Joanna Sale

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Health Research Methodology


H. Shannon


This thesis is based on 32 semi-structured phenomenological interviews conducted at a large Canadian ambulatory cancer centre serving 2.3 million people in Ontario. The primary objective of this program of study was to explore cancer care employees' perceptions of a Quality of Work-Life (QWL) Project where they were the subjects of research and their perceptions of clinical research where patients were the subjects of research. Three secondary objectives were to explore: (a) perceptions of the participatory approach to research from the perspective of employees on the steering committee of the QWL Project; (b) perceptions of the QWL Survey from the perspective of employees who completed the survey; and (c) perceptions of clinical trials from the perspective of nurses and radiation therapists who treated trial patients Findings had important implications for the conduct of workplace and clinical research in a cancer care environment. Some of the main findings included: (a) It may be difficult to conduct participatory research in a work environment given that power and a hierarchy of relationships interfere with employees being considered equal; (b) Many QWL issues presented by employees were not captured in the QWL Survey. QWL researchers need to ensure that QWL measures are pertinent to a particular worksite and encompass all meaningful QWL issues of a given work environment; (c) Ethical concerns associated with clinical trials suggested that the clinical trials department should review trial procedures; (d) Workload concerns associated with clinical trials implied that employees should be credited for their present involvement in trials; and (e) Clinical research was perceived to be more important than the QWL Project, party due to the perception that patient interests outweighed those of employees. In general, employees' perceptions of clinical and workplace research suggested that identification with the cancer centre as a clinical research organization contributed significantly to employees' QWL.

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