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CQ Method Talks - Exploring the Creative Presence of the Researcher

Thursday, June 2, 2016 9am – 5pm & Friday, June 3, 2016 9am – 12:30pm
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Please join us this summer at the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research (CQ) for an inaugural series of talks about qualitative methods by well-established researchers in the health sciences. This year CQ Method Talks focuses on the centrality and creativity of the researcher in generating, analyzing and communicating qualitative data. Using concrete examples from different approaches to qualitative research, each presenter will discuss how they think about and use methods to generate data and to translate and exchange knowledge with a variety of audiences.  The series concludes with a discussion about how to thrive as a qualitative researcher in the health sciences.

CQ Method Talks are designed to engage researchers and graduate students who have prior exposure to the basic foundations of qualitative inquiry and are seeking challenge and inspiration in their own work, as well as an opportunity to consolidate what they currently know about practising qualitative research in the health sciences. Each ‘talk’ will consist of a 30-minute presentation followed by a 30-minute dialogue with participants.

View and share the event Flyer.


Thursday, June 2:

9am-12pm – Thinking Method Session

Prof. Joan Eakin – The creative presence of the researcher in critical qualitative health research
Dr. Craig Dale – Re-framing clinicians’ practice concerns through hospital-based video ethnography
Dr. Elizabeth Peter and Dr. Shan Mohammed – Considering ethics: Politics and positionality in critical approaches

Lunch & table top presentations*

1:30 to 4:30pm – Doing Method Session

Dr. Paula Gardner - The moving interview: Exploring health and place using the go-along method
Dr. Denise Gastaldo - Making bodies visible in qualitative health research: The body-map storytelling method
Dr. Debbie Rudman – Linking discourse and narrative analysis: Talking about the aging body

4:30 to 5pm – Wrap Up: Thinking and Doing Method (Dr. Denise Gastaldo)

Friday, June 3:

9-11am – Methods for Translation

Dr. Pia Kontos and Julia Gray, PhD(c) - Performing health: A critical alliance between drama and health research
Dr. Brenda Gladstone and Elaine Stasiulis, PhD(c) - The digital storytelling method: Facilitating participant expression and reaching larger audiences

11-12pm – Challenges and alternatives for thriving as critical qualitative health researchers

Dr.  Janet Parsons and Dr. Corinne Hart – Critical qualitative researchers pushing back and moving forward: Strategies for navigating the biomedical world.

12:15 to 12:30 – Wrap Up: Translating and Exchanging Knowledge (Dr. Denise Gastaldo)

* For those whose funding is dependent on a presentation, during lunch we will have table top presentations. If you opt to do a presentation during the registration process, the organizers will contact you to discuss. 

Registration Process:

Space is limited so pre-registration is required. The deadline for registration is May 15, 2016.

A minimum of 20 participants is required to run this event. 

Rates (includes lunch on June 2nd):
Regular: $465 CDN + 13% HST = $525.00
Student: $300 +13% HST = $340.00

Please follow this link to register:

Cancellation Policy: Registrations may not be cancelled after May 15, 2016.  If you choose to cancel your registration after you have paid, you must notify us no later than May 15, 2016 and we will refund your payment (withholding $50 to cover for administrative costs). If you cancel after May 15, 2016 we will not be able to issue any refund.

Session Descriptions:

June 2, 2016:

The creative presence of the researcher in critical qualitative research
Presenter: Joan Eakin
Description: Unlike other forms of research, qualitative research does not try to neutralize the researcher’s role in the inquiry process in order to enhance objectivity and avoid bias. Instead, in qualitative research, the researcher is positioned as central to the methodology.  This session explains and elaborates on the role of the researcher as methodological instrument. The ‘creative presence’ of the researcher is harnessed to generate fulsome interpretation and conceptualization of the data and to enable ‘value-added’ analysis, which allows researchers to move beyond content analysis, and to maximize the productive capacity of the methodology.

Re-framing clinicians’ practice concerns through hospital-based video ethnography
Presenter: Craig Dale
Description:  Hospital-based video ethnography comprises a reflexive approach to the exploration of complexity in patient care. The recording and review of video data offers a unique opportunity to creatively engage clinicians in reflection on practices that may be taken-for-granted. Drawing upon a recent study, this presentation argues the critical potential of video ethnography is its capacity to redress oversimplified representations of clinical accountabilities. Video can open up the analytic aperture to help clinicians and researchers collaboratively reframe their position in and knowledge of practice issues in the contemporary hospital setting.
Carroll, K. (2009). Outsider, insider, alongsider: Examining reflexivity in hospital-based video research. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 3(3), 246-263.

Considering ethics: Politics and positionality in critical approaches
Presenters: Elizabeth Peter and Shan Mohammed
Description: Standards of research ethics often do not adequately address unique issues relating to the perceived vulnerability of research participants in critical qualitative research. In this presentation we will focus on the role of politics and the positionality of researchers in understanding the ethical issues inherent in this form of research. Throughout examples from a study that involved participants with advanced cancer will be used to illustrate these issues. 
Carusi, A., & Jirotka, M. (2009). From data archive to ethical labyrinth. Qualitative Research, 9, 285–298.
Peter, E. (2015). The Ethics in Qualitative Health Research: Special Considerations. Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, 20 (9)  open access

The moving interview: Exploring health and place using the go-along method
Presenter: Paula Gardner
Description: Place matters. Rather than simple backdrops to life, places have meaning and operate as a kind of process in which social relations and identity are constructed. Interested in the ways in which places – as social and physical spaces – impact the health of those who attend them, I have used the go-along interview method in a variety of contexts. In this session I will highlight key elements of this approach and share insights from studies in three different settings - the neighbourhood, a hospital, and as a course assignment with undergraduate students.
Kusenbach, M. (2003). Street phenomenology: The go-along as ethnographic research tool. Ethnography, 4, 455-485.
Gardner, P. (2014). The role of social engagement and identity in community mobility among older adults aging in place. Disability & Rehabilitation. 36, 1249-1257.

Making bodies visible in qualitative health research: The body-map storytelling method
Presenter: Denise Gastaldo
Description: This method was developed to bring the physical, emotional, spiritual, and social body to the centre of QHR and to help participants to narrate their trajectories and draw themselves among people and in the middle of events, routines, networks that shape their health. This asset-based method assumes participants are knowledgeable and have interest in sharing their stories to increase understanding or promote transformation. The final outcome of the body-map storytelling process is a mapped story composed of 3 elements: a brief story narrated in the first person, a life-size body map, and a key to describe each visual element. As a product, mapped stories offer a creative and visually compelling approach for knowledge translation and exchange.
Reading: Gastaldo, D., Magalhães, L., Carrasco, C., and Davy, C. (2012). Body-Map Storytelling as Research: Methodological considerations for telling the stories of undocumented workers through body mapping.  Retrieved from:

Linking discourse and narrative analysis: Talking about the aging body
Presenter: Debbie Laliberte Rudman
Description: This presentation shares approaches used to interpretively link social and individual ‘stories’ addressing subjectivity, conduct and the body, within a broader study addressing the contemporary discursive reconstruction and negotiation of retirement and aging. It addresses how attending to points of contradictions and tensions within narratives can be employed to critically consider the implications of contemporary socio-political discourses informed by neo-liberal rationality.
Hardin, P. K. (2001). Theory and language: locating agency between free will and discursive marionettes. Nursing Inquiry, 8(1), 11-18.
Rudman, D. L. (2015). Embodying positive aging and neoliberal rationality: Talking about the aging body within narratives of retirement. Journal of aging studies, 34, 10-20.

June 3, 2016:

Performing health: A critical alliance between drama and health research
Presenters: Pia Kontos and Julia Gray
Description: A growing number of qualitative health researchers of diverse disciplinary backgrounds are experimenting with various forms of performance as an innovative approach to making research more accessible and relevant in health care settings. There is increasing empirical support for the effectiveness of research-based drama for learning about health, illness, and patient care in various clinical areas, and effecting both personal and social change. In this compass session we propose to introduce key aspects of the alliance between performance and research, problematize some underpinning assumptions, and explore benefits and challenges of this approach to knowledge translation and exchange.
Goldstein, T., Gray, J., Salisbury, J. and Snell, P. (2014) When qualitative research meets theatre: The complexities of performed ethnography and research-informed theatre project design. Qualitative Inquiry, 20(5), 674-686.
Rossiter, K., Kontos, P., Colantonio, A., Gilbert, J., Gray, J. and Keightley, M. (2008). Staging data: Theatre as a tool for analysis and knowledge transfer in health research. Social Science and Medicine, 66(1), 130-146.

The digital storytelling method: Facilitating participant expression and reaching larger audiences
Presenters: Brenda Gladstone and Elaine Stasiulis
Elaine Stasiulis, MA, Phd (c), is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto.  As a community-based research project manager at Sick Kids Hospital, she has been involved in an extensive range of qualitative and participatory arts-based health research projects with children and young people experiencing mental health difficulties and other health challenges.
Description: We describe a participatory digital storytelling (DST) research project with young people who produced 2-3 minute videos to foster critical reflection about their own stories, and discuss who they wanted to share their stories with and why. Digital stories can be used to educate and provoke audiences because they have an ‘afterlife’ that allows us to ask how others understand the story. We also consider a critique of DST as limited in its capacity to move beyond the individual narrative to evoke social and political change.
Matthews, N. and Sunderland, N. (2013). Digital Life-Story Narratives as Data for Policy Makers and Practitioners: Thinking Through Methodologies for Large-Scale Multimedia Qualitative Datasets. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 57(1), pp. 97–114.

Critical qualitative researchers pushing back and moving forward: Strategies for navigating the biomedical world
Presenters: Janet Parsons and Corinne Hart
Description: Critical qualitative health researchers typically occupy and navigate liminal academic spaces, with one foot planted in the arts and social sciences and the other in biomedical science. We are at once marginalized and empowered, and this liminality presents both challenges and opportunities. In this presentation we draw on our experiences of being (often the lone) critical qualitative health scholars on thesis advisory committees, examinations and/or review panels, to illuminate how particular discursive strategies and power and knowledge relations create micro- (and macro) aggressions that shape the nature of our roles and experiences. Then, with a nod to the collectivity we enjoy as part of the Center for Critical Qualitative Health Research at the University of Toronto, we share strategies for responding to the micro-aggressions visited on us when we stand our theoretical and methodological ground. We discuss how holding firm, pushing forward, and using our ‘outsider/insider’ stance ensures that critical qualitative research is not further relegated to the margins and its quality and integrity sustained.