Successful application for an MDHS Graduate Research Development Grant for the MSHS Qualitative Research Community of Practice

We are thrilled to announce that Dr Free Coulston, Dr Rachel Toovey and Jessica Lees have been successful in their recent application for an MDHS Graduate Research Development Grant for the Melbourne School of Health Sciences (MSHS) Qualitative Research Community of Practice.

A MSHS Qualitative Research Community of Practice (QualCoP) has been running un-funded since 2020, first established by A/Prof Louisa Remedios. Over this time, it has evolved to be a monthly gathering now facilitated by Dr Free Coulston, Dr Rachel Toovey and Jessica Lees. QualCoP sessions involve a ~40min presentation by methods experts, followed by a ~20min Q&A, and this format alternates with every second QualCoP session being a more informal "bring your challenges and questions" peer-support network.

collage - Free et al.

In early 2023, current members (16 staff, 3 graduate researchers, and 7 who had both roles) were asked to fill in a survey on their experiences with the MSHS QualCoP. All attendees anonymously rated these sessions as extremely valuable.

The MSHS QualCoP is open to ALL graduate researchers, and academic staff interested in, or using, qualitative methods or mixed-methods in health research. They also have a number of graduate researchers, clinician scientists and ECRs from partner organisations (e.g.- MCRI; RMH; RCH) that regularly attend.

$15,000 has been awarded to expand their scope of operations by designing a Qualitative Research for Health Sciences course (free for graduate researchers) and run a half-day symposium in Qualitative Research as part of the Festival of Health Sciences in the later part of 2024.

By developing a Qualitative Research Methods for Health Sciences course, a series of online modules in combination with the existing monthly Community of Practice meetings, QualCoP will be able to:

  • Provide information and training on qualitative and mixed-methods specific to graduate researchers in health sciences
  • Update this course over time by hosting recordings from presentations in the monthly QualCoP sessions
  • Fill a knowledge gap identified by current PhD students (and their supervisors) in the school
  • Make this course free for University of Melbourne graduate students
  • Charge a small fee to enrol for ECRs, staff and external partners to pay for subsequent iterations (beyond 2024) of the Symposium (below)

By implementing a MSHS Qualitative Research Symposium, a half-day of presentations and workshops with lunch and networking opportunities provided, QualCoP will be able to:

  • Bring together experts and learners from across the School, Faculty, University and the field of qualitative research in health sciences
  • Showcase and reward the work of graduate researchers/ ECRs in qualitative and mixed-methods research

If you would like to join the QualCoP, please email us or come along to the first 2024 session on Qualitative Evidence Synthesis, 20th Feb, 12-1pm, via Zoom.