Choosing a study team

When developing a research study, selecting the study team is an important consideration. This will draw on decisions about whether multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, or trans-disciplinary working is involved in a project (see Chapter 9). Some studies involve either arts or health specialists, but with no effort to engage the other sector (see Table 10.8, level 1). This strategy runs the risk of important details of research design being overlooked or lower levels of

Table 10.8 The spectrum of options for choosing a study team

1

2

3

4

5

The study team consists of just arts OR just health professionals/ researchers.

No significant effort is made to involve people from other quarters in the research study.

The study team consists of professionals in arts oR health, but advice or consultation is sought from other quarters, e.g. artists offering opinions on the arts intervention, or health professionals/ researchers reviewing the study design.

The study team consists of arts oR health professionals, but advisers from other quarters are closely involved in important stages of/decisions in the study and monitor the progress of the project.

The study team contains a mixture of arts and health experts, but there may still be a bias towards arts or health in terms of numbers in the team, or time invested.

The study team involves a combination of both arts and health experts who are fully involved in all stages of the study.

rigour being selected, weakening results from the study. A level up from this involves a core team from one or other sector, but advisers being involved, either offering peer review (level 2) or providing closer advice at important stages of the project (level 3). This can reduce the chance of serious design flaws, but can still mean that opportunities are missed to maximize findings through weaker selection of measures, analysis, or consideration of important artistic or scientific variables. A stronger team would involve both arts and health experts, but perhaps with a bias towards one over the other, or one or the other being phased in and out of the research study as needed (level 4). However, the strongest team should involve a combination of arts and health professionals staying closely involved throughout (level 5). Often decisions about the size of a study team depend on organizational partnerships and the level of research funding available. Nevertheless, the decision not to involve equal input from arts and health experts has to be consciously and carefully made so that appropriate safeguards can be put in place to avoid jeopardizing the research (for more on safeguarding, see Chapter 8).

 
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