Written by: Marian Hurmuz

Last Friday, the first RRD PhD defence of 2024 took place! Kira Oberschmidt defended her PhD thesis, titled: “Who, When, How: Guiding the active involvement of stakeholders in eHealth Action Research”. Action Research (AR) is a collaborative research approach in which stakeholders play an active role as co-researchers. AR fits the context of eHealth research well, as its key elements can hopefully ensure a better match between the technology being developed or implemented and the needs of relevant stakeholders. Ideally, stakeholders should take on a very active role and shape the research. However, oftentimes, neither the researcher nor the stakeholders are used to working in this way. Therefore, support is needed in terms of sharing knowledge, best practices and lessons learned between projects. Yet, in AR publications explicit reflection and description of these lessons learned is often missing. This makes it difficult for AR projects to learn from each other. Kira has dedicated her PhD to provide guidance for researchers setting up their project, and specifically to support the active involvement of stakeholders. She developed a framework on stakeholder involvement in eHealth AR projects. On Friday the 19th of January (2024), she defended her thesis, which you can find here.

Kira’s thesis covers the following topics:

  • Reviewing literature to identify what is currently known about AR in eHealth projects (context of these projects, definition of AR, how to conduct AR, best practices and lessons learned from AR in eHealth projects).
  • Studying novice action researchers’ attitude towards AR.
  • Investigating how champions see their role and whether this changes over the course of AR projects.
  • Investigating the motivation of stakeholders participation in long-term, time-consuming research projects like AR.
  • Identifying how to involve participants unplanned and spontaneously.
  • Studying the alignment of interests and needs of different stakeholders in a project, in terms of what they want to achieve from the project.
  • Providing a structured way for researchers to reflect together with project partners
  • Investigating the important elements of stakeholder skill training to enable them to be involved and to enable them to interact with each other.
  • Describing an iterative method to involve patients, their perspectives and lived experiences in research

Taking into account all the recommendations made in her thesis, Kira developed a framework for stakeholder engagement in eHealth AO projects. This framework describes important issues to consider in such a project. Her framework is available on our website: https://www.rrd.nl/ar-framework/

We are very proud of Kira and her hard work at RRD! And we are happy that Kira continues working at RRD for the next steps in her career!

20240119 PhD Kira (4)
20240119 PhD Kira (25)