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MMIRA Regional Conference Makes Unlikely Connections, Sparks Collaboration

June 25, 2015

After months of planning, collecting abstracts, a blind review and a selection process, Improbable Dialogues: Interprofessional Mixed Method Research Collaborations went off without a hitch on June 19, 2015.  The event was hosted by Nancy Gerber, PhD, Director of the PhD Program, and Joke Bradt, PhD, an associate professor, both in the Department of Creative Arts Therapies as a Mixed Methods International Research Association Regional Conference. 

The purpose of the event was to bring together researches from multiple disciplines to create new opportunities for collaborative research. It seems the goal was met.  “The wonderful thing that I saw, which was the goal of the conference, was that each session had two presenters whose topics may or may not have been directly related to each other, but what emerged was this amazing potential for collaboration,” said Gerber.

The presentations were as diverse as the speakers; some are Drexel University faculty, students, and alumni, and others came from as far as Nigeria.  The disciplines included creative arts therapy, medicine, public health, and education. 

The conference served as a meeting ground for people to come together and share ideas from their philosophical and theoretical perspectives, and then share their methodological approach using mixed methods to see what kinds of possibilities would emerge from those interactions.  “Numbers and narratives don’t always go together, and yet we’re looking in some cases to try and make sense out of that data in order to provide more holistic and in depth understanding of a particular phenomenon.  The purpose of mixed methods is that we understand not just the numbers, but why the numbers,” said Gerber.

“The association is very interested in those countries that are in more remote parts of the world where they can’t get out or they might be financially challenged, or not have the resources, yet they have some outstanding universities and scholars there who might be interested in this research,” said Gerber.  Two other regional conferences were held this year, one in San Antonio, TX and one in Japan.  The 2016 international conference will be held in the UK, and 2017 regional conferences are slated for Istanbul, Paris, and South Africa.