Research Fellow

Division: Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Sylwia Górska (PhD, MSc OT, M.A. Psych) is a Research Fellow with the Firefly Research Unit in the Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies Division. She is also a member of Centre for Applied Social Sciences.

  • Overview
  • Research Interests
  • Research Publications
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Activities & Awards

Sylwia has been awarded a PhD in Health Sciences in 2018. In her doctoral research she explored the experience of dementia from the complexity theory perspective, focusing on issues of participation and adaptation (Exploring the experience of Dementia from a participatory perspective. From experience to theory and back again: realist explanatory theory building method). Professionally, Sylwia’s background is in Occupational Therapy (MSc, Queen Margaret University 2010) and in Psychology (MA, Warsaw University 2002). She has extensive experience working with people of various ages with chronic conditions (physical disability, learning disability, and mental health challenges).

Sylwia joined QMU’s Division of Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies in 2011 to undertake a research role. Since then she has lead research initiatives for and with older people inclusive of narrative research to understand the experience of living with dementia, evaluation Family Group Conferencing for people with dementia and their families, and evaluation of mental health services for older people. Currently she is leading “Making it CLEAR” (Community Living, Enablement and Resilience) (MiC) - a research initiative focused on resilience in older people. Sylwia has been active in national and international collaborations inclusive of the Mary Collaborative which developed assessment and intervention protocols for people with moderate to severe dementia and the Alzheimer’s Scotland AHP Dementia expert group. These initiatives both focused on building capacity for academic-practice partnership to promote excellence in Dementia care.

Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:

  • Health and Care Professions Council: November 2010 - present
  • British Association of Occupational Therapists and College of Occupational Therapists: November 2008 - present

Professional Social Media:

Research/Knowledge Exchange Centre Membership:

  • Member of Centre for Applied Social Sciences

Sylwia’s research is focused on older adults and their ability to participate in daily activity to support their health. Currently, Sylwia is leading a study focused on the validation of a resilience measure (Making it CLEAR questionnaire) for older people. This aims to investigate whether the level of resilience at discharge from the Medicine of the Elderly wards, as measured by the Making it CLEAR questionnaire, is predictive of hospital readmissions. It is anticipated that the research will allow the profiling of resilience needs at the point of discharge from acute care to inform development of future community based services with the view of enhancing older people’s resilience.

Active Research Interests:

  • Bio-psycho-social determinants of health and wellbeing
  • Experience of chronic illness and its impact on participation
  • Determinants of resilience and adaptation: complexity theory
  • Model of Human Occupation as a theoretical framework to support systematic investigation into complex interplay between a person, environment, participation and occupational adaptation

Research Methods:

  • Qualitative methods including thematic analysis, framework analysis and narrative analysis
  • Metasynthesis
  • Quantitative methods including: Psychometric analysis of measurement tools; Linear Mixed Effects Model with random intercepts for subjects (due to repeated measures)


Please see my research publications in eResearch – Queen Margaret University’s repository

Sylwia has the experience teaching at post graduate level. This includes sharing experience of post-graduate level education, research methods and research informed service development. Sylwia also routinely shares learning and development with her colleagues within the research team and with multi-professional teams in her practice context.

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