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Applying a multicentre, interdisciplinary approach to strengthen the generalisability of qualitative dementia research: the experience and challenges faced by the MinD project in Europe

Lim, Jennifer NW and Niedderer, Kristina and Tournier, Isabelle and Almeida, Rosa and Harrison, Dew and Holthoff-Detto, Vjera and Ludden, Geke and van Rompay, Thomas and van der Voort, Mascha and Galansinska, Aleksandra and Smith, Tina and Lasada, Raquel L and Bueno, Yolanda A and Druschke, Diana and Ziebuhr, Berit and Zanasi, Michele (2021) Applying a multicentre, interdisciplinary approach to strengthen the generalisability of qualitative dementia research: the experience and challenges faced by the MinD project in Europe. Open Research Europe, 1. p. 64.

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Abstract

Background: Generalisation of findings is an important aspect of research and essential for evidence-based practice. While generalisation is common in quantitative research, there is a lack of generalisability in qualitative research. This paper presents the experience and challenges faced by the Designing for People with Dementia (MinD) project in meeting the requirements to strengthen the generalisation of findings on the lived experience of people living with dementia and their engagement to co-create designs to empower their everyday living. Methods: Polit and Beck (2010)’s strategies to generalise qualitative findings were applied: (1) replication in sampling; (2) replication of studies; (3) meta-synthesis of findings; (4) reflexivity and conceptualization; (5) immersion with the data; and (6) thick description. Results: While it is possible to increase the generabilisabilty of qualitative evidence through the replication of the sampling to attain a large, heterogeneous sample in different and multiple contexts and environments; implementation of sound and robust research; conducting in-depth analysis and interpretation collaboratively for emergent themes; and meeting the thick description requirement, there are challenges that the project team faced in implementing some of the Polit and Beck’s strategies because of the condition, namely dementia, that our participants are having. Other challenges faced were: the language and cultural diversity in the team; diverse work and organisational procedures; and the inter-disciplinary differences relating to the methods of enquiry, approaches and techniques to conduct research. These challenges will need to be identified and addressed at the start of the project with a strong leadership to ensure a seamless journey to complete the project successfully. Trust between the researchers and participants, and time to build this trust are critical to recruitment and participation in the study; these factors are of utmost important in research involving participants with condition such as dementia.

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