Sponsored by the Mental Health Commission of Canada

Dr. Deborah K. van den Hoonaard is a sociologist and professor in the Gerontology Department at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, NB, Canada. Former Canada Research Chair in Qualitative Research and Analysis, she directed the Atlantic Centre for Qualitative Research and Analysis from 2006-2015. She is the Social-Science Editor of the Canadian Journal on Aging.

Dr van den Hoonaard’s research focuses on the transitions people experience as they age, particularly women’s and men’s experiences of widowhood and baby-boomer women’s entry into retirement. Her approach recognizes that people are experts in their own lives and, therefore, invites research participants to explain their experiences in their own words and to focus on what is important to them.

She is the author of Qualitative Research in Action: A Canadian Primer (2012, 2015 Oxford University Press), By Himself, The Older Man’s Experience of Widowhood (2010, University of Toronto Press), and The Widowed Self: The Older Woman’s Journey through Widowhood, published in 2001 by Wilfrid Laurier University Press. She is currently writing new book based on research with a more recent cohort of widows. Van den Hoonaard regularly talks to community groups and the media about her research.

In partnership with her husband, Deborah van den Hoonaard has studied the experiences of Iranian Bahá’í refugees in Atlantic Canada. Together, they have authored The Equality of Women and Men: The Experience of the Bahá’í Community of Canada, which was published in 2006 and Essentials of Thinking Ethically in Qualitative Research (Left Coast Press, 2013).