Chaplaincy Research

Chaplaincy is a research-informed healthcare profession. The body of research on chaplaincy has been growing year on year, and chaplains are benefiting from insights published by both chaplain-researcher colleagues and others interested in understanding the relationship between spirituality and health.

Understandably, not all chaplains want to be researchers. However, all chaplains need to be research literate, able to read and interpret current research and apply the findings of good research to their own practice. This page aims to be a resource to help colleagues develop that kind of research literacy.

Look out for future developments to include online research literacy training on reading and assessing research papers.

The UK Chaplains’ Research Digest is a good place for College members to explore interesting new research. While being far from a comprehensive round up, it offers links to relevant research articles, as well as interviews and reviews that can help build research literacy.

Click here to jump to the most recent issue of the UK Chaplains’ Research Digest

The UK Wide Research First Digital Journal Club, which the college is pleased to support, is another way for colleagues to explore relevant new research. Below, you will find links to articles previously discussed in the Club, together with video introductions to articles that could stimulate research-related discussions among local teams.

Click here to jump to the Research First Journal Club

Click here to jump to the Pop-up Reflective Practice

This page also has links to Resources for developing research literacy.

Click here to jump to research literacy Resources

Research Digests:

Aimed at helping colleagues build their research literacy, the quarterly digest highlights research papers from the four main journals relevant to chaplaincy and spiritual care research: Health and Social Care Chaplaincy, Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, Journal of Pastoral Care and Counselling and Journal of Health and Religion. Additionally, the Digest also includes short introductory articles, book reviews and interviews with chaplain-researchers.

Video Interview

The Digest aims to interview experienced researchers, to learn about their work and from their insights. Click the links to access the videos interviews.

Research First Journal Club

The college is delighted to support a monthly UK wide digital journal club, organised as a joint venture by the CHCC and Free Churches Group (FCG) and supported and promoted by the Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Chaplains, NHS Education for Scotland, the Northern Ireland Healthcare Chaplains Association and the Paediatric Chaplaincy Network. The journal club provides opportunity to earn up to 3 CPD points accredited by the UK Board of Healthcare Chaplaincy (for full details, see the latest issue of the Digest or The Narrative).

Called Research First, the journal club meets on the first Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of a month on a rolling quarterly pattern. Future planned dates are:

  • Tuesday 6th February 2024: 10:00 to 11:15
    February’s article: Marishelle Lieberwerth & Alistair Niemeijer (2024) Lost and changed meaning in life of people with Long Covid: a qualitative study, International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 19:1,
  • Wednesday 6th March 2024: 12:45 to 14:00
    March’s article: van den Brink, B., Jongkind, M., Wijzenbroek, W. et al. (2023) The Experience Sampling Method: A New Way of Assessing Variability of the Emotional Dimensions of Religiosity and Spirituality in a Dutch Psychiatric Population. J Relig Health 62, 3687–3701.
  • Thursday 4th April 2024: 15:15 to 16:30
  • Tuesday 7th May 2024: 10:00 to 11:15
  • Wednesday 5th June 2024: 12:45 to 14:00

If you have questions about the journal club, or would like to receive diary invites for the sessions, contact

Recordings of Past Meetings

February 2023: Harvey, K., Brown, B., Crawford, P., & Candlin, S. (2008). “Elicitation Hooks”: A Discourse Analysis of Chaplain-Patient Interaction in Pastoral and Spiritual Care. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, 62(1–2), 43–61.

Research First Journal Club-20230202_151936-Meeting Recording.mp4

March 2023: Linda L. Emanuel, et al ‘Death Anxiety and Correlates in Cancer Patients Receiving Palliative Care.’ Journal of Palliative Medicine. Feb 2023.235-243.

 Research First Journal Club-20230307_100732-Meeting Recording.mp4

May 2023: Klitzman, R., et al.  D (2023). ‘Exiting Patients’ Rooms and Ending Relationships: Questions and Challenges Faced by Hospital Chaplains’. The Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling: JPCC, 15423050221146508.

Research First Journal Club-20230504_152524-Meeting Recording.mp4

NB – CHCC members have free online access to Health and Social Care Chaplaincy.  Instructions on how to register for access are in the Members Area (requires log in to view).

Pop-up Reflective Practice

Reflective practice is part of the Ten Essential Shared Capabilities described in the UKBHC Capabilities and Competences (2015) document. Similarly, within the Spiritual Care Competences for Healthcare Chaplains (2020) document agreed for Scotland, is recognised as one of four domains of healthcare chaplaincy competence. As part of the process of continuing professional development chaplains are expected to demonstrate the ability to reflect upon practice in order to develop and inform their professional practice. Reflective practice, as described by Mark Stobert, is a form of supervision that is underpinned by a reflective practice mindset. It uses the potential of ‘reframing’ situations to unearth creative responses to those situations and to develop new knowledge of practice for those situations. Over time it becomes a developing state of mind so that we can reflect in action, not just on action. These pop-up sessions are for anyone to join, but are particularly aimed at those in smaller teams who might otherwise struggle to engage in reflective practice.

It may be helpful to read through the participants guide before a session and this framework provides some background to Mark Stobert’s understanding of the reflective practice paradigm.

Dates for the first part of 2024 are as follows:

  • Thursday 25th January 2024: 12:00 to 13:00
  • Tuesday 20th February 2024: 09:00 to 10:00
  • Tuesday 26th March 2024: 12:00 to 13:00
  • Thursday 25th April 2024: 15:30 to 16:30
  • Tuesday 14th May 09:00 to 10:00
  • Monday 10th June 2024: 12:00 to 13:00
  • Tuesday 16th July 2024: 13:00 to 14:00

A reflection sheet for chaplains to use before the session to help think about what they might have on their mind and after the session to record learning can be downloaded from here (Word).

For more information or links/diary invites to session please contact Mark Newitt.