Appreciative inquiry: A strength-based research approach to building Canadian public health nursing capacity

Kristin Knibbs, Jane Underwood, Mary MacDonald, Bonnie Schoenfeld, Mélanie Lavoie-Tremblay, Mary Crea-Arsenio, Donna Meagher-Stewart, Lynnette Stamler, Jennifer Blythe, Anne Ehrlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In this paper we evaluate the use of appreciative inquiry in focus groups with public health nurses, managers and policy makers across Canada as part of our project to generate policy recommendations for building public health nursing capacity. The focus group protocol successfully involved participants in data collection and analysis through a unique combination of appreciative inquiry and nominal group process. This approach resulted in credible data for analysis, and the final analysis met scientific research standards. The evaluation revealed that our process was effective in engaging participants when their time available was limited, no matter what their position or public health setting, and in eliciting solution-focused results. By focusing on what works well in an organisation, appreciative inquiry enabled us to identify the positive attributes of organisations that best support public health nursing practice and to develop practical policy recommendations because they were based on participants' experience. Further, appreciative inquiry was especially effective with public health policy makers and nurses as it is consistent with the strength-based, capacity building approaches inherent in public health nursing practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-494
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Research in Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Appreciative inquiry
  • evaluation
  • focus groups
  • nominal group process
  • public health nursing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Appreciative inquiry: A strength-based research approach to building Canadian public health nursing capacity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this