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Determining Research Priorities Using a Modified Priority-Setting Approach and Principles of Participatory Action Research

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By: Katherine S. Bright, Carla Ginn, Elizabeth M. Keys, Meredith L. Brockway, Lianne Tomfohr-Madsen, Stephanie Doane & Karen Benzies Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health
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Abstract

Childhood development affects lifelong health and wellbeing; parents have the greatest capacity to create conditions that foster optimal childhood outcomes to help children achieve their full potential. Using a modified priority-setting approach and principles of participatory action research, we are exploring parent-identified pregnancy and early childhood research priorities in a three-phase research project. Community engagement is a central aspect of participatory action research, working together in an area of interest to make meaningful change; priority-setting involves engaging together with patients, researchers, and clinicians with a common condition to determine research priorities. In Phase I, we formed a steering committee with new parents (pregnant and parenting up to 24 months), knowledge-users, and clinicians. In Phase II, we engaged in survey distribution and research prioritization partnerships. We are currently in Phase III, analyzing data and disseminating results. With parents as co-researchers throughout this project, we are involving them in the identification of research topics, data collection and analysis, and determining and implementing actions resulting from the research findings. Together, we created a prioritized group of research questions that families, in consensus with researchers and service providers, believe will support their health and wellbeing. This research also helped identify engagement strategies that may contribute to sustained engagement of parents with health care providers, as well as researchers, ultimately supporting healthy outcomes for children and families. Ultimately, a top 10 list of research topics and questions that are important and meaningful to parents will be shared with interested parents, researchers, health professionals, and the public.

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Participatory action research

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