AHJO: A qualitative investigation of well-being among staff at a Finnish university using art-inspired methodology, including workshops and individual interviews

Perkins, Marc; Ennser-Kananen, Johanna; Saarinen, Taina; Laihonen, Petteri. (2024). AHJO: A qualitative investigation of well-being among staff at a Finnish university using art-inspired methodology, including workshops and individual interviews. V. 10.1.2024. University of Jyväskylä. https://doi.org/10.17011/jyx/dataset/92715.

JYU authors
  • Contact person (yes/no)
  • Contact person (yes/no)No
  • Contact person (yes/no)Yes
  • Contact person (yes/no)No

All authorsPerkins, Marc; Ennser-Kananen, Johanna; Saarinen, Taina; Laihonen, Petteri

FundersFinnish Institute for Educational ResearchRehabilitation Foundation Peurunka


Availability and identifiers

AvailabilityContact owner

Publication year2024

URN identifier in original repositoryhttp://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:jyu-202401121216

DOI identifier in original repositoryhttps://doi.org/10.17011/jyx/dataset/92715

URN identifier in JYXhttp://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:jyu-202401121216

DOI identifier in JYXhttps://doi.org/10.17011/jyx/dataset/92715

Description of the dataset

DescriptionThis project used artistic-inspired qualitative methods to investigate factors that influence well- and ill-being among university staff members at a major Finnish university. The primary goal of the research was to identify factors that affect the well- and ill-being of university staff, exploring the different experiences of teaching, research, and expert- and-professional (often called "other") staff with an aim to finding measures that can be taken to promote communal well-being in university workplaces.

The study was conducted at a single Finnish university from 2022 to 2024. Main participant selection was guided by a two-axis selection matrix that aimed to obtain a diverse sample of the university’s staff. Participants were selected to obtain variation within university units (faculties, independent institutes, and University Services departments) and variation in position type (permanent/short-term contracts, full- or part-time hours, and teaching/research/expert- and professional-staff). Invitees were haphazardly/randomly selected from public department/unit staff lists, with preference given to those who were in the short-term, hourly, and expert- and professional-staff categories.

Twenty one separate individuals participated, reflecting a variety of campus roles (researcher, teacher, or expert/professional-staff) and a variety of employment terms (permanent to temporary). Three participants attended the mapping workshop (along with three researchers), three participants participated in pilot interviews (with practically identical protocols to the final interviews), and 15 participants participated in regular interviews. Participants were members of four different faculties and six other institutes / university services units; six participants were primarily teachers, four were primarily researchers, and eleven were primarily expert- and professional-staff.

To obtain rich reflections from participants, artistic-inspired qualitative research methods were employed. Participants could participate either in a group mapping workshop (N=3) or individual interviews (N=18). In the mapping workshop participants were provided with art supplies and invited to draw/paint items or a "map" that illustrated factors that affected their well- or ill-being; researchers participated in the drawing as well, and regularly prompted the participants for reflections and discussions. Interview participants were asked to choose between either writing a journal or taking/finding pictures that reflected their experiences of workplace well-being; interview participants completed these tasks before attending a 1:1 interview, wherein the researcher discussed the participant's created items with them. These interviews were largely guided by the participants, thus we term them "co-structured" instead of semi-structured interviews.

The data in this project include:

- Mapping workshop: Two pieces of artwork (originals and photographs of them), audio recordings, a transcript of discussions during the workshop, and a transcript of researcher reflections made after the workshop. These data contain personal information, and are not publicly available.

- Interviews: Materials provided by participants (journals and photographs, primarily), interview recordings, transcripts of interview recordings, and interviewer notes made after the interviews. These data contain personal information, and are not publicly available.

- Methods details: Our bilingual (Finnish and English) recruiting emails, prompting emails, and interview guides. These methods-related documents are publicly available with a Creative Commons license for open reuse in the related sub-project on AHJO methods.

- Advisory panel: We recruited a variety of staff from the university to participate in an advisory committee that helped direct the research project. This group met two times, and notes from the panel discussions were kept by a researcher and disseminated to the panel afterwards for verification. These notes are internal working documents that may contain personal information, and thus are not being released.

This project was known as AHJO: Akateemisen hyvinvoinnin yksilöllisen ja organisatorisen kehittämisen välineet (Individual and organisatory development of Academic well-being) while being run.


Keywords (YSO)experienced well-beingmental well-beingphysical well-beingwell-beingwell-being at workqualitative researchuniversity campusesinstitutions of higher educationstudies in an institution of higher educationstaffalternative methodsarts-based methods

Fields of science516 Educational sciences

Follow-up groupsSchool of Wellbeing (University of Jyväskylä JYU) JYU.WellApplied language studies (Centre for Applied Language Studies SOLKI)Multiliteracies for social participation and in learning across the life span (University of Jyväskylä JYU) MultiLEAP; 2021-2026. Formerly RECLAS

Do you deal with data concerning special categories of personal data in your research?Yes

Last updated on 2024-04-04 at 14:23