Research Fellow

Division: Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Dr Michele Harrison (DHeaSocSci; MA, DipCOT) 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.

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

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 working across inpatient and community health services with people with complex mental and physical health conditions, as a clinician, manager and leader. Throughout her career, Michele has focused on collaborative approaches when working with stakeholders from health and social care, third sector organisations, service users and carers to implement and develop evidence informed practice that meets the needs of the community 

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 an action research focused grant redesigning pathways for people with complex mental health needs who required rehabilitation.  The outcome has been the identification of optimal environments to support the rehabilitation of service users in hospital and community facilities, including the development of enhanced supported accommodation delivered by multiagency teams.

Michele is co-author of the Residential Environment Impact Scale 4.0 (2014) developed collaboratively with international colleagues, resulting in a psychometrically tested tool which is used in international practice contexts.  Michele’s doctorate focused on identifying the personal and environmental factors associated with discharge from hospital and identification of SDS needs for people with complex mental health analyzing linked national datasets. 

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.

Michele’s research continues to focus on the identification of features of the environment that support participation for people with complex mental health needs in hospital and supported accommodation. This includes determining the interactions between environmental factors and people’s participation related to specified levels of supported accommodation She is also keen to understand how the individual’s experience of support and accommodation impacts on their recovery.

Active Research Interests:

  • Physical and social features of environments: How environments impact on people with mental health issues participating in the things they need, like and want to do in their life.  This includes living environments and the spaces and places where people interact with others.  
  • Citizenship: How places support people with mental health issues to create and develop identities to support citizenship, capturing people’s experiences of what aspects of the environment/ places/spaces have been important to them as individuals in their recovery, and creating sense of self. 
  • Using the Model of Human Occupation to support systematic investigation into how environments support people with complex needs to engage in everyday activities that are meaningful to them. 

Research Methods:

  • Mixed Methods
  • Meta-analysis
  • Environmental assessment/intervention development


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

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.


  • 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