Lindsay Prior is Professor of Sociology at Queens University, Belfast. He is currently a Principal Investigator for the Health Policy Research stream within the recently opened Northern Ireland Centre of Excellence in Public Health. Since the mid 1980s, his research interests have been split between medical sociology and the sociology of health and illness and the design and use of qualitative research methods - particularly those that involve the use of text and documentation. In past years he has a acted as Principal Investigator for major awards from the Wellcome Trust (Biomedical Ethics Programme), the ESRC (Innovative Health Technologies Programme), the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, and various NHS R&D Offices. The research work associated with these grants has covered a wide range of health-related topics and interests, including a focus on lay understandings of health and disease, and the application of qualitative research methods to health service research problems.