Why the trial researcher matters: Day-to-day work viewed through the lens of normalization process theory

Dalgarno, Lindsay, Birt, Linda, Bond, Christine, Blacklock, Jeanette ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5845-3182, Blyth, Annie, Inch, Jacqueline, Notman, Frances, Daffu-O’Reilly, Amrit, Spargo, Maureen, Watts, Laura, Wright, David and Poland, Fiona ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0003-6911 (2023) Why the trial researcher matters: Day-to-day work viewed through the lens of normalization process theory. SSM - Qualitative Research in Health, 3. ISSN 2667-3215

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Researchers working in the field, the places where research-relevant activity happens, are essential to recruitment and data collection in randomised controlled trials (RCTs). This study aimed to understand the nature of this often invisible work. Data were generated through an RCT of a pharmacist-led medication management service for older people in care homes. The study was conducted over three years and employed seven Research Associates (RA) working in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England. Weekly research team meetings and Programme Management Group meetings naturally generated 129 sets of minutes. This documentary data was supplemented with two end-of-study RA debriefing meetings. Data were coded to sort the work being done in the field, then deductively explored through the lens of Normalization Process Theory to enable a greater understanding of the depth, breadth and complexity of work carried out by these trial delivery RAs. Results indicate RAs helped stakeholders and participants make sense of the research, they built relationships with participants to support retention, operationalised complex data collection procedures and reflected on their own work contexts to reach agreement on changes to trial procedures. The debrief discussions enabled RAs to explore and reflect on experiences from the field which had affected their day-to-day work. The learning from the challenges faced in facilitating care home research may be useful to inform future research team preparation for complex interventions. Scrutinising these data sources through the lens of NPT enabled us to identify RAs as linchpins in the successful conduct of a complex RCT study.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding: This is a summary of independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research Programme (Grant Reference Number RP-PG-0613-20007). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the National Health Service, the NIHR or the Department of Health.
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Science > School of Pharmacy
Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Economics
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Faculty of Science
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Institute for Volunteering Research
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Dementia & Complexity in Later Life
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Norwich Institute for Healthy Aging
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2023 11:30
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2024 03:25
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/91714
DOI: 10.1016/j.ssmqr.2023.100254

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