Why use Appreciative Inquiry? Lessons learned during COVID-19 in a UK maternity service

Rachel Arnold, Clare Gordon, Edwin van Teijlingen, Sue Way, Preeti Mahato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Choosing the ‘right’ research method is always an important decision. 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 wellbeing in
a UK maternity unit. We share our key learnings to help others decide if AI will fit their
research aims, as well as highlight issues in its design and conduct. We 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 the first author, the
researcher conducting the field work in the maternity services.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Midwifery
Issue number28
Early online date19 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

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