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Measuring Return to Work

Disruption in the Workplace, Human Resources, Return-to-Work
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It is unusual to have a presentation about measurement given by a qualitative researcher. However, the open-ended nature of qualitative data means that qualitative researchers have a unique window on dimensions of work disability that are not measured or are poorly measured.

This presentation will provide a qualitative researcher’s lens on three main challenges found when researchers and stakeholders measure RTW: 1) RTW measures can contain misleading assumptions; 2) measurement of RTW is inconsistent; and 3) some important dimensions of RTW are barely being measured. At the end of the presentation, suggestions for improvement of RTW measures will be provided.

Learning Outcomes

To identify forms of evidence that provide strong indications of RTW,
What kinds of interpretation errors occur when counting RTW claimants
What dimensions of RTW are under-measured and discussed.


Ellen MacEachen, PhD
Dr. Ellen MacEachen's sociologically oriented research focuses on the design and evaluation of work and health systems and how they can be adapted to suit changing employment and socio-political environments. She has a special interest in vulnerable workers and how the growth of precarious employment conditions affect worker access to state security systems. In her research, she works closely with community partners and policy makers to ensure research relevance and improve research impact.

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