Calderdale group studying role of funerals during grieving process

A study on how the funeral in the grieving process is now underway and anyone who has been involved in organising a funeral is invited to participate.
Dr Sarah JonesDr Sarah Jones
Dr Sarah Jones

The study, known as ‘Funeral Experts by Experience’, is led by Dr Julie Rugg from the University of York and Dr Sarah Jones from Full Circle Funerals in Halifax.

The research is overseen by an expert panel including the National Society of Allied Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF), The Good Funeral Guide and the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM).

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Dr Julie Rugg said: “During our initial research, lots of the participants shared their opinions about how people are physically looked after once the funeral director has been called, as well as the level of contact with the body.

“This became a focal point and raised further important questions that we plan to explore further.

"We are now asking volunteers to share their experiences, views and possible recommendations about how funeral directors care for people who have died.

The research is open to people from all ethnic, cultural and religious or non-religious backgrounds who lost a loved one before the Covid-19 pandemic.

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"In addition, we would like to invite funeral directors to contribute with their thoughts regarding care for people who have died prior to the Covid-19 pandemic," said Dr Rugg.

This second phase of the study aims to reveal, analyse and process people’s ideas, concerns and expectations about how someone is physically cared for after they have died and the personal care given to the body.

Last year the organisations completed the first phase of the research which has since been presented at several funeral industry conferences and events.

The study identified all the factors that bereaved people consistently said were important to them when arranging or attending a funeral.

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Dr Sarah Jones said: “We have created an online questionnaire for funeral directors to complete and are asking anyone who has been involved in a funeral to share their experience and views with us, either during a short telephone interview or by videocall.

“We believe that understanding what bereaved people want, means the funeral industry as a whole can continue to improve the quality of funeral care services and this robust research and insight will help to set standards, training and future regulations.”.

Full Circle Funerals, which prides itself on supporting people to create funerals that truly reflect the person who has died, launched in Guiseley in 2016 and quickly secured a listing as a ‘Recommended Funeral Director’ from the influential Good Funeral Guide. The following year it was named the ‘Best Modern Funeral Director in the UK’ at The Good Funeral Awards.

More information about the research, as well as the previous published report, is available at: and funeral directors wanting to participate will find the link to the survey there.