HIV, Breast Cancer and Vaccines

What Do High-Profile Cases Reveal About Stakeholder Engagement in Research?

Published in: Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research, 2016

Posted on RAND.org on September 22, 2016

by Stephanie R. Morain, Thomas W. Concannon, Eve Wittenberg

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of Comparative Effectiveness Research

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Research Question

  1. What do historical case studies of consumer engagement in health care related research reveal about best practices for designing engagement efforts and aligning them with intended outcomes?

Substantially engaging stakeholders in research involves making extensive changes to the full life cycle of research, from the initial stage of selecting research priorities to the final stages of dissemination and implementation. Recent scholarship has explored logistical and methodological challenges, including the time, training and resources required for engagement. However, inadequate attention has been given to the intended ends or goals of engagement — what do we want engagement to achieve? An examination of historical case studies can yield important insights regarding engagement and its intended ends. Using historical perspective methods, we explore how clarity about the ends of engagement can inform the design of engagement efforts and lead to better outcomes. We present several lessons for improving stakeholder-engaged research.

Key Findings

  • Failure to define the purpose of engagement activities and understand potential tradeoffs in engaging stakeholders may undermine the desired outcome.
  • Who is engaged matters; excluding relevant stakeholders can create a backlash and affect the research.
  • The processes used to engage stakeholders will influence outcomes.
  • Educating lay stakeholders on methodological concerns can enhance meaningful engagement.
  • Circumstances outside the research environment can affect engagement efforts.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.