Tag Archives: publications

2016 Research Year in Review: Grants, Publications, Citations, and Media Attention

So it’s September 2017, and I’m just now getting around to my 2016 yearly review 🙂 I guess being off on parental leave all year certainly takes its toll on free-time and how I allocate that time.

Luckily, I made screenshots on January 1st of various markers to better record my early review.

To see what I’ve accomplished this year, I want to go back and see what I did last year for comparison purposes. Luckily I can click on this link to remind myself. Marking my first full year as a postdoc, 2016 was a great year!

My single biggest research accomplishment was that I secured my very first research grant! I applied for a gender-focused research grant through Stockholm’s Läns Landsting (County Council). The grant is for 500,000 SEK for two years (250,000 SEK per year). So while not a huge grant, it was very exciting to receive my first grant. And this grant allows me to continue my father research.

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In 2017, Stockholm county will implement a new father-only visit when the child is three-to-five months old. I received the grant, along with co-applicant, Dr. Malin Bergström, to evaluate the implementation, as well as the familial outcomes of this community-based intervention.

While I had some temporary postdoc positions in 2015 with Child Health and Parenting (CHAP) at Uppsala University and at the Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS) at Stockholm University, in 2016, I started a 100% position in Child and Adolescent Public Health Epidemiology Group, Department of Public Health at Karolinska Institute under Dr. Finn Rasmussen. However, wanting to continue my research with Dr. Malin Bergström at CHESS on fathers in the Swedish child health field, I negotiated an 80-20 split.

Finn hired me to run a Job Seeking intervention for young (18-24) high school dropouts who were currently seeking employment, among other register-based research. This project took a dramatic turn before I even started–instead of working with Arbetsförmedlingen, we would now need to run the project ourselves, meaning we would make the program online. Similarly, we needed to device a whole new manual, as some collaborators from Finland, with their School2Work program, fell through.

So I started working on this project from scratch throughout the year, in collaboration with Finn and Dr. Ata Ghaderi.


Publications were still ongoing however. In 2016, I had five publications:

  1. Wells MB. Literature review shows that fathers are still not receiving the support they want and need from Swedish child health professionals. Acta Paediatrica. 2016;105(9):1014-23.
  2. Wells MB, Sarkadi A, Salari R. Mothers’ and fathers’ attendance in a community-based universally offered parenting program in Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. 2015;44:274-80.
  3. Wells MB, Lang SN. Supporting Same-Sex Mothers in the Nordic Child Health Field: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta-synthesis of the Most Gender Equal Countries. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 2016;25(23-24):3469-83.
  4. Bergström M, Wells MB, Söderblom M, Ceder S, Demner E. Projektet Pappa på BVC: Barnhälsovården i Stockholms län 2013-2015. Stockholms län landsting: 2016.
  5. Wellander L, Wells MB, Feldman I. Does Prevention Pay? Costs and Potential Cost-savings of School Interventions Targeting Children with Mental Health Problems. Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics. 2016;19(2):91-101.

Technically, #2 came out in December of 2015, and therefore I reported it last year. In addition, #4 is a Swedish report, not a peer-review article. So I had three new peer-review articles published in 2016; two of which were meta-sythenses. While many postdocs may have more publications in a year, I was quite proud for two reasons: 1) it takes a PhD student four years to publish 3 papers and one manuscript, so having recently received my PhD the year before, I liked the idea of doing a “PhD” in one year and 2) I just had my first child in January 2016, and so it was a hectic year with a nice parenting learning curve on top of juggling full time work and commuting from Uppsala to Stockholm daily.

I took a course on how to conduct Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses, but quickly learned that most studies completed in the child health field are qualitative in nature. Therefore, I independently learned about meta-syntheses and meta-ethnographies, and then completed two articles using these methods. I was very proud of these articles because 1) I learned a method and completed it on my own (for one of the articles) and 2) I was able to contribute a larger voice to how parents are and are not supported in the Nordic and Swedish child health fields, respectively.

It wasn’t only me who was proud–apparently other researchers were also proud. For example, Dr. Hugo Lagercrantz, the editor of Acta Paediatrica, wrote about my findings in his “highlights in this issue”. Having published in Acta Paediatrica a couple of times before this, it was cool to see my research being highlighted.

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But, then they invited Dr. Sven Bremberg to write an editorial on why we should “Support fathers in the child health field“, where he springboarded his editorial based off of my article. That was super cool! To see a well-known researcher highlighting why your research is important and necessary. Boom!

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Sweden also wanted to get in on the conversation!

While I had had a few interviews before, I had my 15 minutes of fame after publishing these back-to-back literature reviews, although much more notoriety and focus was on fathers, rather than same-sex mothers, sadly.

Initially vetenskapsradio (science radio–sort of the Swedish NPR radio station) interviewed me, paying particular attention to my findings on the ways fathers are treated throughout the Swedish child health field. It was a really pleasant experience, even though I desperately struggled to say one or two sentences in Swedish.

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After that news story broke, I not only had friends calling, texting, and Facebooking messages to me saying they heard me on the radio (I didn’t even know people listened to vetenskapsradio), but also TT, a news reporting agency similar to the Associated Press, picked up the story and re-reported it (without talking to me). This meant that the story was in basically every Swedish paper, from national papers to small local ones.

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By the afternoon, I had received a phone call from Rapport; I was going to be on the national evening news. That was exciting!


And then my day long fame had ended….until I met a father at a park three weeks later, and he recognized me from the news report. That was a cool feeling!

My citations also significantly grew. In 2015, I had 74 citations, while at the start of January 2016, I had 118, according to my ScholarGoogle page. My h-index increased from 5 to a 6, while my i10-index increased from 2-5.

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ResearchGate numbers also grew. In 2015, I had 1066 reads and in 2016 I had 2310. ResearchGate however has far fewer reads than the publications website and the number of citations ResearchGate finds is considerably lower than ScholarGoogle or even PubMed. Moreover, they keep changing their metrics, so it’s hard to compare year to year, but my ResearchGate score went from a 16.87 to 20.02.

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I have also been able to do a bit of teaching, although not nearly enough. For example, I have given lectures in 1) Sexual and Reproductive Health I (a course for midwives in Women’s and Children’s Health), where I talked about the importance of involving fathers in the child health field and 2) How to Conduct a Literature Review and Meta-analysis mainly for PhD students/postdocs in Public Health, where I talked about conducting a meta-synthesis.

I was however also invited to give a talk at “Mödra- och barnhälsovårdens gemensamma studieeftermiddag” where again, I discussed fathers in the Swedish child health field.

Lastly, I helped to write a debate article that was printed in Svenska Dagbladet, a major Swedish newspaper on supporting fathers.

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While I never heard from the public on this issue, I did upset a colleague by participating in this debate article. I guess you just can’t please everyone.



My Research Year in Review: Publications, Citations, and Attractions

Last year I wrote a blog post about my research from 2008 until the present (2014).

Today, I’ll write my one year review.

Clearly the highlight of my year was writing, publishing, and defending my PhD dissertation (PhD avhandling) entitled An Unequal Chance to Parent: Examples on Support Fathers Receive from the Swedish Child Health Field.


Preparing the dissertation, as well as preparing to defend took nearly half a year, starting at the tail-end of 2014, and on through until April 29th, 2015…the magical defense day. You can read more information about the artwork, the spikning, the final product (aka the defense), and the party.

While working on my dissertation, I had two other main projects: 1) to mentor a medical student in how to conduct research and 2) to plan and execute the itinerary for my former master’s advisor, Dr. Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan. After receiving a travel grant, we flew her over from the USA to Sweden to have her provide lectures to different groups of researchers, individually work with various PhD Students, and to have her promote her research to different researchers.

Sarah flew over to support our research group, and provided invaluable advice while preparing for my defense.

It was a highlight of my year to be able to give a little something back to my former advisor…even if preparing for my PhD defense was a full-time job.

Research Gap

The most unfortunate thing after graduating was having to leave the country for an unknown period of time, while I waited for my visa to change from a student visa to a visiting researcher visa. But at least I was employable!

I had two job offers: one as a postdoc at the Child Health and Parenting (CHAP) Research Group in Women’s and Children’s Health at Uppsala University (AKA- the same research group I earned my PhD from) (60%) and a researcher position via St. Goran’s Hospital & Women’s and Children’s Health at Karolinska Institutet (40%). In the latter position, I started working with Dr. Malin Bergström.

Malin was the first person to ever approach me at a conference and utter the words “I’ve read your work.” That simple sentence led us down a path to our current projects (and obviously made me feel super cool!).

While my postdoc position at CHAP was to continue finishing up current projects, I was to start a very natural progression of analyzing data on Swedish child health nurses’ current attitudes toward father involvement at the child health centers, and to start helping to develop an evaluation protocol for a new program the nurses were providing to families of three-year-olds with Malin (as well as Dr. Emma Fransson & Dr. Anders Hjern via CHESS, Stockholm University).


  1. Wells, M.B., Salari, R., & Sarkadi, A. (In Press). Mothers’ and Fathers’ Attendance in a Community-Based Universally Offered Parenting Program in Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, Volume (Issue), page numbers.
  2. Wells, M.B., Engman, J., & Sarkadi, A. (2015). Gender equality in Swedish child health centers: An analysis of their physical environments and parental behaviours. Accepted for publication in Semiotica: Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies.
  3. Wells, M.B. (2015). Predicting Preschool Teacher Retention and Turnover in Newly Hired Head Start Teachers Across the First Half of the School Year. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 30, 152-159.

Article 1 is my fourth and final article that completes my PhD dissertation! It is the first article to explore gender differences between parents (e.g. mothers and fathers) in relation to why they participate in a parent support program (e.g. Triple P Positive Parenting Program).

Of those researchers on ResearchGate, this article was the most read article from Women’s and Children’s Health (for that week). It felt cool to see that people were interested in my research, especially since there are so many researchers doing really highly quality research.

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Article 2 was also in my PhD dissertation. This was the first article I ever collected data on, and the first article I ever tried to get published. The fact that I have since had five other publications before this one though is a tribute to the valuable lessons I learned from this first research project: how to collect data, how to write an article for publication, and the most valuable lesson–learning the importance of developing a strong methodology. But now it’s finally published! 🙂

Article 3 was discussed in last year’s update.

Technically, a 4th article was published:

  • Wellander, L., Wells, M.B., & Feldman, I. (2015). Does prevention pay?: Health and economic impact of preventive interventions for school children aimed to improve mental health. Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, 18(S1).
    *The actual citation writes Inna Feldman’s name as “Jima Feldman”.

This article is published in a supplementary edition of the journal since it is a conference abstract (the conference took place in Venice, Italy and was run by the aforementioned journal).


My citations greatly increased this year according to ScholarGoogle from 19 in 2014 to 34 in 2015.

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I have also learned some valuable lessons about citations:

  1. Self-citations definitely happen
    • My dissertation alone vastly boosted my alleged citations
  2. Your research network cites your work
    • Maintain healthy relationships to get more citations
  3. Masters and doctoral students will cite you
    • Apparently established researchers are mainly only following lesson number 2 (above); even if your research would fit in perfectly with their own
  4. Use conferences and send personal emails to promote your work
    • People will cite you if they 1) know that your research exists and 2) if you take a few minutes to introduce yourself

I haven’t had too many citations from professional researchers who either my colleagues or myself do not already know. Hopefully this will be a nut that gets cracked as I build my resume, produce more, and establish a bigger name for myself…either that or networking is just as important in garnering citations, as it is in getting employed.

My PhD dissertation has been viewed and downloaded quite a bit (relative to others).

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ResearchGate also states that my articles (as a group) have been “read” (a combination of viewed and downloaded) over 1000 times. It’s hard to compare from 2014, since they changed their terminology. For example last year, I had 816 views and 969 downloads.

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These numbers though must pale in comparison to downloaded articles from the actual journal (imagine that, a professional organization does better than my personal website 😉

For example, in just looking at my Early Childhood Research Quarterly article, over a 9-month period, this one article was viewed 655 times.

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Invited Talks

I was invited to provide a conference talk for the Stockholm University Demography Unit and the Linnaeus Center on Social Policy and Family Dynamics in Europe at Stockholm University. I gave a presentation and a paper entitled “The Swedish Ploy of Promoting Equal Parenting:  Paradoxes in Policy Implementation Regarding Paternal Involvement in Childcare.”

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Click here to see the presentation.

I was also invited to speak at the 6th Annual Conference: Focus on Fatherhood for around 100 child health nurses in Kista, Stockholm, Sweden. I gave a presentation called “Father Involvement is Important: Ways to Decrease Paternal Barriers.”

My Blog
This blog has increased traffic quite a bit as well. While my blog received 15,000 views in 2014, my views significantly increased to 25,000 in 2015. The most common views are by far the posts related to different questionnaires and scales (e.g. not my personal work).

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I find this interesting because it tells me that 1) people want to look up questionnaires and scales to learn more about them and 2) there aren’t many websites that promote questionnaires and scales.

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I wrote about the different questionnaires and scales (e.g. research tools) that I use in my own research–not so much to inform others, but just to remind myself what that tool could be used for. However, it seems that people crave more knowledge about particular tools. So far though, I have taken little responsibility in updating and adding to the tool-related posts–since they aren’t my tools that I’ve developed.

Even so, my website often comes up as the number one hit on Google. People who have invested interests in these tools could benefit from promoting them to a greater extent….and other researcher would also benefit from their knowledge.

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Researchers always question if they have done enough throughout the year. Writing about a few of my highlights puts my accomplishments in perspective.

And I haven’t even written about the “soft” accomplishments–like learning new methodologies and statistics, mentoring PhD students, leading seminars, teaching, and presenting at conferences.

Keeping in mind what I have accomplished all year helps raise my self-esteem and lowers my self-deprecating thoughts of not doing enough.

Future Research:

As 2015 winds down, I look forward to starting a new postdoc position in Public Health at Karolinska Institutet working in Dr. Finn Rasmussen’s research group (80%) and another postdoc position with Dr. Malin Bergström, Dr. Emma Fransson, and Dr. Anders Hjern at the Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS) at Stockholm University/Karolinska Institutet in the Elvis Project.

I am eager to see what 2016 brings!

My Research in Review: 2008-2014

My first publication came in 2012. I worked with a colleague, the lead author of the manuscript, Christina Stenhammar (now Dr Stenhammar) on her article entitled “Children are exposed to temptation all the time –Parents’ lifestyle-related discussions in focus groups” published in Acta Paediactrica.

But that was my first peer reviewed article. Although I worked, mainly for Head Start, between 2008 and 2012, I had published two documents in 2008: 1) my master’s thesis entitled Father-Child Play: A Longitudinal Study on Fathers’ Parenting and Child Cognitive Development and Academic Achievement Across the Transition to School with Dr Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan as my main advisor and a book chapter published in Swedish called “BVC ur ett genusperspektiv” (Child Health Centers from a Gendered Perspective) published in Föräldrastöd I Sverige idag: Vad, när och hur? (Parents in Sweden Today: What, When and How?). This book chapter was co-authored by Jonas Engman and later revised and turned into a peer-reviewed journal article with Dr. Anna Sarkadi: “Gender equality in Swedish child health centers: An analysis of their physical environments and parental behaviours” published in Semiotica: Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies (2015).

This article is one of five that will comprise my PhD thesis. The other articles are:

Wells, M.B. & Sarkadi, A. (2012). Do father-friendly policies promote father-friendly child-rearing practices? Reviewing Swedish Parental Leave and Child Health Centers. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(1), 25-31.

Wells, M.B., Varga, G., Kerstis, B., & Sarkadi, A. (2013). Swedish child health nurses’ views of early father involvement: A qualitative study. Acta Paediatrica, 102(7), 755-761.

Wells, M.B., Salari, R., & Sarkadi, A. Who participates in a Swedish parenting intervention: A look at mothers and fathers self-selection to participate in Triple P. (Currently under review).

Rahmqvist, J., Wells, M.B., & Sarkadi, A. (2014). Conscious parenting: A qualitative study on Swedish parents’ motives to participate in a parenting program. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23(5), 934-944.

My two PhD advisors are Dr Anna Sarkadi and Dr Raziye Salari, and therefore, it only makes sense that the three of us would collaborate to publish a paper together:

Salari, R., Wells, M.B., & Sarkadi, A. (2014). Child behaviour problems, parenting behaviours and parental adjustment in mothers and fathers in Sweden. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 42, 547-553.

After having spent time living in Sweden and writing a well-cited article on the interplay of Sweden’s parental leave policies and their child health care program, I wanted to dig deeper in Sweden’s family policies. And so I started working with Dr Disa Bergnehr on a book chapter “Families and Family Policies in Sweden” in Dr Mihaela Robila‘s edited Handbook of Family Policies Across the Globe.

Having worked with my advisors, collaborated with other researchers, and supported PhD students in their research, I thought it was time to see if I could design, implement, analyze, write, and publish an article on my own.

Now that it’s January 1, 2015, I’m extremely delighted to say that I was able to accomplish this. Not only to publish my own research, but to publish it in one of the best education journals (and the best early childhood education journal) Early Childhood Research Quarterly (currently has an impact factor of 2.058 with a 5-year impact factor of 3.657, making ECRQ the best journal I’ve been published in so far (see below for a debate I had with myself on this statement).

Wells, M.B. (2015). Predicting Preschool Teacher Retention and Turnover in Newly Hired Head Start Teachers Across the First Half of the School Year. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 30, 152-159.

Another published article was in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, which has an impact factor of 3.125, but ECRQ is ranked 19th out of 219 in Education (best 8.7%), while SJPH 21st out of 162 in Public, Environmental, and Occupational Health (best 13%); making ECRQ “better”.

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Beyond these publications are two published abstracts and a published report:

Wells, M.B. (2013). A quantitative look at preschool teachers’ retention: A study on Head Start teachers. 23rd EECERA Conference: Values, Culture and Contexts, 243.

Wells, M., Varga, G., & Sarkadi, A. (2012). Wanting to actively promote fathers: A qualitative study on Swedish child health nurses’ views of father involvement. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 19, Supplement 1, S195.

Feldman, I., Wellander, L., Sampaio, F., Wells, M., & Sarkadi, A. (2014). Med manga bäcker att stämma i – hur ska vi prioritera och hur beräknar vi kostnaden? En förstudie om beräkningar av kostnader och potentiella besparingar vid förebyggande insatser kring barn och unga i riskzon.


ResearchGate, a personal website for individual researchers to share their work, says that my publications have been downloaded 969 times with an RG score of 15.14 (a score higher than 57.5% of other ResearchGate users). I’m not sure how many other downloads my articles have had, nor am I ultimately sure if nearly 1000 downloads is a high or low number–but it sounds like a lot of people are at least interested in downloading my research.

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In 2012 I had my first citation according to Scholar Google. Now, Scholar Google overexaggerates the citations, as it includes non-peer reviewed manuscripts, but still, others are reading my research and citing them.

In 2012, I had 5 citations, by 2013 that number over doubled to 13, and in 2014 my citations increased an additional 19, for a total of 37 citations. Will be terrifyingly interesting to see if these numbers continue increasing for 2015!

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These citations should be increased though, as I know I was cited in The invisible father: How can child healthcare services help fathers to feel less alienated? in Anna Sarkadi’s editorial, where she cites Gender equality in Swedish child health centres: An analysis of their physical environments and parental behaviours but instead called it Who is most welcome here? A qualitative study on Swedish child health centre’s environment from a gender perspective (a previous title we had given the same paper prior to its acceptance for publication—this is a nice reminder to always check and update CVs to make sure they include the latest article titles).

Beyond the citations, I am most grateful for being invited to three talks to discuss my research. Of course, like all researchers, I have attended and presented at several national and international conferences, but to be invited to speak at different venues highlights that others acknowledge the importance of my research and want to hear more about it. In fact, for the Barnhälsovård Nationell Konferens in Umeå, I had my flight paid for (first time to be compensated for a talk!).

Wells, M.B. (2014, Oct.). Advocating for Father Involvement in Swedish Child Health Care. Barnhälsovård Nationell Konferens (National Child Health Conference) in Umeå, Sweden.

Wells, M.B. (2013, Oct.). Fathers in the Swedish Healthcare System: Are They Treated Equally? Barnklinikens fredagsmöten (Children’s Clinic Friday Meetings) in Uppsala, Sweden.

Wells, M.B. (2013, May). Almost a Parent: The Treatment of Fathers in Sweden and Internationally. Välkommen till våra Vårluncher: Socialpediatriska forskargruppen (Welcome to our Spring Lunches: Social Pediatrics Research Team) in Uppsala, Sweden.

Most recently, the popular media has picked up on my research, and thanks to Dr Malin Bergström, I was interviewed for a piece on father involvement at the Swedish child health centers in the very popular Swedish parenting magazine Vi Föräldrar! The title of the piece is Äntligen! Papporna får Egentid på BVC (Finally, Fathers get their own time at the Child Health Centers).

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At the end of April I will finish my PhD and it will be interesting to look back at my accomplishments posted here, because I suspect nothing else will have been accomplished, since my focus will be primarily on my dissertation, as well as mentoring a final year medical student, attending two international conferences, and finishing writing another article (with Lisa Wellander and Dr Inna Feldman).

All in all, not a bad start!