Introduction: Methodological Innovation

What delineates much of my research is its methodological approach. Critical qualitative health researchers challenge themselves to critically examine current modes of knowledge production, engage creatively with research methodologies, and reflexively utilize diverse theoretical frameworks. Adopting this approach in my research has produced new methodological knowledge including the design of a flexible and creative research method and a unique cross-disciplinary approach to rehabilitation research.

A collaborative cross-disciplinary narrative approach – A strength of my research lies in my ability to integrate multiple perspectives by engaging researchers across disciplines, collaborating with a wide range of health professionals, and ensuring community participation. Using a narrative approach, data is produced in a storytelling format that opens-up a rich and empathetic dialogue from diverse and often disparate groups. Rather than simplification, the analysis highlights the complexity and messiness of health-related issues to generate innovative ways forward in addressing these issues.

The moving interview – Drawing on phenomenology that prioritizes experiential and embodied knowledge, I have developed an innovative interview strategy – "the moving interview". This method addresses limitations of traditional interviewing and participant observation while explicitly acknowledging the role of the researcher in data production. Moving with study participants in their natural settings while observing and interviewing them as they negotiate their physical and social environment, the moving interview allows me to ‘capture’ the lived experience of study participants in place and in a way that emphasizes movement (Gardner, P. 2011 & 2014). The major contribution of the moving interview is the purposeful turning of the research gaze to include the researcher's own embodied experience. From this perspective, analysis and interpretation doesn’t seek to ‘hide’, but instead use the researcher's own multisensory experience. The moving interview strategy has generated interest from scholars and hospital-based researchers attending workshops I have delivered on this method. The flexibility and effectiveness of this method is demonstrated in its wide range of use; it is a key method of data collection in my work with Methologica to assess how hospital design impacts the wellbeing of patients and staff while also adaptable to use with undergraduate students for a course-based research project that examines the age-friendliness of neighbourhoods.

While a relatively new scholar, there is evidence to indicate I am emerging as a well-respected methodologist. I am a faculty fellow and was recently appointed as the continuing education coordinator with the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research (CQ) at the University of Toronto (http://www.ccqhr.utoronto.ca/). CQ is an internationally recognized hub for qualitative research design and methodological innovation. In addition, I teach methodology workshops that draw participants from hospitals and universities and am part of a team of critical qualitative health scholars invited to share our expertise with national and international audiences. Most recently I was invited as a keynote speaker to present an advanced seminar on critical qualitative health research at the international DIPEx (Database of Individual Patient Experience) Conference in Montreal, QC (October 2, 2017).

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