Engagement, Co-production, and Collaborative Meaning-Making: Collaboration in Qualitative Health Research
Hosted by the Qualitative Health Research Network (QHRN) with support from the Wellcome Trust
In recent years, there have been 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 to include research teams which are increasingly made up of qualitative researchers alongside quantitative researchers, 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 by critically exploring 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.
We also seek examples of qualitative health research projects that are conducted in collaborative environments.
Date and location
The symposium will take place at UCL’s Institute of Child Health on the 7th of February 2017. Further details and registration opportunities will be circulated in November 2016.
Abstract submission
We invite abstract submissions from any discipline. Submissions should include an abstract (maximum 250 words), affiliation for all authors, and full contact information. The deadline for submission is the 26th of September 2016. All accepted abstracts will be published in BMJ Open.
To submit an abstract, please e-mail Gianina Harvey. Submissions will be considered for oral and poster presentations. Authors will be notified of acceptance by the 1st of November 2016.
Travel bursaries
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.
For more information on the symposium or questions about submitting an abstract, please contact Dr Cecilia Vindrola. You can also visit the symposium website.