STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT NAVIGATOR | Dissemination, Implementation, Communication, and Engagement
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Online Communities

An online community is a group of people joined together on an interactive online platform for moderated discussion, the byproducts of which are analyzed using qualitative research methods. Online communities usually include themed discussion “threads” aligned to project objectives, but can also include features such as polls, surveys, tasks, diaries, activities, blogs and member generated discussions. They are fast, flexible and often inexpensive. Online communities can run from a few weeks through to several months, or even years.

far fa-dollar-sign fa-sm Budget (e.g. personnel, space, equipment) Low Medium High far fa-user-clock Time per interaction I expect to engage stakeholders for... An hour or less Half a day A full day far fa-calendar-check Number of interactions I expect to interact with stakeholders... 1-2 times Appx. 5 times 10+ times Engagement Purposes far fa-scrubber Identify and explore new perspectives or understanding far fa-scrubber Identify which topics are most important to stakeholders far fa-scrubber Develop research questions relevant to stakeholders far fa-scrubber Select outcomes and measures that matter to stakeholders far fa-scrubber Refine and help implement effective recruitment strategies far fa-scrubber Expand and diversify stakeholder outreach far fa-scrubber Investigate best ways to successfully implement a study, based on stakeholder insights far fa-scrubber Describe findings in ways stakeholders can understand and use far fa-scrubber Disseminate findings to relevant audiences far fa-scrubber Design strategies for translating research into practice far fa-clock Time Frame

Time per interaction varies; Weeks to months to carry out the full method

fal fa-tasks-alt Workload LIGHT MEDIUM HEAVY
Appropriate Applications More useful for: far fa-scrubber Quantitative and qualitative research far fa-scrubber Single research topic or multiple topics over time far fa-scrubber Understand perspectives and experiences oof individuals and groups far fa-scrubber Drive new approaches and innovation far fa-scrubber Improve practices and services far fa-scrubber Immediate feedback OR In-depth feedback over time far fa-scrubber Identify unmet needs far fa-scrubber Education and support Less useful for: far fa-scrubber One-time or brief engagement needed far fa-scrubber Engaging populations who have less internet/computer access or who may not be comfortable navigating on online platform far fa-scrubber Emotionally charged issues where online interactions might devolve to name-calling far fa-scrubber Technically complex issues or issues that cannot be quickly taught in an online format Key Characteristics Resources Needed fas fa-money-bill-waveMoney far fa-scrubber Platform development far fa-scrubber Monetary incentives for participants far fa-scrubber Recruitment costs fas fa-paperclipMaterials and Resources far fa-scrubber Online platform far fa-scrubber Team salaries fas fa-usersPersonnel far fa-scrubber Questionnaire/content design expert far fa-scrubber Data processor and/or analyst far fa-scrubber Moderator far fa-scrubber Programmer far fa-scrubber Qualitative analyst How To Create or adopt an existing online platform. Design questions/content for discussion. Invite the right participants to answer the research question. Devise ways to motivate participants.
  1. Monetary compensation, winning points in games, etc.
Monitor online discussion. Know when to stop - usually online communities become less active after ~4 weeks.
Considerations (Potential Pitfalls) Potential bias in selection of participants.
  • Not all populations may be comfortable using or have access to online platforms.
Reactions to discussions and body language apparent in focus groups are not visible. Difficult to determine veracity of declarative data and to interpret and classify statements. Consenting participants online may have special IRB considerations.
Examples References / Other Resources

The Stakeholder Engagement Navigator is a service of the Data Science to Patient Value Initiative at the
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

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