Karen has over 20 years of experience in senior/executive roles in social research and evaluation, gained in Australia (the Social Research Centre in Melbourne), the UK (Loughborough University and BMG Research), and Saudi Arabia (National Center for Social Studies, Riyadh).
A qualitative specialist, Karen's experience includes leading research studies and evaluations for government, universities, private companies and the not-for-profit sector, as well as strategic planning, leadership and management tasks.
Karen's expertise covers all aspects of social research from design to delivery across a wide range of public and social policy areas such as employment, welfare, education, disability, health, family violence, marginalised young people and other 'at risk' groups.
Karen is also a certified proofreader and editor (College of Media and Publishing).
Karen has led 100s of research projects over her career - a few select examples are provided below:
Karen has also conducted 100s of focus groups, in-depth interviews and cognitive interviews covering a broad range of subjects (such as disability, health, policing, safety, violence, drug misuse and unemployment) and engaging with a wide variety of stakeholder groups from the general public to senior policy officials.
I had the good fortune to work with Karen Kellard for almost 10 years, from 2012 to 2021, in my capacity as Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Social Research Centre (SRC) in Melbourne, Australia.
At the time of recruiting Karen, SRC was already strongly committed to methodological rigour, methodological advancement, and total transparency with respect to social science survey research. Karen brought all these attributes to the SRC in her practice of qualitative research and this alignment of research philosophies underpinned Karen’s successes with SRC and the subsequent establishment and growth of its Qualitative Research Business Unit.
Karen has an array of professional skills, as well as personal attributes including tenacity, hard-work, loyalty and a commitment to her craft. Karen is a skilled communicator, in writing and in person, with expertise in extracting traceable research evidence from sometimes unruly qualitative data. Karen is also a great teacher and role model - the consummate professional.
I highly recommend Karen and wish Lotus Social Research Services every success.
We approached Karen to help us with our research project ‘Understanding the barriers to seeking treatment for addiction’. The research had been commissioned by Public Health Leicestershire to better inform them for their next procurement round for substance misuse services in 2025 and we had little to no experience of this kind of thing within the organisation.
Karen was amazing and supported us through the whole process sharing her knowledge and experience to better inform our project from proposal right through to the analysis of the data. Karen’s provided initial training to our staff on qualitative research and qualitative interviewing so we could establish a good understanding before we embarked on gathering our data. Karen also recorded a session on interviewing techniques and data analysis, providing tips and best practice for conducting research which was invaluable allowing us to return to it again and again.
Karen’s continuous support and genuine interest in our project brought the subject alive and made it possible for us to successfully meet the outcomes for our commissioners. I would have no hesitation in recommending Karen to anyone looking to carry out research or asking for Karen’s support again with any future research projects.
I was fortunate to work with Karen on numerous high-profile, complex, and occasionally sensitive social research projects during the mid-2000s. Karen's expertise in her field is extensive, and her dedication to her work is admirable. Her knowledge of research techniques is vast, plus her professionalism and genuine passion shine through to every project. Karen's meticulous approach and empathetic nature are particularly evident when handling projects concerning delicate subject areas. Additionally, she is an exceptional collaborator who inspires, motivates, and establishes confidence in all those around her. I cannot recommend Karen enough.