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Sociology: People


Eric Zhong Chen

Eric Zhong Chen
Eric Zhong Chen
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0)7738714688


MSc (Public Health Research) – University of Edinburgh
BSc (Reproductive Biology) – University of Edinburgh


Current Research Project

What do people think about when considering whether or not to have children? An exploratory qualitative study in Scotland.

The key aim of the study is to explore what individuals think about when considering whether or not to have children. This research considers such process within the context of recent fertility and family/household changes in Scotland. Respondents views and experiences of relationships, family and parenthood will be elicited through the process of in-depth interviewing. Employing an interpretive approach to the analysis of the respondents' narratives, it is hoped that insights can be gained to better understand the social interactions and processes that underlies family formation and childbearing decision making in Scotland.

More information about the study and how to participate can be found in the link below:


PhD Supervisors

Professor John MacInnes

Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley


Awards / Funding Sources (for PhD)

University of Edinburgh – College of Humanities and Social Science Studentship (2007 - 2009)
University of Edinburgh – The School of Social and Political Studies Award (2007- 2009)
University of Edinburgh – Sociology Postgraduate Award (2007 - 2009)


Other Involvement and Affiliations

My research is affiliated with the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) and is in close conducted at the Family Planning and Well Women Services (NHS Lothian), where I also work as a part-time administrator. From my everyday interaction with the patients and staff, I draw my inspiration for my research and make valuable networks with experts and participants.

My involvement with women’s sexual and reproductive health led me to work closely with other organisations in Lothian targeted at young people – The Health Opportunities Team (HOT), Healthy Respect and the Sexual Health Team (SHT) from the City of Edinburgh Council. With the SHT, I work as a session worker, delivering workshops on sexual health and relationships to teenagers aged 15-17 in high schools. I currently work as a sessional worker with HOT looking after the drop-in space and was involved in an active research project that was completed in April 2010. 


Involvement in Professional Bodies

British Sociological Association (BSA) - Member (2007 - present)
British Society for Population Students (BSPS) - Member (2007 - present)
Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) – Associated Student (2007 – present)

The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Healthcare - Reviewer (2009 - present)


Involvement in University Activities

Tutoring/ Supervision

School of Biological Sciences

09/10 Workshop Demonstrator         Professional Skills for Reproductive Biology (Hons)

09/10 Dissertation Supervisor           Honour project (2 student)

School of Health in Social Science

09/10 Tutor                                        Global Health (1st year, MBChB) 

09/10 Tutor                                        Disability (1st year, MBChB)

Other Activities

Kickstart (Widening Participation)     

Workshop Facilitator for Sociology  (2008 & 2009)

Group Leader (2009)

Sociology Society

Secretary (2009/10)

Event administrator (BSA Postgraduate Day School Event, Edinburgh 24th March 2010)


Research Interests

Fertility Intentions and Behavior (particularly Contraceptive Use)
Demographic Trends in Fertility Rates
Sexual and Reproductive Health
Family and Relationship
Lay and Expert Knowledge of Reproductive Science


Additional Research Involvement

University of Edinburgh Law School Research Annex

Fieldworker (2008/09). Racism and Social Marginalisation: A comparative Study of three European Member States (Funded by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency)


MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit (Glasgow)

Fieldworker (2008). Gay Men’s Sexual Health Survey

Fieldworker (2008). Evaluation of Healthy Respect 2 National Demonstration Project

Survey Assistant (2010). Adolescent Living in Contemporary Europe (ALICE)

Coder and Data entry (2010). Understanding and Using Public Health Research (Swine Flu)


Health Opportunities Team

 Active Researcher (2009/10). Alcohol and Emotional Health



ZE Chen (April 2010). Young People's Views on Alcohol Use and Emotion Health. Health Opportunities Team.*

Guttinger A and Chen ZE (2009). How well do women recall past contraceptive use? A pilot study. J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 35(3): 173 - 175.

Chen et al. (2008). Why are rates of sterilization in decline? A pilot study designed to explore reasons for declining female sterilization in Scotland. Contraception 78: 309 - 314.

 * If you would like a copy of the report, please contact me.

Conference Posters and Presentations

Chen ZE. Biological Clock or something else? How people talk about fertility decisions, [Presentation]. CRFR Emotions Seminar Series, 29 April 2010. University of Edinburgh

Chen ZE. Meaningful Parenthood - Weber's typology of social action and individuals' accounts of parenthood motivation. [Presentation]. New Directions Conference, 26-27 April 2010. University of Edinburgh

Chen ZE. Baby-talk: Preliminary findings from 4 pilot interviews exploring individual’s experiences of fertility [Presentation]. New Researchers Conference, 3 June 2009. Centre for Research in Families and Relationships; Edinburgh.

Chen ZE, Glasier A and Warner P. Towards understanding the decline of female sterilisation in Scotland: A pilot study [Poster]. Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare Annual Scientific Meeting, 21-22 May 2009. Royal College of Physicians; Edinburgh.

 Scott A, Chen ZE, Keighren F and Baikie S. Change in Sexual Health in Female Sex Workers and Substance Using Women [Poster]. Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare Annual Scientific Meeting, 21-22 May 2009. Royal College of Physicians; Edinburgh.

Chen ZE. Reflections on the Life-line: How useful is it during qualitative interviews with individuals on their reproductive lives? [Presentation]. New Directions Conference, 21-22 May 2009. University of Edinburgh

Chen ZE. I’m Bringing sex(y) back: Developing a Bio-Sociological Framework for the Demography of Fertility [Presentation]. New Directions Conference, 26-27 May 2008. University of Edinburgh