Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Nearing the final stage - project update

Classified as: Project update - progress report, theory

Looking towards Mt Abrupt, from Dunkeld
The 'Promoting equity, sustainability and health' research project is nearing its final stage. I hope to complete data collection in June-July this year and finish writing up the thesis in mid-late 2015.

Key milestones in the research so far have been:

Stage 1
  • Ethics approval granted (Monash Human Research Ethics Committee September 2011, Alfred Health Ethics Committee November 2011)
  • Two workshops held by ISEPICH Primary Care Partnership (PCP) in November 2011 and February 2012 (notes and reports from these workshops form part of the project data)
  • Focus groups with 20 research participants from ISEPICH in November-December 2011 and February 2012 (over the course of the project there have been 24 research participants from ISEPICH in total, including 11 staff members from ISEPICH member agencies and 13 community members) 
Stage 2
  • ISEPICH PCP stopped supporting the project in July 2012, although individual research participants from the ISEPICH catchment continued to take part
  • Project amended to include participants from two additional PCPs, both in regional Victoria. Ethics approval for the amendments granted by Monash, March 2013 (No participants from Alfred Health in Stage 2 of the project to date)
  • Interviews and focus groups with 14 participants from ISEPICH and 15 participants from the other two PCPs in April - November 2013
I am planning to distribute a report and short survey to all research participants in June- July 2014. This will be the final point of data collection.

I hope to finish analysing the data and writing up the thesis by about July 2015. I also hope to write one or two articles for publication and give one or two conference presentations on the research during the next twelve months.

Data analysis
At present I expect the data analysis will take the following form:

Key content
  • Meanings of equity and sustainability
  • Principles for promoting equity and sustainability
  • Commonalities between promoting equity and sustainability
  • Actions - what have participants done to promote equity and sustainability, what have they achieved?
  • Barrier and enablers - what has helped and hindered them in this work?
  • How do the meanings, principles and actions identified in the project fit with, or conflict with, broader discourses in Victoria and elsewhere? What are the implications of this?

Theoretical perspectives
At the moment I think that the data analysis will be in three stages using the following perspectives (this may evolve differently in practice):
  • First level of analysis - Health promotion and action research theory
  • Second level of analysis - Social practice theory (possibly may also include some network theory analysis)
  • Third level of analysis - Social history and eco-feminist theory
In general terms this is an analysis that starts from the participants' point of view and then moves out to look at this from broader social perspectives. As this is an action research project the participants' point of view will always be central. Any research participants wanting to discuss this with me, please contact me directly through my contact details. Any member of the public who wishes to comment may do so through the comments section of this blog.

Note on "barriers and enablers"
The terminology of barriers and enablers is often used in health promotion but it does not seem to be very clearly theorised. Some literature suggests it derives from behavioural psychology, however in health promotion literature it seems to be used much more broadly, to encompass social determinants as well individual behaviour.  Some relevant references illustrating different ways of using the concepts of "barriers and enablers" are:
Burch S (2010) 'Transforming barriers into enablers of action on climate change: Insights from
three municipal case studies in British Columbia, Canada' Global Environmental Change 20: 287–297
Dodson EA et al (2009) 'Preventing Childhood Obesity through State Policy: Qualitative Assessment of Enablers and Barriers' Journal of Public Health Policy 30: S161–S176
McGuire, AM & Anderson, DJ (2012) 'Lifestyle risk factor modification in midlife women with type 2 diabetes : theoretical modelling of perceived barriers' Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing 30(1): 49-57.

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