Dr Alasdair Jones

Dr Alasdair Jones

Associate Professor in Qualitative Research Methodology

Department of Methodology

+44 (0)20 7955 6924
Room No
COL 8.12
Office Hours
Please refer to StudentHub for details
Key Expertise
Urbanism, Urban public space, Qualitative methods, Programme evaluation

About me

Alasdair Jones is an Associate Professor in Qualitative Research Methodology and Deputy Head of Department (Teaching). He is also an Associate at LSE Cities, a Research Associate at the Public Policy Institute (University of Auckland) and a Visiting Lecturer at the RCA School of Architecture. 

Biography Prior to the LSE Alasdair has worked as a Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of Hertfordshire, and as a Senior Researcher at the Royal Society for the Arts’ Action and Research Centre.  He has held visiting appointments in social research methodology at UC Berkeley (as a Fulbright Scholar), in urban studies at UNSW and in public policy at the University of Auckland.

Research interests Alasdair is an interdisciplinary scholar and methodologist with particular expertise in the fields of urban studies and programme evaluation. Throughout his research he is committed to using, refining and developing qualitative methodological approaches to generate insights into critical questions concerning urban public space, urban planning and social policy programmes. Underpinning this research is a guiding theoretical interest in exploring (using qualitative methods) disconnects between policy expectations/design intentions and practices.  Substantively, his research to date has centred on public space, mobilities, and the ways that citizenship is experienced in urban settings.  This research has been funded by ESRC, NCRM, NIHR, UKPRP and the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

As well as continuing to develop these interests through a range of ongoing and prospective projects, Alasdair is currently expanding his research interests through an LSE Cities seed funding award.  In this exploratory study he is reviewing and synthesising empirical approaches to multi-level (social and material) network analyses of urban neighbourhoods and settings.  This research will be used as the basis for a larger study of community development and measurement in urban settings.

Teaching As well as directing the MSc Social Research Methods since 2016, Alasdair teaches or has taught on a range of research design and qualitative research methods courses at the LSE.  These include: MY400 Fundamentals of Social Science Research Design, MY401 Research Design for Studies in Digital Innovation, MY405 Research Methods for Evaluation in Health, Development and Public Policy, MY421 Qualitative Research Methods, MY426 Doing Ethnography and MY530 Advanced Qualitative Research Workshops.  In addition, he co-developed and convened ME109 Ethnographic Methods and Practice for the LSE Methods Summer School.

Education Alasdair has degrees in Geography (BA [Hons]) and Sociology (MPhil) from the University of Cambridge (both awarded with distinction) and he received his ESRC-funded PhD from the LSE’s Cities Programme.

Broadly, Alasdair’s research interests can be categorised as follows:

Research methods – research design, qualitative research methods and ethnography, with particular interests in i) methods that allow researchers to explore the disconnects between designs and practices, and ii) the use of qualitative methods in policy evaluation;

Cities – the relationship between built form and social life in cities, with a particular emphasis on public space, public life in cities, mobilities, urban citizenship and socio-material urban networks;

Programme evaluation – using qualitative methods to help evaluate the impacts of social policy and other interventions (in particular in the fields of public health and social care).

Recent Research Projects

Uses and Applications of Qualitative Research Methods in Policy Evaluations Using Observational Designs: a Review and Synthesis.
Funded by NCRM.

Measuring community in an urban age: Bringing urban form into social network-based measures of community. 
Funded by LSE Cities.

An exploration of local authority strategies and interventions to improve the quality of social care for older people in England through market shaping (ELSCQua)
Funded by the NIHR School for Social Care Research (NIHR SSCR).

Understanding social networks ethnographically - using qualitative methods to map social group networks (Centre for Ethnographic Research, UC Berkeley). Funded by the US-UK Fulbright Commission.

UH-Lafarge Sustainable Living Study (Centre for Sustainable Communities, University of Hertfordshire). Funded by the UH-Lafarge Sustainable Living Partnership.

‘On the buses’: evaluating the impact of free bus travel for young people on the public health (Transport and Health Group, London School of Tropical Medicine [PI: Professor Judith Green]). Funded by the NIHR Public Health Research Programme.

Expertise Details

Urban public space; qualitative methods (in particular place-based ethnography and qualitative methods for evaluation); programme evaluation; urban transport and health.


Scholarly Papers

  • ·      Parham, S. and Jones, A. (2021) 'Exploring sustainable urbanism in master-planned developments: a collective case study of slippage between principles, policies, and practices', Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability 14(1): 97-124. DOI: 10.1080/17549175.2020.1793802
  • ·      Jones, A. (2021) ‘Public realm ethnography: (Non-)participation, co-presence and the challenge of situated multiplicity,’ Urban Studies 58(2): 425-440. DOI: 10.1177/0042098020904261  
  • ·         Jones, Alasdair (2018) ‘Revisiting Bott to connect the dots: An exploration of the methodological origins of social network analysis,’ Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19(2), Art. 5, http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-19.2.2905
  • ·         Jones, Alasdair (2018) ‘Everyday without exception? Making space for the exceptional in contemporary sociological studies of streetlife,’ The Sociological Review 66(5): 1000-1016. DOI: 10.1177/0038026118771280
  • ·         Jones, A. (2016) ‘Orchestrated public space: the curatorial dimensions of the transformation of London’s Southbank Centre.’ Published in the proceedings of the EU Marie Curie-funded conference Mediations: Art & Design Agency and Participation in Public Space (Royal College of Art, London).
  • ·         Green, J., Roberts, H., Petticrew, M., Steinbach, R., Goodman, A., Jones, A. and Edwards, P. (2015) ‘Integrating quasi-experimental and inductive designs in evaluation: a case study of the impact of free bus travel on public health,’ Evaluation: The International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice 21: 391-406.
  • ·         Green, J., Jones, A. and Roberts, H. (2014) ‘More than a-to-b: the health implications of free public transport for older citizens in London,’ Ageing & Society 34(03): 472-494.
  • ·         Goodman, A., Jones, A., Roberts, H., Steinbach, R. and Green, J. (2014) ‘“We can all just get on a bus and go”: rethinking independent mobility in the context of the universal provision of free bus travel to young Londoners,' Mobilities 9(2): 275-293.
  • ·         Green, J., Steinbach, R., Jones, A., Edwards, P., Kelly, C., Nellthorp, J., Goodman, A., Roberts, H., Petticrew, M. & Wilkinson, P. (2014) ‘On the Buses: Evaluating the impact of free bus travel for young people on the public health,’ Public Health Research 2(1), DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3310/phr02010.
  • ·         Jones, A. (2013) ‘A tripartite conceptualisation of urban public space as a site for play: Evidence from South Bank, London,’ Urban Geography 34(8): 1144-1170.
  • ·         Jones, A., Goodman, A., Roberts, H., Steinbach, R. & Green, J. (2013) ‘Entitlement to concessionary public transport and wellbeing: a qualitative study of young people and older citizens in London, UK,’ Social Science & Medicine 91: 202-9.
  • ·         Edwards, P., Steinbach, R., Green, J., Petticrew, M., Goodman, A., Jones, A., Roberts, H., Kelly, C., Nelthorp, J. & Wilkinson, P. (2013) ‘Health impacts of free bus travel for young people: evaluation of a natural experiment in London,’ Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 67(8): 641-7.  
  • ·         Jones, A., Green, J., Roberts, H., Steinbach, R. & Goodman, A. (2012) ‘Rethinking passive transport: bus fare exemptions and young people’s wellbeing’, Health & Place 18(3): 605-612.

Book Chapters

  • Bartholomew, M. and Jones, A. (2021) “Ties through place: socio-material network analyses in urban studies,” in Neal, Z.P. and Rozenblat, C. [eds.] Handbook of Cities and Networks. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, pp.194-214.

  • Tateo, L., Nugin, R., Jones, A., Marsico, G. and Palang, H. (2021) "Cities of Senses: Visible and Invisible Borders in Public Spaces," in Kullasepp, K. and Marsico, G. [eds.] Identity at the Borders and Between the Borders. Springer: New York, pp. 7-22.

  • Jones, A. (2020) "From noisy coexistence to inclusion-through-resistance: (re)placing youth at London's 'South Bank' skate spot," in Loebach, J., Eubanks Owens, P., Cox, A. and Little, S. [eds.] Routledge Handbook for Designing Public Places for Young People: Design Practices, Processes and Policies for Youth Inclusion. Routledge: London, pp.364-369.

  • Jones, A. (2019) ‘“Something more, something better, something else, is needed”: a renewed “fête” on London’s South Bank,” in Leary-Ohwin, M. and McCarthy, J. [eds.] The Routledge Handbook of Henri Lefebvre, the City and Urban Society. Routledge: London, pp.512-521.

Other Research Publications

  • Malley, J. Zigante, V. and Jones, A. (April 2019) LSE CPEC Working paper #3: An evaluation of a Local Authority run outreach facilitation intervention for raising the quality of social care practice: ELSCQua Case Study 3 - Final Evaluation Report.
  • Malley, J., Jones, A., Zigante, V. and Beno, O. (April 2019) LSE CPEC Working paper #2: An evaluation of a Local Authority run outreach facilitation intervention for raising the quality of social care practice: ELSCQua Case Study 3 - Theories of Change and Evaluation Plan.
  • Parham, S., McCormack, J. and Jones, A. (2015) People, products and places: Exploring sustainable-living practices in masterplanned communities. Final Research Report of the UH-Lafarge Tarmac ‘Sustainable Living Study.’ Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire.
  • Jones, A. (2012) Eco- by design, eco- by practice? Urban development and the making of sustainable communities. Centre for Sustainable Communities think piece. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire.
  • Wilkinson, P., Edwards, P., Steinbach, R., Petticrew, M., Goodman, A., Jones, A., Roberts, H., Kelly, C., Nellthorp, J. & Green, J. (2011) The health impact of free bus travel for young people in London: protocol for an observational study. Occasional Papers in Transport & Health (2). London: LSHTM.
  • Jones, A. (2010) Free for some: Setting the context for the ‘On the Buses’ study. Occasional Papers in Transport & Health (1). London: LSHTM.
  • Rowson, J., Broome, S. & Jones, A. (2010) Connected Communities: How social networks power and sustain the Big Society. RSA, London.

Book Review

  • Jones, A. (2012) ‘Material Geographies of Household Sustainability’, Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability 5(2-3): 271-273.


  • LSE Teaching Promotion Award 2018-19
  • NCRM International Visitor Exchange Scheme award 2017-18

  • LSE Excellence in Education award 2016-17

  • US-UK Fulbright Commission All-disciplines Scholarship 2012-13