Researching Resilience

Researching Resilience

Presented by Dr. Michael Ungar and Dr. Linda Liebenberg from April 28th – May 2nd, 2014, this workshop provided a comprehensive review of resilience theory as well as theoretical and methodological approaches (both quantitative and qualitative) to investigate the phenomenon across cultures and contexts. The workshop was designed to equip researchers in academic, government and NGO sectors, as well as graduate students, with the skills and tools to study resilience as a process across lifespans.

The workshop used international examples from the work of the Resilience Research Centre to illustrate the research process in action. Participants explored strategies that resilience researchers can use, as well as the challenges they face when working with vulnerable populations. Participants brought their own research questions and used the workshop to elaborate a research design tailored to their needs.

Workshop Objectives

The workshop began with five days of training that integrated a mixed methods approach to the study of resilience. Participants learned to assess the benefits of using either qualitative or quantitative methods for their research and combining the use of both when appropriate.

The workshop addressed all aspects of research, which include:

  • Choosing relevant methods to research with vulnerable individuals, families and communities.
  • The ethics of studying well-being in adverse contexts, such as in communities that face challenges with social justice and participation
  • Collaborative research design
  • Proposal development
  • Sampling and the challenge of finding comparison and control groups
  • Gathering cross-sectional and longitudinal quantitative data, as well as exploring different sources of qualitative data
  • Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods data analysis as it relates to researching resilience
  • Reporting findings
  • Knowledge mobilization that engages stakeholders and impacts policy
  • Problems to researching resilience that arise in real-world settings (e.g. remote northern communities, jails, poor urban centres, communities affected by war, etc.)