Primary Health Care Research & Development

Research

Methods, strategies and technologies used to conduct a scoping literature review of collaboration between primary care and public health

Ruta Valaitisa1 c1, Ruth Martin-Misenera2, Sabrina T. Wonga3, Marjorie MacDonalda4, Donna Meagher-Stewarta5, Patricia Austina6, Janusz Kaczorowskia7, Linda O-Maraa8, Rachel Savagea9 and the Strengthening Primary Health Care through Public Health and Primary Care Collaboration Teama10

a1 Associate Professor and Dorothy C. Hall Chair in Primary Health Care Nursing, School of Nursing, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

a2 Associate Professor and Associate Director, Graduate Programs, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

a3 School of Nursing and Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, School of Public and Population Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

a4 Professor, Canadian Institute of Health Research/Public Health Agency of Canada Applied Public Health Chair, School of Nursing, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada

a5 Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

a6 Research Coordinator, School of Nursing, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

a7 Professor and Research Director, Doctor Sadok Besrour Chair in Family Medicine, Department of Family and Emergency Medicine Research Centre of the University of Montreal Hospital Centre (CRCHUM), University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

a8 Associate Professor, School of Nursing, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

a9 Epidemiologist, Public Health Ontario, Toronto, ON, Canada

a10 Names listed at http://strengthenphc.mcmaster.ca/images/stories/scoping_lit_review_2009.pdf

Abstract

Aim This paper describes the methods, strategies and technologies used to conduct a scoping literature review examining primary care (PC) and public health (PH) collaboration. It presents challenges encountered as well as recommendations and ‘lessons learned’ from conducting the review with a large geographically distributed team comprised of researchers and decision-makers using an integrated knowledge translation approach.

Background Scoping studies comprehensively map literature in a specific area guided by general research questions. This methodology is especially useful in researching complex topics. Thus, their popularity is growing. Stakeholder consultations are an important strategy to enhance study results. Therefore, information about how best to involve stakeholders throughout the process is necessary to improve quality and uptake of reviews.

Methods This review followed Arksey and O'Malley's five stages: identifying research questions; identifying relevant studies; study selection; charting the data; and collating, summarizing and reporting results. Technological tools and strategies included: citation management software (Reference Manager®), qualitative data analysis software (NVivo 8), web conferencing (Elluminate Live!) and a PH portal (eHealthOntario), teleconferences, email and face-to-face meetings.

Findings Of 6125 papers identified, 114 were retained as relevant. Most papers originated in the United Kingdom (38%), the United States (34%) and Canada (19%). Of 80 papers that reported on specific collaborations, most were descriptive reports (51.3%). Research studies represented 34 papers: 31% were program evaluations, 9% were literature reviews and 9% were discussion papers. Key strategies to ensure rigor in conducting a scoping literature review while engaging a large geographically dispersed team are presented for each stage. The use of enabling technologies was essential to managing the process. Leadership in championing the use of technologies and a clear governance structure were necessary for their successful uptake.

(Received May 03 2011)

(Accepted September 18 2011)

(Online publication February 16 2012)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence to: Dr Ruta Valaitis, Dorothy C. Hall Chair in Primary Health Care Nursing, Associate Professor, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, HSC-3H48, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4K1. Email: valaitis@mcmaster.ca

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