Research Philosophy

I work at a university. But I work for communities.

 My research is based on a deep commitment to and honouring of Indigenous research methodologies, premised on respect, reciprocity, relationships, relationality, ritual, responsibility, and relevance. I believe that research is ceremony, and that it can contribute to a process of reconciliation, if approached full of humility, hope, humour, and healing intentions. I am who I am as a researcher because of my relationships with others with whom I work, and because of the responsibility I feel towards rectifying past injustices and moving forward in new dialogical and intercultural exchanges, true co- and life-long learning, and the meeting of multiple ways of knowing.

My research philosophy is premised upon community-based, community-engaged, and community led participatory research practices that actively engage, and work collaboratively with, interprofessional and intercultural teams to meet local needs and priorities, to seek solutions to make a tangible difference in research, policy, and action. My overall research approach incorporates trans-, multi-, and interdisciplinary thinking to find innovative strategies for conducting qualitative and mixed-methods research. My research output is driven by the need to meaningfully engage individuals in the research process and to mobilize knowledge to action by ensuring that data are relevant and accessible to experts, research participants, decision-makers, and the general public.

My research program is situated at the intersection of place, culture, health, and environment. I bring a diverse range of training and background to my work, uniting expertise and experience in the social and health sciences, supported by philosophical and theoretical training in the humanities, to explore new avenues for scholarly research and practice. I am dedicated to working collaboratively with multiple stakeholders to identify community needs and priorities and to co-develop research programs that expand and enhance local capacities and create engaging and pertinent resources for the community, while simultaneously maintaining rigorous academic standards and producing scholarly publications.

I believe that research should be for public service and the public good; as such, my research responds to pressing social, cultural, and environmental needs, as identified and outlined by the people with whom I work. In addition, I believe that research with people should never be about extracting information; research should always productively support and benefit the individuals with whom and communities within which I work. In fact, I am happiest when I am working in partnership and collaboration with people on research that is important to them, fulfills a public good, and can produce results that are both usable and intellectually exciting.

Conducting research is a privilege and a responsibility; it has the potential to change lives, transform policies, and find solutions; it has the ability to contribute to evidence-based decision-making, and to illuminate new areas of thought, share new discoveries, and hold accountable those in positions of leadership; it has the ability to expand and enhance the capacities of those involved in the process, to foster social equity, and to create engaging and useful resources for end-users; it has the ability to change lives and improve life and, for all of that, is both a privilege and responsibility of the highest order.