In healthcare, teams are essential in solving today’s toughest challenges. However, narrow disciplinary perspectives have limited our current understanding of how teams function in various healthcare contexts. Researchers often rely on traditional survey methods as their primary tool, which can prevent them from gathering comprehensive data. To overcome this limitation, sharing stories and narratives visually allows participants to create representations of their perceptions of team experiences and complex encounters using a variety of approaches. Despite the potential of this method, there is little empirical guidance on how to use it in health sciences research. To address this gap and provide guidance on using visual methods, particularly for analysing team function, we contacted researchers worldwide specializing in qualitative research methods. These researchers had published experience using visual methods. Over a year, three virtual, asynchronous brainstorming sessions were conducted with 16 researchers. The brainstorming sessions consisted of respondents receiving a survey with open-ended prompts to gather insight into the best practices for using visual methods. Researchers agreed that visual methods can gather implicit data, break down researcher-participant power dynamics, and improve a study’s accessibility to under-represented groups. It was highlighted, when interpreting drawings, co-analysis with the creator should be facilitated to mitigate biases and support interpretation. This use of visual methods can aid the creation of tacit and more nuanced descriptions of complex phenomena and improve team function through a deeper understanding and respect of each members’ needs/experiences/perspectives. Future studies should pilot visual methods with different healthcare teams to further investigate team dynamics and how findings can be used to optimize team function.


visual methods, qualitative methods, thematic analysis, research design, users' experiences, interdisciplinary, teamwork, work environment, group interaction

Author Bio(s)

Faisal Ahmed is currently a MD candidate at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine and completed his undergraduate studies in medical sciences at Western University. Please direct correspondence to mahme342@uwo.ca

Konain Ali is currently a MD candidate at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and completed her undergraduate studies in health sciences (BHSc) at Western University. Please direct correspondence to kali2026@meds.uwo.ca

Muskaan Mann is an incoming MD candidate and graduate of the Faculty of Health Sciences (BHSc) from Western University. Please direct correspondence to mmann66@uwo.ca

Shannon L. Sibbald is an Associate Professor at Western University with appointments in School of Health Studies (Faculty of Health Sciences), Family Medicine and the Schulich Interfaculty Program in Public Health. Her research interests focus on the implementation, spread, and sustainability of integrated models of team-based care for chronic disease management. She is also involved in research around patient and provider experience with their care. Please direct correspondence to ssibbald@uwo.ca.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.







To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.