Alison Pedlar has broad applied research and practical experience in issues related to disability, aging, and leisure and recreation services in Canada. Her teaching and research activity focused on social policy, planning and development of human services. Much of her work was conducted within a participatory and collaborative research framework, and included community development work with older adults, individuals with disabilities, incarcerated women, and other marginalized populations. Her primary research program has been concerned with community, citizenship, social justice, and rights. In all her research, she was particularly concerned with bridging theory and practice, working extensively with community-based organizations and therapeutic recreation professional practice in hospital settings.
Alison served as Associate Chair for Graduate Studies for the department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research for the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo. She was an Associate Editor of the Journal of Leisure Research, Journal of Leisurability, and the Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health. She is a recipient of the University of Waterloo Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision.
At the time of her retirement in 2007 she, along with co-researchers, completed an extensive 5-year study with federally sentenced women in Canada, examining questions of employment, housing, and leisure faced by women as they planned for and began the process of community re-entry after release from prison.