The Bloomsbury Colleges | PhD Studentships | Studentships 2012 | Process and qualitative evaulation of a sport-based HIV prevention programme in South African high schools
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Process and Qualitative Evaluation of a Sports-Based HIV Prevention Programme in South African High Schools

Lead Supervisor: David A Ross (LSHTM)

Co-Supervisor: Ian Warwick (Institute of Education)

A cluster-randomized controlled trial (cRCT) of a sports-based HIV prevention intervention (Generation Skillz) implemented by young "coaches" trained and suupervised by an NGO, Grassroot Soccer, will be taking place in South Africa from Jan 2012 to June 2015. It will involve 12,000 Grade 9 students in 60 schools in 3 study sites. The trial will evaluate the behavioural and biological (HIV, HSV-2) effectiveness of the intervention, which uses sports themes, activities and metaphors to create participatory and interactive discussions about sex, gender norms, gender-based violence, and relationships. A randomly chosen half of the students in the intervention arm will also receive supportive text messages between the annual series of 11 in-school sessions. The principal supervisor for the PhD student (David Ross) is a Co-Pl on the Generation Skillz trial.

The PhD will be linked to this trial, will involve the use of mixed quantitative and qualitative methods, and will include two components:

  1. A qualitative and quantitative process evaluation to assess how and why the interventions either lead to the desired outcomes or not, thus strenthening interpretations and understanding of the results of the cRCT.
  2. A qualitative study of the sexual health-related histories of young people who were exposed to the interventions 12-24 months previously, and their perceptions of what were the important influences on their sexual history and practices.

It will include quantitative analysis of process data collected by the intervention teams, but also collection and analysis of new qualitative data, including in-depth interviews. Funds are available for recruiting two local young research assistants to work with the PhD student. During their time in South Africa, the student will be affiliated to the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Research Institute, under the co-supervision of Dr Emilie Venables.

Essential Requirements

  1. Masters in a public health or related social science field
  2. Willing to spend 9-15 months based in South Africa during the PhD
  3. Basic knowledge of statistical and qualitative analysis methods
  4. Understanding of, and sensitivity to, the sexual health needs and practices of young people in low- or middle-income country contexts


  1. Experience of living and working in a low- or middle-income country
  2. Experience in adolescent health and/or HIV prevention research or programmes
  3. Experience in process evaluation of health programmes
  4. Research experience using qualitative methods

Further details about the project may be obtained from:

Lead Supervisor: Professor David A Ross, MRC Tropical Epidemiology Group, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Room 105, Keppel St, London WC1E 7HT, UK. Email:, profile at:

Co-Supervisor: Dr Ian Warwick, Senior Lecturer/Faculty Director of Learning and Teaching, Department of Children, Families and Health, Faculty of Children and Learning, Institute of Education, University of London, 27/28 Woburn Square WC1H 0AA, UK. Email:, profile at

Further information about PhDs at LSHTM is available from:

Application forms and details about how to apply are available from:

or via The Registry, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom.

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7299 4656


Faculty PhD Administrator: Jenny Fleming, tel: +44(0)2079272491

Specific Application Requirements:

  • Copies of academic transcripts
  • CV
  • A summary of how you would propose to conduct the qualitative study of the sexual health-related histories described in component 2 above (<600 words)
  • If you are not entitled to the lower Home/EC fees, please state how you plan to fund the balance of the fees

Closing date for applications: this studentship is now closed