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Research and Innovation

CQ and its members encourage and produce high quality critical qualitative health research that have a transformative effect on policy and care in numerous health domains. Furthermore, CQ and its members develop methodological innovations that help explore the pertinent health issues of the day from a critical perspective. (To learn more about each series of contributions, please click through the links below.)

Knowledge Mobilization and Exchange

CQ provides a hub for knowledge mobilization and exchange of critical qualitative health research. Fellows, students, researchers and community members find value in the knowledge translation activities offered by the centre. 

CQ Fellows develop innovative methods and theories for knowledge translation and exchange:

  • Joan Eakin analyzed her own experience using political theatre as a medium for and vehicle of research knowledge dissemination and exchange. She published the analysis in a CIHR Case book on knowledge transfer, exploring its opportunities and limitations for social and organizational change.
  • Pia Kontos' knowledge translation framework, the Critical Realism and the Arts Research Utilization Model (CRARUM), combines critical realism and arts-based methodologies to facilitate theoretically informed qualitative and arts-based approaches to health services research. The combination of critical realism and the arts within the CRARUM model addresses the complexities of practice as a meaning-making activity; optimizes interventions for local circumstances; targets crucial factors in the organizational context that influence behaviour; and disseminates research in a way that captures the imagination of practitioners and engages them in critical thought. Successfully used this framework in two CIHR-funded studies; success in securing CIHR funding demonstrates the effectiveness of argument for the expansion of intervention studies beyond ‘whether’ the intervention is effective to include qualitative exploration of why, for whom, and under what circumstances it is effective.
  • Informed by the theory of tacit knowledge, Izumi Sakamoto conducted arts-based research to explicate culturally informed knowledge that is difficult to explain. Specifically, she collaborated with a theatre specialist to come up with a research method informed by theatre of the oppressed and drama therapy in exploring the notion of “Canadian experience” that is used to exclude immigrants from workplace and professional accreditation. 
  • Fiona Webster led the development of a five year framework guiding knowledge translation activities for the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and has been the Course Director of a module on KT for the Institute of Medical Sciences since 2011 that explicitly teaches students critical sociological critiques of the discourses of EBM and KT.

CQ fellows take up research results and apply them or assist community groups in applying them in a manner that promotes health and social equity.

  • Joan Eakin’s research makes an original contribution to knowledge of the stigmatization of workers injured on the job and its negative implications for recovery and return to work. This research was extensively taken up by injured worker groups and the labour movement in Ontario and has and is still being used by occupational health and safety labour-oriented activists in their efforts to remove and reduce inequities in work-related access to health. Eakin’s research has played a role in government policy debate and has been cited on numerous occasions in parliamentary Hansard proceedings, and in legal representations, submissions and appeals. Joan Eakin’s research on the nature and operation of front-line adjudication and case management services for small workplaces at the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board contributed directly to change in the policies and procedures of the Board. Dr. Eakin was a member of a collaborative community/WSIB committee directed to examine the sources of stigma and inequity for injured workers in their treatment in the compensation process, and which initiated a number of internal changes that sought to eliminate disadvantages for injured workers. One significant example of a research finding that was acted upon was the discovery of inequities in how employer and worker clients were regarded and treated at the Board - a finding that was made possible by the research methodology (observation, critical qualitative data collection and analysis).
  • Izumi Sakamoto's work around problematic notion of “Canadian Experience” resulted in a policy directive issued by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Fellows take part in innovative outreach, delivering qualitative research to the community and promoting a broader reach for qualitative research. CQ also takes part in the development of resources for knowledge mobilization.

  • Marcia Facey and Denise Gastaldo developed a Qualitative Health Research Video Lecture Series;
  • Paula Gardner created online resources for The Mobility Project;
  • Denise Gastaldo headed an exhibition at the Toronto City Hall in June 2012 and has an online publication on body-mapping. In the study involving undocumented workers in the GTA, a body-map storytelling technique, involving a series of drawing and painting exercises, was used to create life-size body images or “body maps” to help participants to tell their migration stories and visually depict the impact of being undocumented on their health and wellbeing.
  • Barbara Gibson has given numerous presentations to stakeholder groups including representatives of the Ministry of Health, consumers and their parents, clinicians, the Canadian Muscular Dystrophy Association, health administrators, and researchers in Canada, USA, New Zealand, and Scandinavia. The research was cited in two reviews of major contributions to the research investigating disabled men and masculinities and was cited in an international consensus paper regarding transitions to adulthood for boys with DMD.
  • P-C Hsiung developed a teaching innovation: Lives and Legacies: A Guide to Qualitative Interviewing; available as open-access courseware and linked to the CQ website;
  • Pia Kontos co-produced a research-based theatre production titled After the Crash: A Play About Brain Injury. It is based on a focus group study of survivors of traumatic brain injury, their families, and health care practitioners concerning experiences with the health care system, and day-to-day challenges and coping strategies. Also co-produced a film, Fit for Dialysis, based on qualitative research that critically examines the barriers and facilitators regarding exercise in older hemodialysis patients.
  • Janet Parsons' “Picturing Foster Care” employs a novel KTE strategy that incorporates a public exhibition of photographs and stories from three groups of stakeholders (young parents, child welfare workers, and health care providers) in order to facilitate cross-sectoral dialogue and public engagement on the topic.
  • Debbie Rudman was co-investigator on a SSHRC Aboriginal Research Development Grant that carried out a Photovoice project in partnership with First Nations youth and several Indigenous organizations which employed a Photovoice Exhibit to raise critical awareness of barriers to post-secondary education access and success  for First Nations youth in the London, ON area.
  • Izumi Sakamoto developed a play about Canadian Experience, called “The Theatre of Canadian Experience”.

Fellows lend their qualitative expertise to promote high quality methodological practices and fill methodological gaps in qualitative work:

  • Debbie Rudman acts as a member of the Research Advisory Committee at the CNIB that is providing input into approaches to examining service impacts and needs.
  • Izumi Sakamoto provides expert consultation to the Ontario Human Rights Commission Commissioners regarding issues of “Canadian experience”.
  • Fiona Webster led and contributed to the qualitative evaluation of many local and provincial projects, at the hospital and health care systems levels, including the Ontario Stroke Strategy.