I interpret people’s experiences of life. I study how and why people ascribe meaning to certain phenomena across their life course, particularly with regards to their health.
This can include impressions of growing older, how people with chronic disease continue doing what they value, how people practice recovery after adverse health events, people’s understanding of ‘good’ and ‘poor’ health and the views of people as patients.
We should remember that not all data are numerical, and that science and stories can go together to help create unique evidence. For example, people’s wellness and un-wellness unfolds in stories. Making sure that people can voice their thoughts and opinions (quite literally) about their own health care and experiences of complex health settings is critical. I am passionate about using qualitative evidence-gathering methods to get to the real stories that people want to share - the stories that are often hidden behind graphs and percentages. Hearing from people about their different life experiences can be absorbing and moving and can go a long way towards positive interactions and connections between people and their health services.
I will always advocate for the importance and usefulness of qualitative approaches in research, so that rich nuanced evidence can be generated which helps us all to understand more about a broad range of health issues, treatments and interventions. I shall continue to conduct creative and rigorous qualitative approaches to research, to ensure that stories of health can be told from as many sides as possible.
Dr Meredith Tavener comes from a diverse research background, with qualifications in exercise physiology, health promotion, epidemiology and social gerontology, which all come together to inform her roles as lecturer and qualitative analyst with the School of Medicine and Public Health. Dr Tavener has expertise and training in applying qualitative evaluation methods, working with researchers and clinicians to analyse and interpret how people narrate and assign meaning to key health events. She has developed a strong reputation for her knowledge of theory and application of innovative qualitative methods - she conducts workshops on selected qualitative methods for students and staff and is asked to consult on qualitative research protocols.
Continuing to conduct and champion for, rigorous interpretive and critical inquiry of people’s experiences of health. By sharing people’s voices of what it means to be well, how health care decisions are made, how treatment is received, what influences recovery or relapse, and all the above – we will not only learn of ‘what’s the matter’ with them, but what matters to them!