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Reproductive Sociology Research Group


Elisabeth Sandler (she/her) is a fully funded Sociology PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge. Her intersectional PhD research, supervised by Professor Sarah Franklin and Dr Marcin Smietana, explores the coming and being out experiences of LGBTQIA+ identifying Cambridge students and staff members. The findings from this study will generate action points that can be used to improve the lives of LGBTQIA+ students and university employees within the UK and beyond. This piece of research is a continuation and expansion of the ‘Out at Cambridge’ study (lgbtQ+@cam) for which Elisabeth worked as a full-time researcher in 2019.

Her academic background is in Educational Sciences (BA, University of Innsbruck), Research Training (MSc, University of Oxford), and Reproductive Sociology (MPhil, University of Cambridge). Elisabeth’s teaching focusses on qualitative research methods, gender, sexuality, family sociology, and includes organisations such as the University of Cambridge (UK), University of Innsbruck (Austria), University of Hamburg (Germany), and ViaX (China).

In addition to her PhD and teaching, Elisabeth worked as a research assistant for ReproSoc and lgbtQ+@cam (Department of Sociology). Between 2019 and 2020, she further volunteered as a LGBTQ+ MCR co-officer at Newnham College and is currently volunteering as a researcher for the ‘Newnham Queer Archive’ project.


Research projects

PhD research (2019 - present, University of Cambridge):

- Working title: 'Coming out within higher education: Exploring LGBTQIA+ identifying Cambridge students and staff members’ coming and being out experiences and what universities can do to help'

- Methods: Semi-structured online interviews, sounding board interviews, systematic review, documentary analysis, thematic analysis, ATLAS.ti, diversity advisory board

- Supervisors: Professor Sarah Franklin, Dr Marcin Smietana


Newnham Queer Archive project (2021 - present):

- Methods: questionnaires, oral history interviews


'Out at Cambridge' study (2019, University of Cambridge):

- See:

- Methods: Semi-structured interviews, thematic analysis


MPhil research (2017 - 2018, University of Cambridge):

- Title: '"I can't be a parent if I'm not there": Investigating how leave shapes parental identity experience among female same‐sex parents'

- Methods: Diary-interview method (DIM), creative interview methods (sentence completion, photo elicitation), thematic analysis, NVivo

- Supervisor: Dr Robert Pralat


MSc research (2016 - 2017, University of Oxford):

- Title: 'Relearning gender: Exploring lesbian women’s parenting roles'

- Methods: Participant observation, biographical interviews, couple interviews, creative interview methods (task mapping, photo elicitation), narrative analysis (ethnographic portraiture)

- Supervisor: Associate Professor David Mills


BA research (2015, University of Innsbruck):

- Title: 'Beyond pure love: A definition of child instrumentalisation'

- Methods: Theoretical work (gift theory, attachment theory)

- Supervisor: Dr Johannes Huber




- PhD studentship 2019 (School of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Cambridge)

- Travers Smith lgbtQ+@cam Doctoral Bursary 2019 (lgbtQ+@cam, University of Cambridge)



- Nominated for state prize „Ars docendi“ 2021 (Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research, Austria)

- Nominated for teaching prize “LehrePLUS” 2020 (University of Innsbruck)



- Scholarship Club Alpbach Tirol 2016 (European Forum Alpbach, Austria)

- “Highly Commended” in Education 2015 (The Undergraduate Awards, Ireland)

- Fellowship for gifted students and superior academic achievements 2014 & 2015 (University of Innsbruck, Austria)

- Golden Bird in the category “Best Leading Actress” 2014 (Papageno Award: International Youth Theatre Award, Austria)


gender and sexuality studies, LGBTQIA+ studies, family sociology, identity and role theory, queer theory, intersectionality, qualitative research methods, creative interview methods (e.g. sensory methodology, activities)


Key publications: 

Sandler, E. T. (2022). LGBTQ+ Inclusion at Universities: Testimonies and Recommendations from the ‘Out at Cambridge’ Study. In: K. Schnegg, C. Voithofer, M. Auer, & J. Tschuggnall (Eds.), Inter- und multidisziplinäre Perspektiven der Geschlechterforschung. Innsbrucker Gender Lectures IV (pp. 119–152). Innsbruck: Innsbruck University Press. DOI: 10.15203/99106-067-3-08 

lgbtQ+@cam (2019). Out at Cambridge: Why LGBTQ+ disclosure matters to individuals and institutions, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge.

Sandler, Elisabeth Theresa. 2022. “An overview of coming out research: Introducing a three-lens typology.” Sociology Compass (e12958):1–48.

Sandler, Elisabeth Theresa. forthcoming. “LGBTQ+ Inclusion at Universities: Testimonies and Recommendations from the ‘Out at Cambridge’ Study.” In: Innsbrucker Gender Lectures IV, edited by K. Schnegg, C. Voithofer, M. Auer, and J. Tschuggnall. Innsbruck: Innsbruck University Press.



Other publications: 

Research reports:

- lgbtQ+@cam (2019) Out at Cambridge: Why LGBTQ+ disclosure matters to individuals and institutions, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge.


Video features:

- 'Creative Interview Methods within LGBTQ+ Research - Elisabeth Sandler' (Centre for Gender Studies, University of Cambridge, UK).

- 'Out at Cambridge: Elisabeth Sandler' (lgbtQ+@cam, University of Cambridge, UK).

- 'Queer(y)ing the Curriculum: Elisabeth Sandler' (lgbtQ+@cam, University of Cambridge, UK).

- 'LGBTQ+ Inklusion an Universitäten' (Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Centre, University of Innsbruck).

- Epigeum – ‘Research Skills Toolkit: Research Methods in Practice’ (Oxford University Press, UK)

- Epigeum – ‘Research Skills Toolkit: Becoming a Researcher’ (Oxford University Press, UK)


Academic journalism:

- Sandler, Elisabeth (08.05.2020): Away from queer feminist heaven: Challenges and chances of being back in my conservative country of origin. ReproSoc blog. University of Cambridge.

- Sandler, Elisabeth (21.11.2018): The Worth of Female Barbadian Slaves’ Fertility. ReproSoc blog. University of Cambridge.


Teaching and Supervisions


(1) University of Cambridge (UK)

SSRMP (postgraduate students & staff members):

- 'An overview of qualitative data collection and analysis' (lecture) (Michaelmas term 2019, 2020, 2021)

- 'Qualitative research rigour' (lecture) (Lent term 2021, 2022)

- 'Diary methodology' (lecture with workshop) (Lent term 2021, 2022)


Human, Social, and Political Sciences (undergraduate students):

- Undergraduate dissertation supervisor (Michaelmas & Lent term 2021)

- Soc10 Gender: 'Sex and Sexualities' (undergraduate supervision) (Lent term 2021)


Psychological and Behavioural Sciences (undergraduate students):

- PBS8 The Family: 'Introduction to the Sociology of the Family' (undergraduate supervision) (Michaelmas term 2020)


Bioscience Enterprise (postgraduate students):

- 'Skill session: Qualitative research methods' (lecture with workshop) (Lent term 2020, 2021, 2022)

- Supervising postgraduate students on their qualitative MPhil research (Lent term 2020, 2021)



(2) University of Innsbruck (Austria)

Educational Sciences (undergraduate & postgraduate students):

- 'Qualitative methods of Educational Science' (seminar) (winter semester 2018/19, winter semester 2019/20, summer semester 2021)

- 'Methodology and methods of qualitative empirical research: Creative semi-structured interviews' (seminar with workshop) (winter semester 2019/20)



(3) University of Hamburg (Germany)

Sociology (undergraduate students):

- 'Traditional and new approaches to qualitative interviewing I & II' (seminar) (winter semester 2019/20, summer semester 2020)



(4) ViaX Online Education (China)

Social sciences (undergraduate students):

- Supervisor for 1-on-1 Research Program (research areas: sexuality, gender, family)



Research supervision: 

Research groups and affiliations

- ReproSoc (Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge)

- lgbtQ+@cam (Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge)

- Research Platform Center: Interdisciplinary Gender Studies (CGI) (University of Innsbruck)


PhD supervisor

Professor Sarah Franklin

PhD Student
 Elisabeth  Sandler

Contact Details

Email address: