Associate Professor Katherine Carroll

Ph.D. (Sociology); BA(Hons); BPhysiotherapy
Senior Lecturer
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Sociology 1608
  • Sociological Methodology And Research Methods 160807
  • Reproduction 111404

Research interests

  • Sociological, interdisciplinary and feminist study of reproductive tissue banking and donation, particularly breastmilk and human eggs.
  • Doing sociology with medicine in applied research settings to understanding the practices and experiences of healthcare delivery in complex, high-technology settings. 
  • Qualitative and collaborative research methods including video reflexive ethnography, photo elicitation interviewing and hospital ethnography. 



Katherine is an applied sociologist and qualitative methodologist who works with the health sector to examine and transform how health services are experienced and delivered. She uses participatory, qualitative, and visual research methodologies with research participants, health professionals, patients, and care-givers. Her particular areas of interest include the sociology of reproduction and motherhood, perinatal medicine, and lactation sciences.  

Katherine has a BA and PhD in Sociology, and a Bachelor of Physiotherapy. Her twin experiences of working as a sociologist and women’s health physiotherapist provide her with unique insights into conducting applied sociological research.

Prior to her appointment at the ANU, she held a position as Assistant Professor in the Mayo Clinic Medical School in the USA (2014-2016) where she established a Qualitative Research Services team to undertake qualitative and sociological research in and with medicine.

Katherine has helped pioneer the Video Reflexive Ethnography (VRE) methodology in Australian and American hospitals. She has worked in collaborative research partnerships with health professionals in the high-technology, ethically charged spaces of the neonatal intensive care unit, adult intensive care, surgery, surgical pathology, and the emergency department. She has published extensively on the methodology, including two co-authored books, Visualising Health Care Practice Improvement (2013, Radcliffe) and Video-Reflexive Ethnography in Health Research and Healthcare Improvement: Theory and Application (2019, Taylor and Francis). 


Researcher's projects


1. An Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (2018-2023) on Lactation and Milk Donation after Infant Death. Working directly with bereaved parents, health professionals, and human milk banks, this project seeks to advance lactation health service delivery in Australia and contribute new knowledge to the sociology of motherhood and lactation sciences (with Professor Catherine Waldby, ANU and Dr. Debbie Noble-Carr, ANU).

2. A Mayo Clinic funded research project on the communication with families regarding periviable infant resuscitation. This project works with audio-recordings of medical consultations between parents and neonatologists at Mayo Clinic, USA in order to improve understandings about medical communication in contexts of high uncertainty (with Dr. Chris Collura, Mayo Clinic).


Current student projects


PhD Students:

Sabine Kane (2024-) Constructing Parenthood After Infant Death: Grief, Embodiment & Social Identity. My role: Primary Supervisor and Chair

Honors Students:

Joshua Green (2024-) Why the wait? Exploring the role of pain communication in delayed diagnoses of endometriosis in Australia. My role: Primary Supervisor

Past student projects

Brydan Lenne (2018) Evidence Based Medicine in the Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (PhD Candidate)

Creating a Breastfeeding Friendly ANU Campus (with Kathryn Eden, 4th year Sociology Student, 2017)

Dr. Heidi McLeod (2017) 'Respect and Shared Decision Making in the Clinical Encounter - A video reflexive ethnography' PhD Awarded.

Dr. Michael Gionfriddo (2016) ‘Asthma Medication Step-Down Decision Making: Qualitative Systematic Review and Study of Asthma Patients’ Experiences’  PhD Awarded.



Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  19 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers