#OTalk Research – 2nd February 2021 – Participatory Research

This week’s Research #OTalk will be hosted by Bev Goodman @OTBev, who is a PhD student and
part-time lecturer at the University of Essex.

I am currently working collaboratively with a group of disabled people as co-researchers to design and carry out a research project. Together we are exploring how disabled people’s participation in sport and physical activity could be evaluated in a more accessible and inclusive way. The project I’m involved with is Participatory Action Research, and it also draws on principles of co-production.

Rather than put a name on a specific method or methodology, this #OTalk is a chance to discuss any
type of research where issues are investigated by the people they most affect. Research is undertaken ‘with’, not ‘to’ or ‘on’. Rather than being a passive participant, co-researchers have control of the research process itself and can be involved in as many parts of this process as they wish, from determining the research questions to choosing methods and determining what counts as data, to analysis and dissemination (Koch and Kralik, 2006) .

Within our project we are drawing on our existing skills, experience and networks to develop our research with the hope of creating beneficial and meaningful change (Koch and Kralik, 2006; Bryant, Coetzee and Pettican, 2016) . This is a type of research that aligns with a community-based practice approach to occupational therapy. It also benefits from a wide range of occupational therapy skills and is congruent with our profession’s focus on meaningful occupation, client-focused practice, action and collaboration (Trentham and Cockburn, 2005; Kramer-Roy, 2015) .

There are many challenges to this approach; it takes time and it can be complex. Everyone involved must reflect on the decision-making process: what is being decided, by who and why (Herr and Anderson, 2015) . It challenges traditional approaches to research and aims to make change, so it is political – which can be both a challenge and a strength.


1) Do you have any experience of participatory research, as a researcher, participant or as a student writing about it?

2) How might the new knowledge produced from participatory research differ from the knowledge produced from other, more dominant and conventional, approaches to research?

3) What can our occupational therapy knowledge and skills bring to participatory research?

4) How might the knowledge produced from participatory research benefit the occupational therapy profession?

5) What are the challenges of participatory forms of research?

Bryant, W., Coetzee, S. and Pettican, A. (2016) ‘Designing Participatory Action Research To Relocate
Margins, Borders And Centres’, in Occupational Therapies Without Borders: Integrating Justice with
Practice. 2nd edn. Elsevier, pp. 73–81.
Herr, K. and Anderson, G. L. (2015) The Action Research Dissertation. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. Koch, T. and Kralik, D. (2006) Participatory Action Research in Health Care. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Kramer-Roy, D. (2015) ‘Using participatory and creative methods to facilitate emancipatory research
with people facing multiple disadvantage: a role for health and care professionals’, Disability and
Society. Routledge, 30(8), pp. 1207–1224. doi: 10.1080/09687599.2015.1090955.
Trentham, B. and Cockburn, L. (2005) ‘Participatory Action Research. Creating New Knowledge and
Opportunities for Occupational Engagement’, in Kronenberg, F., Simo Algado, S., and Pollard, N.
(eds) Occupational Therapy without Borders. Learning from the Spirit of Survivors. Edinburgh :
Elsevier, pp. 440–453.


The Numbers

17Avg Tweets/Hour
7Avg Tweets/Participant


#OTalk – 26th January 2021 – Anxiety and stress: what words matter to clients?

This weeks chat will be hosted by Sam Pywell, Lecturer in Occupational Therapist at the University of Central Lancashire  ‪@smileyfacehalo  

This year I am coming toward the end of a research project on anxiety and stress, and wanted to open up a debate which hasn’t been done before in our profession.  My research, which included answers from qualified occupational therapists in palliative care, has led me to believe there can be many ways to talk about anxiety and stress (regarding occupation) which have potential to impact clinical practice. Most importantly, we need to reflect on what our clients need and what words are important to them, and why. 

In rebuilding the world beyond the pandemic, with potentially more clients experiencing anxiety and stress and the option for remote consultations, it could be argued listening to the clients meaning and use of emotion words regarding their meaningful activities are even more important.  Even though telehealth has many benefits, several cues are missing within this environment compared to face to face (Srivastava, 2020).  Words, therefore, can hold significant meaning when considering what is said, and not said, within a therapeutic conversation (Archer et al., 2012).  Therefore when listening to a client (or colleagues) talk about anxiety and stress – what words have they stated and what have you assumed? 


  1. How do your clients talk about their anxiety and stress…what are their preferred words (and why?) 
  2. How do we help clients communicate their understanding and relationship of anxiety and stress with occupation (especially in a videocall or phone call) 
  3. What can we do to help clients when speaking about anxiety and stress? 


Archer, D., Aijmer, K., & Wichmann, A. (2012). Pragmatics: An advanced resource book for students. Routledge. 

Srivastava, R. (2020) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/14/there-is-a-poverty-of-body-language-in-telehealth-appointments-but-there-is-tenderness-too  

Thanks also to: The Institute of Social Psychiatry, UCLan, RCOT and OPC/ Major health conditions specialist section, the Elizabeth Casson Trust, The Constance Owens Trust, UCLan, Professor Dawn Archer (MMU), Dr. Hazel Roddam (UCLan), Professor Louise Connell (UCLan) and colleagues. 


The Numbers

1.739M Impressions
352 Tweets
63 Participants
15 Avg Tweets/Hour
6 Avg Tweets/Participant


#OTalk – 19th January 2021 – Creating an OT Service Twitter

This weeks chat will be hosted by Jade Nixon, and the BCHC Paediatric Occupational Therapy Team @BCHC_Childot

We are a team of Paediatric Occupational Therapists based in Birmingham, as part of the Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust. We have recently moved to virtual working during the COVID-19 pandemic and decided to set up a service twitter account to promote our new ways of working! Our #OTalk aims to create reflective thinking around the use of a service twitter account, including the benefits and possible barriers.

Twitter is a growing platform that allows for discussion around best practice and improvement of patient-centred care across the NHS and Social Care. As a free resource, twitter can be used to network with professionals across the World to expand learning, CPD or just as an information source. As a team, we decided to create a service twitter to make use of the existing Occupational Therapy networks to promote our service and to enhance our learning.

We would love to hear the opinions of everyone on twitter, to improve our understanding of the impact a service twitter can make, the benefits, the barriers, and how other social media platforms compare.
Thank you!


  1. Do you have a twitter account for your clinical team or follow any other services twitter accounts?
  2. Do you regularly engage with other service accounts on twitter (such as liking, tweeting or retweeting)?
  3. What do you believe are the benefits of using a service twitter account or engaging with one?
  4. Do you think other platforms may be beneficial for services to share on? How do these compare to twitter?

Post Chat

The Numbers

562.837K Impressions
263 Tweets
44 Participants
11 Avg Tweets/Hour
6 Avg Tweets/Participant


OTalk 12th January 2021 – Sleep and neurological conditions

This week’s chat hosted by Jennifer Crow @JenniferNCrow.

Questions will be posted by RCOT Neuro Practice @RCOT_NP

Sleep is essential for health and wellbeing, influencing our mood, behaviour and energy levels and underpinning our ability to engage in meaningful occupations (Tester and Foss, 2018). However, sleep is such an integral part of life that we can often undervalue its importance, until we start to have difficulties sleeping!

Many patients with neurological conditions experience sleep problems which can exacerbate other symptoms and impact on daily life (MS Trust, 2018, PDUK, 2019). As occupational therapists it is therefore important to explore this as part of our assessment and intervention.

The RCOTSS-NP long term conditions forum recently put together a CPD Short Course with RCOT – An introduction to managing sleep for people with neurological conditions. Therefore, we have been thinking about this area of practice and wanted to discuss with you whether this is an area you address with your patients, and if so, ways you are doing this.

Questions to consider:

  1. Do you ask your patients about their sleep?
  2. What is your understanding of the impact of poor sleep on engagement in occupations?
  3. What assessment tools do you use with your patients to help identify factors that may be impacting on sleep?
  4. What interventions do you provide to help improve healthy sleep with your patients?

• Multiple Sclerosis Trust (2018). Sleep. Available at: https://www.mstrust.org.uk/life-ms/wellbeing/sleep Accessed on 16.12.19
• Parkinson’s UK (2019) Sleep and Parkinson’s. Available at: https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/information-and-support/sleep Accessed on 19.12.19
• Tester NJ, Foss JJ (2018) The Issue Is – Sleep as an occupational need. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(1), 1-4.

Post Chat

he Numbers

969.511K Impressions
394 Tweets
66 Participants
16 Avg Tweets/Hour
6 Avg Tweets/Participant


Saying Goodbye & Leaving the #OTalk team

Hello, this is a quick post to let you all know that I am leaving the OTALK team. I enjoyed being part of the founding team and contributing to the cultivation of this fabulous community of occupational therapists and watch it become the vibrant and active community it has. I still remember the days when there would just be 2 or 3 of us chatting online and remember the people who said “it’ll never work” and how wonderful it was to see it indeed “work” and work very well. I will always be amazed at the opportunities that signing up to twitter and having a “chat” created for me and others – The brilliant friendships that came from it will last a life time and it has contributed to my clinical practice significantly.

Having said that, over the past few years I have needed to adjust my life and make changes to my commitments. I have had more of a back room role for some time now, however there are other projects I want and need to focus my time on. I live with Chronic Pain and self care is an important part of managing this well and so I have decided to leave the team and pursue other things. I hope to engage more as a participant and continue to be part of the learning. The current team are the most fantastic group of women you can imagine and we will remain great friends.

I will continue tweeting as @GillyGorry, and will be launching a new website and commence blogging again, likely sharing my crafting or health and wellbeing stories.

OTalk belongs to the community and is in good hands with the OTalk team and I know it will continue to flourish.



Work Life Balance

Gillian Gorry