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  • Author or Editor: Femke Hoekstra x
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Authors: Femke Hoekstra, Heather L. Gainforth, and SCI Guiding Principles Consensus Panel


Conducting and/or disseminating research in partnership with potential research users is a popular approach to conducting useful and relevant research. Despite calls for guidance to support these research partnerships, evidence-based tools and resources remain limited.

Aims and objectives:

This study aimed to explore principles and related strategies for conducting and/or disseminating spinal cord injury (SCI) research in partnership with the SCI community, in order to gain insight into ways to support SCI research partnerships.

This qualitative study included ten semi-structured interviews with SCI research partnership champions. The interviews focused on participants’ experiences with SCI research projects that are conducted or disseminated in partnership, and related principles and strategies to work in research partnerships.

Participants mainly talked about principles related to: (1) the relationship between researchers and research users (for example, respect each other, avoid tokenism); (2) co-production of knowledge (for example, research user engagement early and throughout); and (3) meaningful engagement (for example, allowing flexibility). Examples of related strategies included attending collaborative conferences, research user engagement in refinement of research questions, training in research methods, and hiring people with SCI as part of the research team.

Key conclusions:

This qualitative study presents research partnership principles (norms) and related strategies (observable actions). This study can provide guidance for other researchers and research users who want to engage in (SCI) research partnerships. The findings of this study could be used to inform the development of evidence-based tools and resources to support future research partnerships.

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