Dr Alison Bravington

BA, BSc, MSc, PhD

Research Fellow

Role at Hull York Medical School

Principal investigator on The EPOC Study: Exploring pathways to optimise care in malignant bowel obstruction.

The EPOC Study integrates realist synthesis, visual interviewing methods, stakeholder consultation and patient and public engagement to explore and map pathways of care around malignant bowel obstruction. Its aim is to develop theory-driven interventions addressing the uncertainties surrounding the management of MBO, with a firm focus on the perspective of the patient.


I originally qualified in English literature and worked in book publishing as a writer and editor for fifteen years. I requalified in psychology in 2008 and subsequently took a Masters degree in social research and evaluation. My research career began at the University of Huddersfield within an applied psychology team using innovative approaches to theory-driven qualitative research. This focused on multidisciplinary collaborative working and patient and caregiver experiences in specialist palliative care evaluation, health care students’ experiences of multidisciplinary care during practice placements, and assets-based approaches to the evaluation of community health initiatives. At Huddersfield, I took an active role in the development of the Pictor technique – a diagramming method for qualitative interviews which facilitates in-depth reflection on health and social care practice.

This experience created a drive to develop expertise in diverse qualitative methodologies, with a particular focus on visual methods. I joined Hull York Medical School in 2012 to undertake my PhD, using photo-elicitation, situational analysis and constructivist grounded theory to explore how social context mediates recovery from primary cancer treatment. After four years working on cancer-related multi-site studies for the Academy of Primary Care using interviewing, stakeholder consultation, observational and survey methods, I moved to the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre in 2019.

My current work is with practitioners, patients and caregivers experiencing and managing malignant bowel obstruction (MBO), working with Dr Jason Boland and collaborators at the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre at Cardiff University to develop a patient-relevant core outcome set, and with Professor Miriam Johnson to explore person-centred decision-making in MBO treatment.


My research brings psychological and sociological perspectives to patient, caregiver and practitioner interactions and experiences in applied health care, and works towards theory-driven intervention development.

Funded Research Projects:

2021-2024 Bravington A, Johnson M, Boland J, Lind M, Murtagh F, Pearson M, Patterson M. Improving shared decision-making in malignant bowel obstruction: An exploration of context-specific treatment pathways and experiences to inform intervention development for person-centred care. Yorkshire Cancer Research TRANSFORM endowment fund. £210,701.

2022-2024 Chatwin J, Ludwin K, Jones D & Bravington, A. Understanding interaction in problematic dementia and social care encounters. NIHR Research for Patient Benefit. £143,060.

2022-2025 Walker E, Johnson M, Manthorpe G, Wray J, White C, Bravington A, Pearson M, Taylor P, Roberts H, Hussain J, Bothma J. Supporting, enabling and sustaining homecare workers to deliver end-of-life carea multiple methods community based case study. NIHR. £745,903.59.


Undergraduate (MBBS): Professionalism & ethics

Postgraduate (Taught): 'Using Behaviour Change Theory for intervention development' - Implementation science for advanced and chronic care (Postgraduate Module)


Dr Bravington's publications can be viewed here.

Academic papers

Baddeley, E., Bravington, A. (in press), Johnson, M., Currow, D., Murtagh, F., Nelson, A., Boland, E., Obita, G., Seddon, K., Noble, S. and Boland, J. (2020) Development of a Core Outcome Set to use in the research and assessment of malignant bowel obstruction: Protocol for the RAMBO study, BMJ Open.

Bravington, A. and King, N. (2019) Putting graphic elicitation into practice: Tools and typologies for the use of participant-led diagrams in qualitative research interviews, Qualitative Research, 19(5), pp506-23.

Johnston, B., Bravington, A., Patterson, A., Hardy, B., Wilson, E., Almack, K., Seymour, J. (in press) A qualitative evaluation from stakeholders of the Macmillan Specialist Care at Home service using the Pictor interview technique, Palliative Medicine.

King, N., Bravington, A., Brooks, J., Melvin, J. and Wilde, D. (2017) “Go make your face known”: Collaborative working through the lens of personal relationships, International Journal of Integrated Care, 17(4), pp3-14.

Brooks, J.M., Bravington, A., Hardy, B., Melvin, J., King, N. (2015) “It’s not just about the patient, it’s the families too”: End of life care in the home environment, Supportive and Palliative Care, 5, pp114-115.

Noble, B., King, N. , Woolmore, A., Hughes, P., Winslow, M., Melvin, J., Brooks, J., Bravington, A., Ingleton, C., Bath, P. (2014) Can comprehensive specialised end of life care be provided at home? Lessons from a study of an innovative consultant-led community service in the UK, European Journal of Cancer Care, 05/2014. doi: 10.1111/ecc.12195

King, N., Bravington, A., Brooks, J., Hardy, B., Melvin, J. and Wilde, D. (2013) The Pictor technique: A method for exploring the experience of collaborative working, Qualitative Health Research, 23(8), pp1138-1152. doi: 10.1177/1049732313495326

Kirkby-Geddes, E., King, N. and Bravington, A. (2012) Through the lens of social capital: An examination of people's experiences of community group participation in the context of a Healthy Living Centre, Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 23, pp271-285. doi: 10.1002/casp.2118

Book sections

Brooks, J., King, N., Bravington, A., Hardy, B., Melvin, J. and Wilde, D. (2017) The Pictor technique: Exploring experiences of collaborative working from the perspectives of generalist and specialist nurses, in Brooks, J. and King, N., Applied qualitative research in psychology, London: Palgrave.

King, N., Brooks, J. and Bravington, A. (2014) The Pictor technique: Exploring collaborative working in nursing, in Sage Research Methods Case Series, London: Sage Publications.

Postgraduate research supervision

Undergraduate (MBBS): Professional development and reflective practice

Postgraduate (Taught): Implementation science for advanced and chronic care

External roles

2012-2019 Campus Working Partner at the University of Huddersfield.


2019: Setting ‘survivorship’ in context: The role of everyday resources in cancer recovery, Seminar, Institute of Clinical and Applied Health Research, University of Hull.

2018: “You won’t get my buy-in with fear”: Co-designing a cervical screening intervention with women over fifty, SAPC North Conference (Society of Academic Primary Care), Kendal, UK.

2017: Do, delay or DNA? Attitudes towards cervical screening among women over 55 and the professionals who screen them, SEDA Research Group Conference, Hull, UK.

2017: How to consider the social and material resources of cancer ‘survivors’: looking for clues using photo-elicitation, Ca-Pri (The Cancer and Primary Care Research International Network) Conference, Edinburgh, UK.

2015: Picture this: Visual methods for reflecting on experience in undergraduate practice placements, Royal College of Nursing Educational Conference, Nottingham, UK.

2013 [Workshop]: Personal Construct Psychology, with Dr Vivien Burr, British Psychological Society QMiP (Qualitative Methods in Psychology) Conference, Huddersfield, UK.

2013: Pictor – An exploration of the visual analysis of multiple charts, Paper 4 of Pictor Symposium, British Psychological Society QMiP Conference, Huddersfield, UK.

2012: Making sense of work placement learning using visual tools and talk, How Learning Happens: Teaching and Learning Conference, Huddersfield, UK.

2012: Using visuals to reflect on collaborative working in health care, British Psychological Society QMiP (Qualitative Methods in Psychology) Conference, London, UK.

2010: Lens or blinkers? Some challenges in using social capital as a theoretical framework, with Nigel King, British Psychological Society Qualitative Methods in Psychology Conference, Nottingham, UK.

2009: “The essential thing is to bring people together…”: Participation in community-based activity groups and perceptions of community, with Nigel King/Emma Kirkby-Geddes, British Psychological Society North East of England Branch annual conference, Sheffield, UK.