The Rationales for and Challenges with Employing Arts-based Health Services Research (ABHSR): A Qualitative Systematic Review of Primary Studies

Article Summary by Umair Majid

We conducted a systematic review of 42 studies to identify the rationales for using arts-based research in health care. We found four rationales: (1) capture aspects of a topic that may be overlooked or ignored by other methods, (2) allow participants to reflect on their own experiences, (3) generate valuable community knowledge to inform intervention design and delivery, and (4) formulate research projects that are more participatory in nature. We hope that these rationales can aid health care researchers in understanding whether arts-based research approaches are appropriate for their research questions, and how to rationalize their use in proposals and manuscripts.


Umair Majid PortraitUmair Majid is a qualitative and mixed-methods research methodologist, implementation scientist, and health system performance specialist. He regularly works with health systems, government agencies, think tanks, and other organizations on intervention design, delivery, and evaluation, as well as measuring organizational performance. He has current appointments at McMaster University, University of Toronto, Sinai Health System, Hamilton Health Sciences, and Government College Pakistan, working on for example, improving organizational capacity for patient engagement in hospital and system strategic planning, improve the infrastructure and policies for maternal health interventions in Pakistan, informing policy formulation surrounding opioid abuse and misuse, and integrating the voices of marginalized populations in urban city planning for health and sustainability. Umair has a strong research methodological background, specifically in qualitative, mixed-, and innovative methods. He has developed guidelines for appraising qualitative health research as well as employing arts-informed approaches in health services research. Also, at McMaster, he holds appointments as a Curriculum Designer, Program Developer, and Instructor where he is teaching and designing courses on epidemiology, the Canadian health care system, pathophysiology, quality improvement, and performance measurement/management.

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