Reflections on qualitative data analysis training for PPI partners and its implementation into practice

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Abstract

Plain English summary: Service users should be involved in every part of the research process, including analysis of qualitative research data such as interviews and focus groups. To enhance their participation, confidence and contributions, training and support for both the 'professional' researcher and lay member of public is essential. Historically this has taken a number of forms from short 1 day training sessions through to training spread out over several months. There currently is limited guidance on the quantity and content of such training sessions for Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Partners. This paper discusses and explores the content and delivery of qualitative analysis training held over two sessions of 3 h duration to members of a University PPI group. The training was designed by experienced qualitative researchers and PPI partners based on available literature and research expertise. Training included the theory of qualitative research methods, and practical qualitative analysis coding skills. These skills were developed through the use of 'mock' interviews which participants practiced coding in supportive group sessions. Their feedback on the training is provided. One of the PPI partners subsequently went onto code data with a researcher working on a funded research study, and has reflected on both the training sessions and the subsequent analysis of the data. These reflections have been supplemented by reflections of the researcher who worked alongside the PPI partner, revealing that the process challenged perspectives and helped them view data through a service users eyes. A positive working relationship was central to this. Background: Service users should be involved in every part of the research process to ensure that interventions are fit for those whom they are intended to help. Involving service users in analysing qualitative data such as focus groups and interviews has been recognised as particularly valuable. Older people have frequently been less involved in these initiatives. A wide range of training programmes have been proposed but there is currently limited guidance on the quantity and content of training sessions to support training Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Partners. This paper discuses and explores the content and delivery of qualitative data analysis training to members of a University PPI Group. Body: Existing literature on PPI in qualitative data analysis was reviewed by the research team and an outline programme was designed. This comprised of two three hour sessions held at an easily accessible venue familiar to members of the PPI group. The course included theories behind qualitative research methodology and methods, what is coding and how to code independently and as part of a research team using Thematic Analysis. A mock research question was generated and two mock interviews were completed, audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. This provided participants with real life experience of coding data. The session was positively reviewed and said to be interesting, enjoyable and provided a good overview of qualitative analysis. One of the PPI partners subsequently went onto code data with a researcher working on a funded research study, and has reflected on both the training sessions and the subsequent analysis of the data. These reflections have been supplemented by reflections of the researcher who worked alongside the PPI, revealing that the process challenged perspectives and helped them view data through a service users eyes. A positive working relationship was central to this. Conclusions: Feedback suggests that the training enabled PPI partners to become active members of the research team in qualitative data analysis. There is a need for further research into the optimal amount of training needed by PPI's to participate as partners in qualitative analysis.

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Cowley, A., Kerr, M., Darby, J., & Logan, P. (2019). Reflections on qualitative data analysis training for PPI partners and its implementation into practice. Research Involvement and Engagement, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40900-019-0156-0

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