Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Connelly, Denise M.

2nd Supervisor

Moodie, Sheila T. F.


3rd Supervisor

Baskwill, Amanda


Loyalist College




Infants born preterm and low birth weight face health risks; studies demonstrate massage therapy (MT) promotes weight gain and earlier hospital discharge. A gap remains in understanding the role of massage in preterm care within Canada.

Research Methods and Theoretical Orientation – Part A

Case study methodology is proposed to examine the nature of MT as a healthcare intervention within an Ontario Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Constrained by a Master’s program’s two-year time limit and contextual challenges, the project could not secure support.

Research Methods and Theoretical Orientation – Part B

Introducing a retrospective pragmatic reflective approach, Part B examines factors believed to have contributed to the project’s outcome.

Results and Discussion

Retrospective pragmatic reflection enhances understanding of case study research considerations in complex organizations, offering insights for future researchers. Discussions include professional development and building research opportunities for TCAM providers.


This thesis advances knowledge on the use of case study research for MT in Ontario’s neonatal units providing valuable considerations for future research.

Summary for Lay Audience

Infants born before 38 weeks (or preterm infants) of pregnancy may be at risk of several health problems. These problems might affect how much weight they put on. Long hospital stays for preterm infants are expensive for the healthcare system. Some research shows that massage therapy for preterm infants can help them gain weight safely so they can leave the hospital earlier.

This study aims to investigate infant massage therapy as an option that could be used in Ontario neonatal intensive care units (NICU) for preterm infant care. The thesis will discuss why massage is helpful for preterm infants and then propose how we might carry out research to investigate how infant massage therapy is currently being implemented in an Ontario NICU.

The study was not able to be conducted as planned and the reasons why this occurred will be presented. A reflection will be included in the thesis that examines what might have been done in advance to be able to conduct the study. This will help other researchers learn how to design a study in the future so that it will be conducted successfully.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.