CaHRU/LIH Improvement Science and Research Methods Seminar June 2019: The challenge of engaging organisations in survey research

Dr Coral Sirdifield gave the CaHRU/LIH Improvement Science and Research Methods seminar on engaging organisations in survey research. Here, she used an example of an NIHR RfPB funded study that she has been leading as an example to illustrate some of the methodological challenges involved in attempting to engage multiple kinds of organisation in survey research, and discussed some of the lessons learnt during this study.

The project used as an example was focused on mapping healthcare provision for people on probation across England. Those working on the project aimed to survey all Clinical Commissioning groups, Mental Health Trusts, Public Health Departments, National Probation Service local delivery units and probation approved premises, and Community Rehabilitation Companies in England.

In the seminar, Coral discussed advice and key themes from the research literature in relation to improving response rates, and how the team considered these themes and implemented these recommendations during different phases of the project. This included discussion around the role of gatekeepers, the recruitment process; resources, organisational culture and responsibilities; organisational change, and incentives. During the project, the team had used Freedom of Information requests as a final step in their recruitment process, and the pros and cons of this were discussed.

The team have recently published an article related to this topic: Sirdifield et al., (2019) Researching healthcare availability for probation clients: an illustration of methodological challenges and lessons in surveying organisations, British Journal of Community Justice, 00(0): 1-18.

This article presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research for Patient Benefit programme (Grant Reference Number PB-PG-0815-20012). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

By Dr Coral Sirdifield

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