Research Fellow

Division: Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Dr Michele Harrison (Dip, MA) is a Research Fellow in the Firefly Research Unit in the Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies Division. She is also a affiliate member of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences.

Michele qualified from Derby School of Occupational Therapy in 1990 and worked in the NHS in England for 20 years.   She has held a variety of clinical roles including inpatient and community mental health services and physical health services including rehabilitation and long term condition management. Michele also held leadership roles, focussing on implementing evidence based practice and service change with service users and staff teams.

In 2010, Michele joined QMU to take up an academic post within the Division of Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies. In 2012, Michele moved into her current research post within the Division. The initial focus of Michele’s work was action research focused on the redesign of rehabilitation pathways for people with complex mental health needs.  The outcome has been the identification of optimal environments to support the rehabilitation of service users in hospital and community facilities. Michele is co-author of the Residential Environment Impact Scale 4.0 (2014).  This was an international collaboration, resulting in a psychometrically tested tool which is used in international practice contexts.  She is progressing towards completion of her doctoral studies and leads an International group focused on environmental forms of rehabilitation.  

Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:

  • British Association of Occupational Therapists 1990 –present
  • Health and Care Professions Council 1990 - present

Professional Social Media:

  • Twitter: @MicheleH20 
  • Twitter: @MOHOInt
  • Twitter: @ResearchFirefly

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

  • Affiliate member of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences centre.

The current focus of Michele’s research is the identification of features of the environment that predict participation in daily life for service user’s with complex mental health needs in supported living environments. This includes determining the interactions between environmental factors and people’s participation related to specified levels of supported living environments. Her research focuses on identifying which personal and environmental features facilitate transition to less supported living options. In turn, this impacts on the development of optimal environments to facilitate participation and recovery for service users with complex mental health needs.

Active Research Interests:

  • Supported living environments and how they can be constructed to support people participate i.e., successfully do everyday activities that are meaningful to them 
  • Complex mental health needs within different environments and how this impacts people’s ability to participate (do every day activities that are important to them)
  • Participation in daily activity as a route to enhancing health.
  • Model of Human Occupation as a theoretical vehicle to support systematic investigation into how environments support people with complex illness to participate i.e., engage in everyday activities that are meaningful to them

Research Methods:

  • Mixed Methods
  • Structural Equation Modelling
  • Meta-analysis
  • Environmental assessment/intervention development

Michele teaches at post graduate level. This includes research methods, research informed service development, and complex chronic conditions including Mental Health, theoretical perspectives, models of practice, interventions and evaluation. Michele also routinely leads learning and development of multi-professional teams in context.


  • Invited Keynote speaker: Annual National Conference: COT Specialist Section: Housing, Glasgow: 2015.
  • International Mentor in Model of Human Occupation. Model of Human Occupation International Institute, Japan 2014.
  • Vice –Chair, College of Occupational Therapists – Specialist Section Mental Health Scottish Committee, 2013 – 2016
  • NHS Education for Scotland, Allied Health Professions Advisory Fora - Occupational Therapy Sub Group/Think Tank (2010-2012)


  • Highly Commended Award: Poster presentation. College of Occupational Therapists 37th Annual Conference 2013