Coventry University (GB)

DR. SIMON GOODMAN, Research Fellow


I am particularly interested in furthering the understanding of prejudice by analysing the differing ways in which people make arguments about what does, and what does not, count as racist and prejudicial, and when and how people can and cannot make accusations of racism, particularly (although not exclusively) with regard to discussions about asylum seeking.


Simon Goodman is a research fellow in psychology at Coventry University. He uses discursive psychology to address a number of issues. Much of this research explores the discursive construction of asylum seekers and refugees in which he has focussed on the ways in which potentially prejudicial arguments against asylum seekers are presented as reasonable and non-prejudicial. In addition, his work focuses on what is, and what is not, considered to be racist particularly with regard to asylum seeking. His research also explores the (largely negative) experiences of asylum seekers in the UK and the ways in which they make complaints and resist their negative presentations. His other interest include the British public’s understanding of income inequality and high earners, the ways in which the far right attempt to present their policies as acceptable and non-racist, as well as negative representations of Gypsies in online discussion forums and responses to the England riots.



  • Understanding Refugees’ Lives through Analysis of their Talk: An investigation of the experiences of asylum seeking refugees living in the UK.
  • The discursive construction of asylum seekers: An on going investigation of the ways in which asylum seekers are constructed in public debates.
  • Understanding income inequality: An investigation of the ways in which members of the public make sense of income inequality in the UK.
  • The rhetoric of the far right: Investigating the rhetoric of the changing new far right and the ways this is used to pre-empt accusations of racism.
  • Talk about Gypsies: Analysis of prejudicial anti-Gypsy arguments and the implications this has for understanding prejudice.
  • Understanding the England riots: A mixed methods and approach investigation of public responses to the England riots of 2011.


Coventry University (CU) is a dynamic, global, enterprising University that employs over 3,000 staff and has 24,000 students and has a reputation for excellent research, business engagement, innovation and entrepreneurship. It is the number 1 modern UK University according to the influential Guardian, Times and Sunday Times University Guides, sitting in the top 30 UK universities and is ranked in the well-respected QS World University rankings. It has a strong focus on Applied Research and a history of engagement with local, national and international charities and businesses. Collaborative ventures help the University to remain at the forefront of policy developments and service improvement, thus keeping pace with the changing needs and expectations of our research and consultancy clients. Coventry University is well known for being ambitious and innovative, making a significant contribution to important global and societal challenges. Coventry’s new £100M research strategy, ‘Excellence with Impact’, builds on this trend and has transformed the way we research by applying fresh and original approaches.

The University has an extensive track record in engagement with Europe and European research and development. Over the last 3 years we have been delivering on over 120 research contracts awarded by the European Commission, the vast majority of which have been multi-partner collaborations across Europe and beyond. The support from the EC for these projects has totalled over £35 million and involved every Faculty and Institute within the University. Specific funding streams have included: Culture 2000; DAPHNE; Eco-Innovation; EDULINK; Erasmus and Erasmus +; Horizon 2020; EU Health Programme; Framework FP7; ICT Policy Support Programme; Intelligent Energy Europe; INTERREG; Leonardo da Vinci; TEMPUS; and the Lifelong Learning Transversal Programme. All of our projects are supported by two full time administrators as well as a central, dedicated team of experts with wide experience of externally funded projects in the University’s Research Office (RO). The RO is responsible for the quality control and audit of all externally funded activities and operates independently from individual project teams in order to ensure accountability and compliance. The RO will assign dedicated Finance and Project Officers to assist the project team and the funder in ensuring milestones are met, the agreed resource is committed, timescales are adhered to and deliverables achieved.


Coventry University created the Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement (PBA), which directs programmes of research concerned with the development and evaluation (including the development of assessment approaches) of pedagogic approaches, and comprises teams who specialise in basic skills, atypical populations (including groups with mental health needs), marginalised communities and community-based research projects.  The centre is interdisciplinary, applying research methods which range from large scale quantitative data analysis and modelling, through to qualitative and ethnographic approaches.  This unit is concerned with mapping the ecosystems which impact on successful intervention and life outcomes. 

PBA’s work focuses on the development and evaluation of theoretically-rooted, evidence-based psychological interventions across a range of areas: children's literacy and developmental disorders, violence and interpersonal aggression, identity and resilience in communities and organisations, cognition, neuropsychology and psychopharmacology. Related to this is the need to develop theoretical models that map the environmental and personal factors that impact successful intervention.  We work in partnership with key stakeholders to identify key challenges, develop resources, evaluate initiatives and theoretical models, and to create sustainable approaches to impact.

  • Literacy (Led by Prof Julia Carroll): We link theoretical perspectives of learning to read and write with more practical intervention work.  Literacy skills underpin all areas of the curriculum and it is essential that children are enabled to achieve all that they can in primary school, in order to unlock their potential across the curriculum at secondary school. Much of our research focuses on literacy interventions, often working closely with partners such as the Educational Endowment Foundation, the Reading Agency or the National Literacy Trust to assess ‘real world’ programmes. This work is backed up with our theoretically oriented work focusing on the role of oral language skills and personality factors in reading development and difficulties.
  • Violence and Interpersonal Aggression (Led by Prof. Erica Bowen): Prof Bowen is leading work in the UK to improve understanding of the nature of violent offending and practical intervention development in collaboration with regional Probation Trusts, City Councils and European collaborators to determine how best to intervene in violence during adolescence and adulthood. VIA’s research has already formed the basis of a strong, internationally contextualised impact case study in relation to the prevention of intimate partner violence. Other work relates to: improvement of victim support services for rape victims and domestic violence; the civil justice system with respect to family law; rehabilitation of sexual offenders and more recently the rehabilitation of domestic violence perpetrators, offenders in group-based interventions, the use of child witnesses, the police response to victims of domestic violence and rape.
  • Atypical Development (Led by Dr Sarah Cassidy): We aim to develop innovative models and interventions that will further understanding of atypical development and have a positive impact on the lives of individuals with developmental conditions (such as Autism, Fragile X syndrome, Downs Syndrome) and their families. We combine expertise in cognitive and psychophysiological techniques, developmental psychology and mental health. We work closely with internationally-renowned scientists and experts in the field of atypical development, such as Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen (Cambridge) and Prof. Chris Oliver (Birmingham) to conduct world-leading, original research.  We are particularly known for our work on suicidallity in Autism Spectrum Disorder and are a node in the international Autism Research Centre with Cambridge and UCL. 
  • Identity and Resilience in Communities and Organisations (Led by Dr Gavin Sullivan): This theme highlights group processes with a significant focus on prejudice – how it can be understood, what factors contribute to it and how it can be challenged. Methodologically, the discipline has fractured into two broad approaches, with ‘traditional’ experimental methods (used by social identity theory researchers) on one side, and a range of qualitative approaches on the other, representing more recent and innovative methods which enable a more forensic analysis of how social realities are constructed.  Our research links conceptual analyses and theoretical perspectives on communities and organisations at different levels within and across national groups to evaluate policies, interventions and practices.
  • Brain, Belief and Behaviour (Led by Dr Miguel Farias): We are currently conducting pioneering research on the neuro-cognitive bases of belief, and the role of beliefs as a stress buffer and how to modify them. We are also preparing original work on the functions of sleep, the psychobiological effects of psychotropic drugs, and the development of new instruments for the early detection of dementia. We are also working on a critical examination of the literature on the effects of meditation. Our research has the potential to change people’s ideas and attitudes about a range of topics on body-mind interaction: how to modify beliefs through cognitive training and neural stimulation; how to improve academic performance and behaviour of children with sleep difficulties; raising public awareness about the benefits and adverse effects of meditation and mindfulness and psychotropic drugs, and improving the lives of people suffering from dementia. We are planning to maximise the impact of our research through public talks, open study days and popular science publications.

More: The Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement (PBA)