Congratulations to Dr. Rachel Arnold in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) on the publication today of her paper ‘Why use Appreciative Inquiry? Lessons learned during COVID-19 in a UK maternity service‘ . This methodological paper is co-authored with Dr. Clare Gordon who holds a has joint clinical academic post at UCLan and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, with a focus on developing clinically focused stroke research, education and improvement. Clare is also a former BU Ph.D. student. Further co-authors from CMMPH are Professors Sue Way and Edwin van Teijlingen. The final co-author, Dr. Preeti Mahato, finished her post in CMMPH two days ago to start her Lectureship in Global Health at Royal Holloway (part of the University of London).
The paper highlights that selecting the most appropriate research method is an important decision in any study. It affects the type of study questions that can be answered. In addition, the research method will have an impact on the participants – how much of their time it takes, whether the questions seem important to them and whether there is any benefit in taking part. This is especially important when conducting research with staff in health services. This article is a reflection on the process of using Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in a study that explored staff well-being in a UK maternity unit. The authors discuss our experience of using AI,the strengths and limitations of this approach, and conclude with points to consider if you are thinking about using AI. Although a study team was actively involved in decisions, this paper is largely based on reflections by dr. Arnold, the researcher conducting the field work in the maternity services.