Miss Diane Shortland MA PGCJ BA

Miss Diane Shortland

Institute of Applied Health Research
PhD Student

Contact details

Murray Learning Centre
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Diane is studying for a Doctorate in Applied Health Research with the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. Looking at the social implications of long-term chronic illness, her PhD – using qualitative research methods – investigates how people with Malygic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome build and maintain social and community networks and relationships, both online and offline, in their daily lives. Diane has a personal and professional interest in living with chronic fatigue and its social construction, perception and understanding in society


  • Post Graduate Research Methods 60 credits – University of Birmingham 2019
  • MA in Professional Writing – Falmouth University 2013
  • Post Graduate Certificate in Journalism – Glasgow University 2010
  • BA Combined Studies (English & Psychology) – University of Leicester 1996


Diane worked in Neuro Rehab as an Assistant Clinical Psychologist when she became ill with M.E at age 22. She spent many years bedbound and then housebound with the illness and experienced first-hand the impact of living with a chronic condition that is not well understood. She became more and more interested in the social construction of long term disability; the scepticism and stigma, lack of awareness and knowledge surrounding the legitimacy of M.E, both by healthcare professionals and society at large. Diane began researching how sufferers cope with this extra burden and how they find social and emotional support in their lives. She is also interested in the changing nature of the Doctor-Patient relationship and the role of the internet in shaping the lives of those with disability.

Doctoral research

PhD title
'Social implications of long-term illness: How people with M.E. build and maintain social and community networks and relationships, online and offline, within their daily lives.' Expected completion date: 2025-2027
Dr Qulsom Fazil and Dr Anna Lavis


Qualitative surveying and interviewing of patients with M.E to gain greater knowledge of social support avenues in their daily lives.

Other activities

Volunteer for the charity Action for M.E. – freelance writing, steering group for surveys, co-ordinator of the audio version of their 'Interaction' magazine