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    Evaluating research co-production: protocol for the Research Quality Plus for Co-Production (RQ+ 4 Co-Pro) framework.

    McLean, Robert KD, Carden, Fred, Graham, Ian D, Aiken, Alice B, Armstrong, Rebecca, Bray, Judy, Cassidy, Christine E, Daub, Olivia, Di Ruggiero, Erica, Fierro, Leslie A, Gagnon, Michelle, Hutchinson, Alison M, Kislov, Roman ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2525-7673, Kothari, Anita, Kreindler, Sara, McCutcheon, Chris, Reszel, Jessica and Scarrow, Gayle (2022) Evaluating research co-production: protocol for the Research Quality Plus for Co-Production (RQ+ 4 Co-Pro) framework. Implementation Science Communications, 3 (28). ISSN 2662-2211

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    Background Research co-production is an umbrella term used to describe research users and researchers working together to generate knowledge. Research co-production is used to create knowledge that is relevant to current challenges and to increase uptake of that knowledge into practice, programs, products, and/or policy. Yet, rigorous theories and methods to assess the quality of co-production are limited. Here we describe a framework for assessing the quality of research co-production—Research Quality Plus for Co-Production (RQ+ 4 Co-Pro)—and outline our field test of this approach. Methods Using a co-production approach, we aim to field test the relevance and utility of the RQ+ 4 Co-Pro framework. To do so, we will recruit participants who have led research co-production projects from the international Integrated Knowledge Translation Research Network. We aim to sample 16 to 20 co-production project leads, assign these participants to dyadic groups (8 to 10 dyads), train each participant in the RQ+ 4 Co-Pro framework using deliberative workshops and oversee a simulation assessment exercise using RQ+ 4 Co-Pro within dyadic groups. To study this experience, we use a qualitative design to collect participant demographic information and project demographic information and will use in-depth semi-structured interviews to collect data related to the experience each participant has using the RQ+ 4 Co-Pro framework. Discussion This study will yield knowledge about a new way to assess research co-production. Specifically, it will address the relevance and utility of using RQ+ 4 Co-Pro, a framework that includes context as an inseparable component of research, identifies dimensions of quality matched to the aims of co-production, and applies a systematic and transferable evaluative method for reaching conclusions. This is a needed area of innovation for research co-production to reach its full potential. The findings may benefit co-producers interested in understanding the quality of their work, but also other stewards of research co-production. Accordingly, we undertake this study as a co-production team representing multiple perspectives from across the research enterprise, such as funders, journal editors, university administrators, and government and health organization leaders.

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