Engagement, Co-production, and Collaborative Meaning-Making: Collaboration in Qualitative Health Research (CfA, London, 7 February 2017)


The third UCL Qualitative Health Research Network Symposium, supported by the Wellcome Trust, will bring together researchers from around the world. Discussion will focus on increasing calls for collaboration between academia and the wider healthcare community in health research. This is largely driven by efforts to engage the public in the “co-production” of evidence-based healthcare and healthcare decision-making, as well as penetrate borders between disciplines.

Engaging all stakeholders in health care research is now a key requirement of funding bodies and the Research Excellence Framework. As a result, traditional “lone researcher” models of qualitative health research have shifted. Models now include research teams which increasingly comprise both qualitative and quantitative researchers alongside members of the public, health professionals, policy-makers and other stakeholders. In these ways, health research is assumed to be more relevant, ethically justifiable, and broadly applicable. However, such collaborations may be complex and may create challenges. To date, there has been limited critical consideration of these challenges and little is known about the assumptions and effectiveness of these collaborations.

For this symposium, we invite contributions that take a closer look at collaborative qualitative health research. We are looking to critically explore both the results of these research projects and the processes used to build and carry out research as a diverse team. We are also seeking to explore the ways in which qualitative researchers negotiate their roles within interdisciplinary teams and make contributions to interdisciplinary research.

While not limited to the following topics, we are particularly interested in reflections on:

  • What ‘collaboration’ has come to mean, and the ways in which the concept is growing in prominence
  • How collaborative relationships are established and embedded, and particularly how qualitative researchers are positioned in interdisciplinary teams
  • The production and reproduction of power differentials and inequalities in collaborative qualitative health research
  • How research designs, data interpretation and reporting are affected by collaboration
  • The role of the “lay researcher” and the extent to which they offer the views and experiences of the groups they represent, as well as how marginalised groups are accommodated
  • Examples of qualitative health research projects that are conducted in collaborative environments.

The symposium will take place 9:00-17:00 on Tuesday 7 February 2017 at UCL, Institute of Child Health, 30 Guildford Street, London, WC1N 1EH

We invite abstract submissions (maximum 250 words) from any discipline by 26th September 2016. Please email submissions to Gianina Harvey, including affiliations for all authors, and full contact information. Submissions will be considered for oral and poster presentations. Authors will be notified of acceptance by the 1st November 2016. All accepted abstracts will be published in BMJ Open.

Several national and international travel bursaries are available for students and early career researchers. When you submit your abstract, please indicate if you would like to apply for a travel bursary and provide a justification for the amount you are applying for.

Further details and registration opportunities will be circulated in November 2016. For any further information, please contact Dr Cecilia Vindrola or visit the symposium website.

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