Getting and keeping your stakeholders on board – tips from the “battle” ground

By Ewelina Rogozińska

You passed the first stage, you have your protocol in place, you’ve gone through publications, extracted numerous outcomes and you are almost ready to send your polished survey around to all relevant stakeholders. But how to find them? Where and how to recruit them? And last but not least, how to retain them in your survey?

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Below we share some tips on recruitment and keeping stakeholders engaged in the projects aiming to develop core outcome sets, based on the experience of those who have already gone through all the hurdles.

Where to find your stakeholders?

  • Websites of organisations promoting particular health issues, health related blogs for patients and lay representatives, and the social media of partner charities or professional societies.
  • Professional organisations for clinicians and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, clinical psychologists, etc.
  • Professional journals and profession-specific medical speciality websites.
  • National meetings, academic publications and academic organisations for academics, researchers and those involved in data collection.

How to recruit?

  • A simple pitch – write a brief introduction about the importance of your project and its relevance. Use simple words, such as: ‘help us improve the research’.
  • Add your photo and signature – people like to see the human aspect of research and tend to respond better to what they can relate to.
  • Short messages – when asking your stakeholders to participate, provide them with brief and clear options, for example ‘YES / NOthis strong statement provides unambiguous consent and improves compliance’.
  • Existing networks – ask the stakeholders that are already on board to recruit for you if they have a good contact network.
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How to keep them engaged?

  • A gentle nudge rather than getting the input at all cost ─ send reminders up to 3 times as people are busy and sometimes need reminders before they go to action
  • I scratch your back, you scratch mine – offer to promote them when disseminating your findings. Regardless of whether your stakeholder is a clinician, lay person or journal editor, it is always beneficial to be associated with research especially a project leading to improvement of research standards.
  • Keep them informed about the process of the project and share your results, as your stakeholders are also fantastic research dissemination channels!

Thank you to Janneke, David and James for their contribution to this post.

Posted in Researcher Perspective