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Using research networks to generate trustworthy qualitative public health research findings from multiple contexts

Nyirenda, Lot, Bruce Kumar, Meghan, Theobald, Sally ORCID:, Sarker, Malabika, Simwinga, Musonda, Kumwenda, Moses, Johnson, Cheryl, Hatzold, Karin, Corbett, Elizabeth, Sibanda, Euphemia ORCID: and Taegtmeyer, Miriam ORCID: (2020) 'Using research networks to generate trustworthy qualitative public health research findings from multiple contexts'. BMC Medical Research Methodology, Vol 20, e13.

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Background: Qualitative research networks (QRNs) bring together researchers from diverse contexts working on multi-country studies. The networks may themselves form a consortium or may contribute to a wider research agenda within a consortium with colleagues from other disciplines. The purpose of a QRN is to ensure robust methods and processes that enable comparisons across contexts. Under the Self-Testing Africa (STAR) initiative and the REACHOUT project on community health systems, QRNs were established, bringing together researchers across countries to coordinate multi-country qualitative research and to ensure robust methods and processes allowing comparisons across contexts. QRNs face both practical challenges in facilitating this iterative exchange process across sites and conceptual challenges interpreting findings between contexts. This paper distils key lessons and reflections from both QRN experiences on how to conduct trustworthy qualitative research across different contexts with examples from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Methods: The process of generating evidence for this paper followed a thematic analysis method: themes initially identified were refined during several rounds of discussions in an iterative process until final themes were agreed upon in a joint learning process.
Results: Four guiding principles emerged from our analysis: a) explicit communication strategies that sustain dialogue and build trust and collective reflexivity; b) translation of contextually embedded concepts; c) setting parameters for contextualizing, and d) supporting empirical and conceptual generalisability. Under each guiding
principle, we describe how credibility, dependability, confirmability and transferability can be enhanced and share good practices to be considered by other researchers.
Conclusions: Qualitative research is often context-specific with tools designed to explore local experiences and understandings. Without efforts to synthesise and systematically share findings, common understandings, experiences and lessons are missed. The logistical and conceptual challenges of qualitative research across multiple
partners and contexts must be actively managed, including a shared commitment to continuous ‘joint learning’ by partners. Clarity and agreement on concepts and common methods and timelines at an early stage is critical to ensure alignment and focus in intercountry qualitative research and analysis processes. Building good relationships and trust among network participants enhance the quality of qualitative research findings.
Keywords: Qualitative research, Research networks, trustworthiness, Generalisable research, Research guiding
principles, Research good practices

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W General Medicine. Health Professions > Health Services. Patients and Patient Advocacy > W 84.4 Quality of Health Care
WA Public Health > WA 20.5 Research (General)
WA Public Health > Health Problems of Special Population Groups > WA 395 Health in developing countries
WA Public Health > Statistics. Surveys > WA 900 Public health statistics
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Rachel Dominguez
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2020 14:15
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2020 14:23


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