Paula's Teaching Philosophy:

I thought it was really great that the content we learned in class was able to be applied through our project. It not only made my understanding of content and information easier to grasp but it was an amazing experience getting out in the community and applying research skills.

- Brock University Student

Pedagogical Approaches & Perspectives

The course content, format, evaluation scheme and learning processes that I employ through my pedagogical approaches are informed by the following schools of thought:


  1. Critical Reflexive Inquiry is a complex form of higher order reasoning that integrates critical thinking (making sense of things through questioning) and reflexivity (active consideration of personal and epistemological beliefs and values).

  2. Participatory Pedagogy is an educational approach in which multiple perspectives, opinions, and active creation on the part of learners all contribute to the final context of the learner experience. From this perspective, knowledge exchange is considered a shared responsibility among all participants (i.e. instructor and all students).

  3. Experiential Learning is often referred to as ‘learning through action’. In this approach, educators purposefully engage students in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills and clarify values.

  4. Mindfulness is a style of teaching that infuses learning with the experience of present awareness. As a particular method of instruction, mindfulness assists students and educators in awakening and opening their minds to new learning possibilities and more effective ways of being in the classroom.

"My success is best evaluated in the ways in which it impacts the lives and work of my students far beyond my classroom."​

- Paula Gardner, Associate Professor, Brock University


Curious about the types of courses I teach? Read brief course summaries or view and download copies of my course syllabi.

"Experience is at the root of understanding."​

- Paula Gardner, Associate Professor, Brock University

Learning and Teaching Qualitative Research in Ontario: A Resource Guide

Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research


Learning and Teaching Qualitative Research in Ontario: A Resource Guide is a dynamic, interdisciplinary repository of qualitative research methods-related information, designed to facilitate qualitative research methods training and accessibility of methods courses in the health sciences across Ontario universities. The publication is aimed at diverse audiences including graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who may not have any qualitative training or who want additional or advanced training, and masters-prepared healthcare practitioners who want to enhance their opportunities for research collaborations and expand their repertoire of research skills. The book is designed to familiarise users with qualitative research methodologies and methods and course offerings and how to register for them. An orientation to qualitative methods in the health sciences is included, along with lists of introductory and advanced courses, educational and support materials in the form of videos and selected preparatory readings on qualitative research as well as examples of substantive contributions of qualitative methods to the health sciences.


Dr. Paula Gardner delves into teaching qualitative research methods in her chapter "Qualitative Interviewing: More than asking questions and getting answers."

Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, Facey, M., Gastaldo, D., Gladstone, B., & Gagnon, M. (2018). Learning and Teaching Qualitative Research in Ontario: A Resource Guide. Toronto: eCampusOntario. Retrieved from http://qualitativeresearchontario.openetext.utoronto.ca/


Gardner, P. (August 15, 2018). Qualitative Interviewing: More than asking questions and getting answers [video file]. Retrieved from: http://qualitativeresearchontario.openetext.utoronto.ca/.