Research Practice and Methodology

Collection of articles on Research Practice and Methodology is available here.

Using Photovoice as a Method for Capturing the Lived Experiences of Caregivers During COVID-19: A Methodological Insight.
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Boamah SA, Yous ML, Weldrick R, Havaei F, Ganann R.
Int J Qual Methods. 2022 Dec;21:16094069221137494.
Although the extant literature identifies photovoice as one of the most innovative and creative research methods that encourage reflection and introspection, few studies have described the use of photovoice with family/informal caregivers. This paper discusses the implementation of photovoice as a novel approach in exploring the experiences of informal caregivers (n = 10) of older adults in long-term care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article describes the four stages of the photovoice process undertaken: (1) preparation; (2) pre-focus group meeting; (3) taking photographs; and (4) reflection and implementation insights, to researchers. The different stages in the research process inspired several key learnings, including the use of co-learning tools, the valuable combination of photographic images and words to provide rich description of participants’ perspectives, and creative ways to engage and support caregivers in sharing their stories. This paper also addresses some practical challenges of using this methodology with informal caregivers and explore issues surrounding research ethics and photographs. Knowledge gained from this case example provides strong support for the use of photovoice as a creative approach to better illuminate and understand the experiences of caregivers and can inform the design of future virtual studies.

Ethical analysis of vulnerabilities in cluster randomized trials involving people living with dementia in long-term care homes.
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Nix HP, Largent EA, Taljaard M, Mitchell SL, Weijer C.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022 Nov 26.
Cluster randomized trials (CRT) of non-pharmacological interventions are an important means of improving the quality of care and quality of life of people living with dementia (PLWD) in long-term care (LTC) homes. PLWD in LTC homes are, however, vulnerable in manifold ways. Therefore, researchers require guidance to ensure that the rights and welfare of PLWD are protected in the course of this valuable research. In this article, we introduce a framework for identifying vulnerabilities in randomized trials and apply it to three CRTs involving PLWD in LTC homes. CRTs may render PLWD in LTC homes vulnerable to three autonomy wrongs: inadequately informed consent, inadequately voluntary consent, and invasions of privacy; two welfare wrongs: risks of therapeutic procedure exceed potential benefits, and excessive risk of non-therapeutic procedures; and one justice wrong: unjust impact of research activities on care. We then discuss appropriate, feasible additional protections that can be implemented to mitigate vulnerability while preserving the scientific validity of the CRT. Corresponding additional protections that can be feasibly implemented include capacity assessments, substitute decision-makers, assent, insulation from LTC home employees during the consent process, patient advocates, utilizing LTC home employees for data collection, stakeholder engagement, additional supervision during study procedures, using caregivers to complete questionnaires by proxy, and gatekeeper permission. Reassuringly, many of these additional protections promote, rather than imperil, the scientific validity of these trials.

Time to Publication in High-Impact General Medical Journals Differs Between Female and Male Researchers.
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Sebo P.
J Gen Intern Med. 2022 Nov 23.
Female researchers face inequalities throughout their academic careers, including in medicine. Compared to their male colleagues, they are, for example, less often appointed to senior positions and are underrepresented as authors of publications and their publications are less often cited. Lengthy publication timelines can delay the dissemination of new knowledge, which could negatively impact patient care and outcomes. They can also harm researchers’ careers by delaying promotions or decreasing their chance of obtaining grants. To our knowledge, there are no studies that assessed whether time to publication is associated with author gender. We aimed to assess whether time to publication in high-impact general medical journals differs between female and male authors.

Academic nursing leadership: Lessons learned during a pandemic: A qualitative research study.
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Simonson N, Brown M, Klingbeil C.
Nurse Educ Today. 2022 Oct 31;120:105620.
BACKGROUND: In the wake of the pandemic and faculty shortage, strong academic nurse leaders (ANL) are needed to ensure quality education and professional standards are upheld while preparing future nurses. OBJECTIVES: This team explored experiences and perspectives of ANLs during the pandemic in order to better understand the difficulties they faced, their triumphs and failures, and lessons learned. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: This descriptive-exploratory qualitative study captured leadership experiences of 11 academic leaders from a large, urban, Midwestern college of nursing. METHODS: Three focus group sessions were conducted virtually using a structured question guide and content analysis of transcripts. RESULTS: Three themes emerged from analysis: Technology, Time and Change, and Well-being. Content analysis also revealed leadership strategies and “pearls of wisdom” offered by participants. CONCLUSIONS: ANLs faced many challenges during the pandemic that required them to remain steady and present, while practicing regular and effective communication to foster strong relationships. As higher education and healthcare environments develop more complexity and remain constantly changing, leaders must be strategic, emotionally intelligent, and innovative in their roles.