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Reflections on Using a Scoping Trip as Part of a PhD Research Project in Sexual and Reproductive Health, Ghana

By: Published: 2020 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases: Medicine and Health
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This article presents a case study for a scoping trip conducting as part of a PhD, exploring men, masculinities and emergency contraception and abortion trajectories in Ghana. The scoping trip was conducted over 3 weeks and involved expert professionals and a pilot focus group. Previous studies have highlighted the utility of formative research periods; however, this case study makes use of the more broadly defined “scoping trip” as an important element of postgraduate research. Conversations were decided as opposed to interviews, to reflect the need to use appropriate methods based on different individuals. This case study reflects on the pluralities of ethical approaches, interview types, and sampling techniques that can be more appropriate for a scoping trip. The conversations and pilot focus group were used to gain knowledge and insight into the context of sexual and reproductive health in Ghana. Snowball sampling and informal conversations with expert professionals were found as an excellent way to increase knowledge of a topic and contextually relevant insight. Overall, the scoping trip allowed for reflections on method choices, contextually important topics that reach beyond academic literature, and the positionality of the researcher. This case study also provides practical information and useful lessons learned for future scoping trips.

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