Working from a theoretical basis, Jo’s work focuses on understanding children as social actors who are located within networks which include inter-generational relationships and structural contexts.  In recent work, Jo has looked at children and sleep, children’s participation, children and vulnerability, and children and flooding. She has also worked with theoretical questions concerning children's agency, particularly in early childhood, and children's politicisation.

Previous research includes studies concerning violence against women and children, and research into researcher practices and processes in multiple methods research. This work in particular engaged with the challenges of integration and triangulation as well as the practicalities of undertaking mixed and multiple methods research.

Jo has also conducted a number of evaluation studies for Surrey County Council looking at the structure of children’s mental health services with respect to all children, Looked After children, children with Learning Disabilities, and children with ADHD. This work has contributed to the development of CAMHS services in Surrey.

A strong commitment to promoting international networks of childhood researchers is reflected in the number of international colloquia and ESA (European Sociological Association) streams on childhood Jo has organised over the years. Together with Madeleine Leonard (Queen’s, Belfast) and Randi Dyblie Nilsen (NTNU, Norway) she  formally established the ‘Sociology of Children and Childhood’ Research Network (RN04) of the ESA in 2006 after working with Leena Alanen (Jyvaskyla, Finland) to initiate this as a research stream from 1999 onwards.  RN04 of the ESA is the key network for European researchers in the sociology and social studies of children and childhood and it is a forum for conferences, the network stream at each ESA conference,  as well as a forum for communication between European researchers in this field. Jo served as Chair of RN04 from 2006 to 2012.

Jo was also Secretary to the International Sociological Association (ISA) Research Committee for Childhood Studies (ISA RC53) from  2002 to 2006. 

Currently Visiting Scholar at the Research Centre ‘Childhoods.Societies’, at the University of Wuppertal in Germany, Jo has also been a visiting academic relating to her work in childhood at the Norwegian Centre for Childhood Research (NOSEB) at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology (NTNU), and Visiting Academic in Mixed Research Methods at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.  She is also on the editorial board of Sozialwissenschaftliche Literatur Rundschau" (Social Sciences Review). More recently she has delivered workshops on childhood studies in Athens for postgraduate students in the School of Education at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.  

Within Sussex Jo is on the steering committee of CIRCY and for C-SWIR.