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Collaborative and partnership research for improvement of health and social services: researcher's experiences from 20 projects
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health. Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2281-4622
2018 (English)In: Health Research Policy and Systems, ISSN 1478-4505, E-ISSN 1478-4505, Vol. 16, article id 46Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Getting research into policy and practice in healthcare is a recognised, world-wide concern. As an attempt to bridge the gap between research and practice, research funders are requesting more interdisciplinary and collaborative research, while actual experiences of such processes have been less studied. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to gain more knowledge on the interdisciplinary, collaborative and partnership research process by investigating researchers' experiences of and approaches to the process, based on their participation in an inventive national research programme. The programme aimed to boost collaborative and partnership research and build learning structures, while improving ways to lead, manage and develop practices in Swedish health and social services.

METHODS: Interviews conducted with project leaders and/or lead researchers and documentation from 20 projects were analysed using directed and conventional content analysis.

RESULTS: Collaborative approaches were achieved by design, e.g. action research, or by involving practitioners from several levels of the healthcare system in various parts of the research process. The use of dual roles as researcher/clinician or practitioner/PhD student or the use of education designed especially for practitioners or 'student researchers' were other approaches. The collaborative process constituted the area for the main lessons learned as well as the main problems. Difficulties concerned handling complexity and conflicts between different expectations and demands in the practitioner's and researcher's contexts, and dealing with human resource issues and group interactions when forming collaborative and interdisciplinary research teams. The handling of such challenges required time, resources, knowledge, interactive learning and skilled project management.

CONCLUSIONS: Collaborative approaches are important in the study of complex phenomena. Results from this study show that allocated time, arenas for interactions and skills in project management and communication are needed during research collaboration to ensure support and build trust and understanding with involved practitioners at several levels in the healthcare system. For researchers, dealing with this complexity takes time and energy from the scientific process. For practitioners, this puts demands on understanding a research process and how it fits with on-going organisational agendas and activities and allocating time. Some of the identified factors may be overlooked by funders and involved stakeholders when designing, performing and evaluating interdisciplinary, collaborative and partnership research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2018. Vol. 16, article id 46
Keywords [en]
Collaborative research, co-production, healthcare, integrated knowledge translation, partnership research, quality improvement, social services
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-148982DOI: 10.1186/s12961-018-0322-0ISI: 000433968800001PubMedID: 29843735OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-148982DiVA, id: diva2:1218054
Available from: 2018-06-14 Created: 2018-06-14 Last updated: 2018-06-20Bibliographically approved

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Nyström, Monica E

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