Sarah Kate Smith

Dr Sarah Kate Smith Bsc, PhD

Research Fellow


I am an applied health researcher focusing on creative ways to enable people to live as well as possible as they age. I am committed to working with older adults and more specifically with people living with dementia to increase opportunities to continue to meaningfully participate in society. One way to achieve this, and a specific focus of mine, is to promote technological engagement for health and wellbeing so that marginalised groups may benefit from using digital technology in line with the rest of the population. I have a particular interest in visual methodologies to capture ‘in the moment’ participation which enables other researchers, health and social care professionals and policymakers to 'see' the outcomes of an intervention rather than purely 'reading' about it.


I achieved a 1st class Honours in Psychology in 2011 and a PhD from the School of Health & Related Research at the University of Sheffield in 2015. My PhD was a White Rose Consortium, ESRC funded scholarship focussing on enabling people living with dementia to participate in technology enabled social activities in line with the rest of the population. Since then, I have worked at a post-doctoral level on large projects funded by Horizon 2020 (IN-LIFE 2015-2018) and the ESRC (Sustainable Care 2018-2021). I joined Sheffield Hallam University in June 2021 as a Research Fellow on a 3-year NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) funded project, using digital health to transform the management of long-term conditions in the NHS (2021-2024). I am passionate about involving stakeholders in all aspects of the research process to develop and deliver interventions that are representative of the population they are intended for. All my research is completely dependent upon effective co-collaboration with the experts, whether they be people living with dementia, minority groups or older adults in general. I am committed to making knowledge 'work' and that research evidence is applied and published in a timely manner, increasing the potential to make a difference in the real world. I always strive to ensure my research evidence is accessible to wider populations, not just other academics, but health and social care professionals, industry partners and 3rd sector organisations and societies as a whole.


Department of Nursing and Midwifery

College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences


I joined SHU in June 2021 on a 3-year NIHR funded project 'Using digital health to transform the management of long-term conditions in the NHS: Assessing real-world patient experience and empowerment and improvements to productivity and capacity (2021-2024)


Journal articles

Smith, S.K., Mountain, G.A., & Hawkins, R.J. (2023). A novel approach to support the use of visual methods when researching with people living with dementia. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 22.

Chesterton, L., Innes, A., Smith, S.K., & Morris, L. (2022). Self-reported benefits for care partners of attending a person-centred dementia cafe. International Journal of Care and Caring, 6 (4), 586-603.

Smith, S.K., Wolverson, E.L., & Mountain, G.A. (2022). What is intended by the term “participation” and what does it mean to people living with dementia? A conceptual overview and directions for future research. Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences, 3.

Astell, A.J., Panou, M., Touliou, K., Karavidopoulou, Y., Cabrera-Umpiérrez, M.F., Aldaz, E., ... Tabak, M. (2022). Developing a pragmatic evaluation of ICTs for older adults with cognitive impairment at scale: the IN LIFE experience. Universal Access in the Information Society, 21 (1), 1-19.

Innes, A., Chesterton, L., Morris, L., Smith, S.K., & Bushell, S. (2021). Perspectives of people living with dementia and their care partners about the impact on social health when participating in a co-designed Dementia café. Health Soc Care Community.

Innes, A., Smith, S., Wyatt, M., & Bushell, S. (2021). “It's just so important that people's voices are heard”: The dementia associate panel. Journal of Aging Studies, 59, 100958.

Innes, A., Smith, S., & Bushell, S. (2021). Dementia Friendly Care: Methods to Improve Stakeholder Engagement and Decision Making. Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 2021 (13), 183-197.

Smith, S.K., Innes, A., & Bushell, S. (2021). Music-making in the community with people living with dementia and care-partners - 'I'm leaving feeling on top of the world'. Health and Social Care in the Community.

Morris, L., Innes, A., Smith, S., Wilson, J., Bushell, S., & Wyatt, M. (2021). A qualitative evaluation of the impact of a Good Life Club on people living with dementia and care partners. Dementia.

Smith, S.K., Innes, A., & Bushell, S. (2021). Exploring the impact of live music performances on the wellbeing of community dwelling people living with dementia and their care partners. Wellbeing, Space and Society, 2.

Smith, S.K., Mountain, G.A., & Hawkins, R.J. (2020). Qualitatively exploring the suitability of tablet computers to encourage participation with activities by people with moderate stage dementia. Dementia (London), 19 (5), 1586-1603.

Astell, A.J., Smith, S.K., Potter, S., & Preston‐Jones, E. (2018). Computer Interactive Reminiscence and Conversation Aid groups—Delivering cognitive stimulation with technology. Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions, 4 (1), 481-487.

Astell, A.J., Potter, S., Preston-Jones, E., Black, B., Simonite, S., & Smith, S.K. (2018). CIRCA group programme for dementia: technology delivering cognitive stimulation. Gerontechnology, 17 (s), 125.

Smith, S., & Astell, A.J. (2018). Technology-Supported Group Activity to Promote Communication in Dementia: A Protocol for a Within-Participants Study. Technologies, 6 (1), 33.

Smith, S.K., & Astell, A.J. (2017). [O4-09-05]: Delivering cognitive stimulation with technology. Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, 13 (7S 26), P1251-P1252.

Smith, S.K., Mountain, G.A., & Hawkins, R.J. (2016). A scoping review to identify the techniques frequently used when analysing qualitative visual data. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 19 (6), 693-715.

Smith, S.K., & Mountain, G.A. (2012). New forms of information and communication technology (ICT) and the potential to facilitate social and leisure activity for people living with dementia. International Journal of Computers in Healthcare, 1 (4), 332.

Gomersall, T., Smith, S.K., Blewett, C., & Astell, A. (n.d.). 'It's definitely not Alzheimer's': Perceived benefits and drawbacks of a mild cognitive impairment diagnosis. British Journal of Health Psychology, 22 (4), 786-804.

Other activities

External Examiner for MSc Dementia Studies, University of Hull. Trustee of Sheffcare Ltd, Sheffield’s largest residential and daycare not for profit organisation.

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