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Dr Crystal Kwan
PolyU Scholars Hub

Dr Crystal KWAN

Thetos Foundation Young Scholar in Social Services, Assistant Professor


Dr Crystal Kwan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Social Sciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her professional mission is to enhance the lives of marginalised and isolated older adults by working with them to address problems and realise possibilities. Prior to academia, she worked as a community social worker and co-developed a community capacity-building programme called Elder Service Corps. Her interests and experiences include practice research (including Community-Based Participatory Research) and visual methodologies; ageing, poverty, and homelessness; community and international development; social policy; green social work; livelihoods; and social work education/professional development. Qualitative research methods are her primary approach to inquiry.

Education and Academic Qualifications

  • PhD in Social Work (University of Calgary)
  • MSW (University of Calgary)
  • BA (University of Calgary)

Professional Qualifications

Registered Social Worker

Research Interests

  • Qualitative research methods
  • Practice research (including community-based participatory research)
  • Visual methodologies
  • Aging, livelihoods, poverty, and homelessness
  • Community and international development
  • Social policy
  • Green and disaster social work
  • Social work education and continuing professional development

Grants (selected)

Research Grants Council (RGC), University Grants Committee (UGC) Hong Kong PI: Kwan, C. Examining Poverty Dynamics Across the Life Span of Elder-headed Households. Funded by RGC Early Career Scheme (ECS) Funding, UGC, Hong Kong. Approved amount: HK$580,500. Starting date: January 2021. (24 months) 

PI: Kwan, C. Evaluating the Flipped Classroom Method on Student ePortfolio Learning Experiences. Funded by the Educational Development Centre (EDC), Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Approved amount: HK$200,000. Starting date: June 2020. (12 months)

PI: Kwan, C. The Forgotten Workforce: The Case of the “Cardboard Grannies” in Hong Kong. Funded by the Departmental General Research Funds, the Department of Applied Social Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Approved amount: HK$90,000. Starting date: March 2019. (24 months)

PI: Schoeb Mezzanotte, V.; Co-PI: Wong, A.; Co-I: Kwan, C.; Co-I: Opsommer, E. Older people’s experience of living with chronic low back pain in Western and Eastern cultures. Funded by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), through the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland. Approved amount: CHF25,000 (HK$210,800). Starting date: January 2021. (12 months)

PI: Ku, B.; Co-PI: Kwan, C.; Co-I: Chiang, V.; Co-I: Qi, H.; Co-I: Yip, K. Enhancing Quality of Life in a Disaster Affected Community in Ya’an of Sichuan by a Community-based Post-disaster Health Model. Funded by the Dr. Tsang Hin Chi Education Foundation for Sichuan Projects, FHSS, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Approved amount: HK$954,400. Starting date: March 2021. (24 months)


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