3), 873-899. 

The Bluebelle Study Group (McMullan C – co-author) A mixed-methods feasibility and external pilot study to inform a large pragmatic randomised controlled trial of the effects of surgical wound dressing strategies on surgical site infections (Bluebelle Phase B): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials 2017; 18:401. doi.org/10.1186/s13063-017-2102-5

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(8):e017544. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2017-017544

Nepogodiev et al. (McMullan C – co-author) The ACCURE-UK trial: The effect of appendectomy on the clinical course of ulcerative colitis – A feasibility study. 2016; International Journal of Surgery, 36. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijsu.2016.08.031

The Bluebelle Study Group (McMullan C – co-author) Bluebelle study (phase A): a mixed-methods feasibility study to inform an RCT of surgical wound dressing strategies. BMJ Open 2016;6:e012635. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016- 012635

van der Zipp, T.J. Niessen, T., Eldh, A.C., Hawkes, C., McMullan, C., Mockford, C., Wallin, L., McCormack, B., Rycroft-Malone, J. & Seers, K. (2016) A Bridge Over Turbulent Waters: Illustrating the Interaction Between Managerial Leaders and Facilitators When Implementing Research Evidence, Worldviews Evidence-Based Nursing, 13(1).

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