Prof. M.N. Walton

Emeritus Professor Spiritual Care
Community / Care

Case Studies Project: What do chaplains do, for what reasons and to what ends?

The Dutch Case Studies Project (CSP) in Chaplaincy Care was launched in 2016 and will continue for a four year period. The aim is to produce and evaluate case studies that can aid in the identification of good practices in chaplaincy care. Characteristic of the project is the use of a set format and of consensus building in research communities of chaplains and academic researchers.The format includes attention to the influence of theory and religious position on the care process, to the identification of verifiable outcomes and to feedback from the client (system) and from other care providers. The research communities follow an appreciative and evaluative procedure for the sake of explicating theory, clarifying critical issues and developing criteria for good practices.

At present, six research communities are active, five of which consist of chaplains from a specific setting of chaplaincy care (general hospitals, psychiatry, elderly care, military or prisons) and one of which is mixed (rehabilitation, primary care, juvenile care, care for those with learning disabilities, etc.). Each community is led by one or more academic researchers, who together with other colleagues form a research collaboration group. In total more than 60 chaplains and 10 academic researchers are involved.

In the Fall 2017 number of the journal Health and Social Care Chaplaincy ( an explanatory article on the format and procedure were published along with an exemplary case study on moral injury. Use of the format and of the introduction for research or educational purposes is allowed on the following conditions: permission of the authors, source referencing and use of the most recent version. Feedback is invited and most welcome. Those interested in the Dutch versions can contact Dr. Renske Kruizinga ( or one of the coördinators.

Coördinators of the CSP are Dr. Jacques Körver of Tilburg School of Catholic Theology and myself. Research assistant is Dr. Renske Kruizinga. PhD researchers are Myriam Braakhuis (TST) and Niels den Toom (PThU). 

M. Walton & J.W.G. Körver (2017) ‘Dutch Case Studies Project in Chaplaincy Care. A Description and Theoretical Explanation of the Format and Procedures. Health and Social Care Chaplaincy 5.2, 257-280.

A.L. van Loenen, J.W.G. Körver & M.N. Walton (2017) Case Study of ‘moral injury’: Format Dutch Case Studies Project, Health and Social Care Chaplaincy 5.2, 281-296.