Report from Research Quality Review 2015

Report of Research Quality Review 2015


The Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences has a strong commitment to research. All staff have extensive research experience, and have a wide range of research interests and research collaborations (national and international). Within the Department, research is also actively integrated into teaching and practice education (including research modules to the undergraduate and postgraduate students within the School), which facilitates a heightened awareness of the importance of research to professional practice, evidence-based practice and implementation principles. There are also firmly established partnerships between the academic and clinical communities which are crucial for the development, appraisal and implementation of research. Research funding from a variety of internal and external sources and funding bodies have facilitated the realization of a clear research vision for the Department, which is to carry out state-of-the-art, pioneering research into speech and language processes.

Research Facilities

The Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences is housed on the first floor of Brookfield Health Sciences Complex. On this floor we have a dedicated Speech, Language and Voice laboratory, containing research equipment such as eleven speech spectrography stations, a nasometry station and an electropalatography station.  Adjacent to this laboratory is another laboratory housing a purpose-built, sound-proof, electrically-shielded room containing audiological assessment equipment (e.g., audiometer), and electrophysiological (EEG) recording equipment. In addition, the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences houses five purpose-built clinic rooms, and has a large resource room which contains a number of standardised tests for Communication Disorders (e.g. aphasia tests, dyslexia tests, various psychometric assessments) and clinical equipment for the assessment of speech and language processes in both adults and children.  These can be used both clinically and for research purposes. In addition, the School of Clinical Therapies (including our Department) has a dedicated postgraduate student research room, and access to an IT Resource Room which contains 25 PCs with data analysis software that is continuously updated (e.g. Excel, Word, SPSS). 

Staff areas of interest

Professor Fiona E. Gibbon

New developments in instrumentation to improve diagnosis and treatments for children with speech disorders, especially those with motor disorders, phonological impairment, cleft palate and autism. The instruments include electropalatography and ultrasound.


 Dr. Helen Kelly

·       Adult acquired communication impairment population

·       Harnessing brain plasticity potential through impairment based therapies

·       The ability of this population to demonstrate new learning and how this could impact on rehabilitation outcomes

.       Functional therapies that encourage greater engagement in society through self-management


Dr. Alice Lee

·        Perceptual and instrumental investigations of speech in individuals with structural anomalies (e.g. cleft palate) or neurological impairment (e.g. motor speech disorders). The instruments include electropalatography and nasometry;

·        Listener training for perceptual judgements of speech disorders.

·        Interprofessional education


Dr. Ciara O'Toole

·        Irish and bilingual child language acquisition

·        Play-Language relations

·        Communication Development in Down Syndrome

·        Augmentative Communication

·        Teaching Reading to Teach Talking

Undergraduate Student Research

In students' 4th year of study they a module- SL4003 Research-based Dissertation- which involves independently working on a research project (under supervision).  Here is a list of past years' research topics students have undertaken.



  1. Investigating  gender differences in lexical skills of typically developing Irish children

  2. The acquisition of early communication skills in Irish twins and singletons

  3. Gender differences in vocabulary size and composition: an Irish Perspective

  4. Adapting a syntactic comprehension assessment for bilingual Adults.

  5. An Investigation into Prosody Skills in Children with Spina Bifida

  6. Practice Educator’s Experiences of Supervising Students

  7. The effect of an unfamiliar accent on the Auditory comprehension skills of typical Irish elders.

  8. Working abroad as an SLT: a qualitative study on the preparedness of UCC graduated speech and language therapists who have pursued work in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.)

  9. A Qualitative Research Study Examining the Experiences of Speech and Language Therapists Establishing Private Practices in the South of Ireland.

  10. SLT managers in the Public service:  A qualitative study of resourcing issues with regard to meeting the needs of a wide range of service-users.

  11. An Ultrasound Study of Tongue Placement during Alveolar and Velar Stops in Children with Speech Sound Disorder of Unknown Origin:  Visual & Auditory-Perceptual Judgment

  12. The use of non-speech oral motor exercises in the treatment of developmental speech sound disorders by Speech and Language Therapists in the Republic of Ireland.

  13. The caregiver’s perception of the impact of music on the communication and Social Interaction of Individuals who have Dementia:  A Qualitative Analysis

  14. A qualitative study of changes in wellbeing for individuals with Parkinson’s disease following Lee Silverman Voice Treatment.

  15. Expressive and Receptive profiles of children from an area of social deprivation.

  16. The use of an iPad Application to Enhance Spontaneous Spoken Language in a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

  17. Receiving feedback on placement:  A qualitative study of the experiences of SLT students receiving negative and positive feedback on placement.

  18. The investigation of the short term memory span of adults through the use of a computerised assessment.

  19. The facilitation of social engagement and self-management through teaching computer skills to people with aphasia:  Patients’ perspective

  20. An exploratory study using eye-tracking to examine videofluoroscopy interpretation and inter-rater reliability by expert and novice speech & Language Therapists.

  21. Examining eye gaze in single picture description tasks, with the use of Eye-Tracking Software.

  22. Influence of narrative task on dysfluency in children who stutter.

  23. The effect of socioeconomic status on pre-school children’s understanding of relative clauses

  24. The effect of socio-economic status on school aged children’s comprehension of relative clause structures.

  25. An investigation into accent perception in Cork

  26. An investigation of the Relationships between Speech & Language Difficulties, Literacy Levels and the use of screen media in a Nationally Representative Group of Nine-Year Olds.



  1. Benchmarking Typical Adult’s Performance on the Irish-English Version of Profiling Elements of Prosody in Speech-Communication (PEPS-C)

  2. Developing a protocol to chat social interactions between children with autism and their assistance dogs.

  3. Speech and Language Therapists screening the hearing of school-aged children: An Irish Study

  4. Evaluation of European and Irish Legislation in Relation to Irish Sign Language (ISL)

  5. Psychological and counselling techniques by Irish Speech and Language Therapists with adults with acquired communications disorders

  6. The Relationship between Parental Concerns for Children’s Speech and the Self-Concepts of Irish Children Recruited in a National Study, ‘Growing Up in Ireland’

  7. Guidelines for setting inclusion and exclusion criteria for research in adult neurogenic communication disorders post-stroke

  8. Children’s attitudes towards peers with unintelligible speech associated with cleft lip and/or palate

  9. A study investigating the effectiveness of Core Vocabulary Therapy on the consistency of speech in children with Down syndrome

  10. Does an unfamiliar accent affect the accuracy of sentence comprehension in typically developing children and children with Down syndrome?

  11. An investigation of the significance of sentence disruptions in the development of complex syntax (particularly relative clauses) in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI)

  12. Comparison of Screen and Full CELF Language Scores in children from socially disadvantaged areas

  13. Parents’ evaluation of Speech and Language Therapy Clinics that run as part of the Happy Talk project

  14. An exploratory eye-tracking study investigating the decision making process involved in the completion of the Test for Reception of Grammar – Version 2 (TROG-2) language assessment

  15. Clinical decision making skills of Irish Speech and Language Therapy final year students in the management of dysphagia

  16. How the Celtic Tiger has changed the way we speak

  17. Perceptions of ageing in 31-49 year olds

  18. An investigation into the relationship between memory and verbal fluency

  19. Examination of career choices for Leaving Cert students with regard to allied health professionals

  20. Investigating the effect of socioeconomic status on typically developing Irish preschool children’s performance on an expressive vocabulary task and receptive picture name judgment task



  1. An analysis of the language of the primary school classroom

  2. Trainee teacher’s knowledge and understanding of speech and language difficulties

  3. Exploration of the vocabulary acquisition of twins compared to singletons in an Irish context

  4. Assessing receptive vocabulary Test in Bilingual Irish Speakers: A continuative study

  5. Occupational stress among speech and language therapists in Ireland

  6. What are the pragmatic skills of adults who stutter?

  7. How do experienced Speech and Language Therapists build and establish relationships with clients with dementia

  8. Characterizing parental experiences of having a child diagnosed with a hearing loss in Ireland

  9. An electropalatographic study of /t/ in children with perceptually abnormal /s/

  10. An electropalatographic study of lateral bracing in children with cleft palate

  11. The effect of vowel articulation on the difference in speech rates of speakers of Irish English and American English

  12. Non-speech oral motor treatment for developmental speech sound disorders in children

  13. The effect of unfamiliar accents on children’s comprehension of spoken sentences

  14. The typical child’s understanding of unintelligible speech

  15. Typically developing pre-school children’s prosodic performance on the PEPS-C test

  16. How effective is perceptual analysis at detecting different accents produced by two different groups of speakers compared to electropalatography?

  17. Complex syntax in children with spina bifida

  18. A comparison of spoken picture description in the Western Aphasia Battery and the Comprehensive Aphasia Test from individuals with no history of language or cognitive difficulties

  19. Communication behavioural changes following the introduction of an IPOD Touch as a communication aid

  20. A study on the perception of experienced clinicians in relation to their new graduate Speech and Language Therapists colleagues’ preparedness for teamwork in the workplace

  21. What are practice educators’ experience of a Virtual Learning Environment as a means of support while providing clinical placement to Speech and Language Therapy students?

  22. Student perspectives on the use of actors/simulation to prepare speech and language therapy students for clinical placement



  1. Do phonological skills drive lexical achievements in Irish language development?

  2. The factors that influence language development in twins/multiples using parent report

  3. The relationship between SES and narrative ability:  a descriptive study

  4. A case study of early trilingualism: Investigating typical language development in children acquiring English, French and Irish

  5. Learning a second language in SLI

  6. Lámh:  The parent experience

  7. The emerging role of a speech and language therapy student in a University Disability Support centre:  an ethnographic study

  8. Becoming a speech and language therapist: an autoethonography on the use of a reflective journal for reflection and learning

  9. How experienced speech and language therapists establish relationships with individuals with dementia

  10. The application of the ICF to speech and language therapists working in Ireland

  11. A phenomenological exploration of the life experiences of adult hearing children of deaf adults in Ireland

  12. Investigating the correlation between electropalatographic and perceptual assessments of speech intelligibility in children

  13. Tongue-palate contact during selected vowels in children with normal speech and functional articulation disorder (FAD)

  14. Typical vowel production in speakers of Southern British English and Scottish Standard English

  15. Electropalatographic assessment of contact measures in typically developing children and adults

  16. Does amount of contact differentiate typical from disordered articulation?

  17. Benchmarking typically developing children’s prosodic performance on the Irish version of the Profiling Elements of Prosodic Systems-Children (PEPS-C)

  18. An examination of how typically developing children judge the intelligibility of disordered speech

  19. Stuttering therapy in Cork:  50 years ago and now

  20. Do children with phonological disorders and vowel errors have reduced oro-motor skills?

  21. An investigation of the agreement between perceptual identification and EPG in the detection and classification of elicited articulation errors in speech data of normal speakers

  22. Does the severity of motor impairments in cerebral palsy significantly predict volume and type of speech and language therapy contact?

  23. The perceived importance of anatomy and neuroanatomy in the practice of speech and language therapy

  24. Implementing a significant curriculum change:  Ensuring competency in the multifaceted and integrated domain of dysphagia

  25. What knowledge, skills and attitudes do speech and language therapists working in a range of practice settings believe are required of a new graduate who is expected to work with feeding and swallowing disorders?



  1. A feasibility study of the use of eye tracking equipment in research of scene perception in individuals with aphasia

  2. The effect of accent on typically developing children’s comprehension

  3. An examination of typically developing children’s understanding of unintelligible speech

  4. Are General Practitioners (GPs) aware of the role of Speech and Language Therapist in paediatric communication impairments?

  5. Children’s Perceptions of the Therapeutic Relationship

  6. EPG study of normal production of /s/ & /t/ in singleton vs. /st/ cluster

  7. Speech timing of Irish English and American English speaking adults

  8. Investigating Vocabulary Composition in Irish Development using Observational and Checklist Measures of Language

  9. A reading intervention study for children with Down syndrome

  10. /I/ Production in Normal Speakers: An electropalatographic Investigation of Linguopalatal Contact Patterns

  11. The correlation between electropalatography (EPG) patterns and phonetic transcription of articulation of /s/ for children with functional articulation disorders

  12. The correlation between electropalatography (EPG) patterns and perceptual judgements of articulation of /s/ and /s/ for children with functional articulation disorders

  13. Designing a receptive vocabulary test for bilingual Irish speakers

  14. Irish General Practitioners’ knowledge of the role of the SLT adult population

  15. Quality of Life in Older Adults with acquired Hearing Loss (Presbycusis)

  16. An investigation of the self-perceived competencies of speech & language therapy (SLT) students regarding provision of SLT services to your offenders

  17. Parents experience of a training programme for developing their child’s language

  18. Investigating Literacy and the Role of the Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) with Children with Mild Intellectual Disability (ID)

  19. Typically developing children’s understanding of disordered speech

  20. Perceptions of final year Speech & Language Therapy students on their knowledge of PEG tube feeding

  21. How ready are Speech and Language Therapy students for Interprofessional Learning?

  22. Syntactic reactions: The effect of determiner-priming on visual mass noun recognition speeds

  23. Speech and Language Therapy curriculum in University College Cork: Perspectives of past graduates on readiness for professional practice.



1.   A phenomenological study of Alienation as a factor in adults with acquired communication and swallowing disorders

2.   A phenomenological study of Alienation as a factor in adults with acquired communication and swallowing disorders (specifically following a stroke)

3.   The therapeutic relationship in Speech and Language Therapy as constructed by children under the age of 12

4.   Staff perceptions of communication with patients in a community hospital in West Cork

5.   Occupational impact of dysphonia in professional singers: A phenomenological analysis

6.   Quality of life after laryngectomy: A qualitative study

7.  SLT self-perceptions and personal experiences of working with tracheostomy patients

8.   A prosodic study of Cork City Hiberno-English: An acoustic analysis of intonation in spontaneous narratives around Shandon Street using broad band speech spectography

9.  Speech rates of bilingual Irish and English teenagers in the Donegal Gaeltacht

10.  Acoustic analysis of diphthongs produced by Irish English-speaking adults

11.  Speech rates of Irish English-speaking older adults

12.  An electropalatographic investigation of tongue groove width for the production of /s/ in different phonetic contexts

13.  An acoustic analysis of monophthongs in Irish-English speaking adults

14.  An investigation of discourse production among speakers with language disorders as a result of brain injuries, and normal speakers, in the Irish population

15.  Investigating the typical language and communication profiles of children living in an Irish refugee accommodation centre

16.  The language, communication and social interaction profiles of asylum seeking children

17.  Symbol systems used in speech and language therapy

18.  ‘Teaching reading to teach talking’: Reading in children with Down syndrome 

19.  Examination of interaction patterns of nonverbal children and their communication partners

20.  Investigating parts of speech in Irish child-directed speech

21.  Choosing a mainstream or special school: Psychological factors in the decision-making process for parents of children with Down Syndrome

22.  Learning together to work together – Interprofessional education of medical, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy students in UCC.

23.  The idea of "Role Emerging" as a concept for Speech and Language Therapists

24.  An investigation of community support of speech therapy services for individuals with language impairment and their families in the Irish population

25.  Bridging the gap from college to clinic: The transition to work of newly qualified Speech and Language Therapists in the Republic of Ireland

26.  Communication and swallowing outcomes following group therapy for people with Parkinson’s Disease: Clients’ and carers’ perspectives

27.  Swallowing outcomes in individuals with head and neck cancer

28.  An investigation of the psychosocial impact on spouse caregivers of communication difficulties associated with stroke



1.  Speech and Language Therapists’ perceptions of differential diagnosis of motor speech disorders and their role in overall disease diagnosis

2.  Speech and Language Therapists’ attitudes towards multiculturalism and multilingualism: A survey of the Health Executive Southern Region in Ireland

3.  Allied health professional students’ perceptions of the stroke rehabilitation team and the Speech and Language Therapist’s role (paper in press in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders)

4.  Retrospective investigation of radiation dosage and organ sparing treatment types and their relationship with mucositis occurrence in head and neck cancer patients

5.  Cultural awareness among Speech and Language Therapy students in Ireland

6.  Nasalance scores for normal Irish-English speaking adults: A cross-gender comparative study

7.  An electropalatographic investigation of normal productions of lateral /l/

8.  Speech rates of Irish-English speaking adults

9.  Questionnaire on Speech-Language Therapists’ experience on perceptual judgements of speech disorders

10.  Acoustic analysis of coronal stops in Irish-English speaking adults

11.  SLT provision in mainstream primary schools

12.  Iconicity of manual and Pictorial symbols in AAC

13.  Mainstream & Special Education for primary school children with Down Syndrome

14.  The role of the Special Needs Assistant

15.  Children’s acquisition of temporal connectives

16.  Dialectal variation in Cork

17.  Perception of  SLT role by other members of interdisciplinary team

18.  Liaison between SLTs and Special Ed teachers in mainstream primary schools

19.  Social competence and self-esteem of children with a history of language impairment

20.  Therapeutic relationship in paediatric population

21.  Barriers to implementing the proposed undergraduate qualification in dysphagia

22.  Parental attitudes to speech and language therapy services

23.  Parents' experiences of feeding with their children who have cerebral palsy



1.  The barriers perceived to prevent the successful implementation of evidence-based practice by speech & language therapists in Ireland (paper in press in the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders)

2.  Retrospective investigation of swallowing outcomes in patients with head and neck cancer

3.  Problem-based learning in Speech and Language Therapy: Students’ evaluation

4.  Nurses and care assistants’ levels of current knowledge and management of dysphagia: Implications for staff training (paper in press in the Journal of Clinical Speech and Language  Studies)

5.  The impact of attending a stroke support group on the self-esteem and social participation of those with acquired communication disorders

6.  Acquisition of the locatives ‘in front of’ and ‘behind’ (paper in press in the Journal of Clinical Speech and Language Studies)

7.  Retrospective investigation of swallowing outcomes in patients with head and neck cancer at the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital

8.  Therapists’ practices and attitudes towards the use of oromotor exercises in the treatment of apraxia of speech in adults

9.   A phenomenological understanding of successful stammering management in adolescents (paper in press in the Journal of Clinical Speech and Language Studies)

10.  The acquisition of initial mutations in Irish

11.  Speech and language therapy service provision to children with English as a second language

12.  Relationships between functional play, symbolic play and language development in preschool children with down syndrome

13.  Speech and language therapists’ training and confidence in serving bilingual clients (paper in press in the Journal of Clinical Speech and Language Studies)

Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences

1st Floor, Brookfield Health Sciences Complex, U.C.C., College Road, Cork.