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Table 2 How to embed qualitative research in a trial

From: How to embed qualitative research in trials: insights from the feasibility study of the SAFER trial programme

• Ensure senior qualitative input as a co-applicant on the trial from the earliest stages [6]
• Include qualitative researchers as full team members from the outset [6, 46]
• Embed the qualitative research within the trial design, protocol and funding [25, 26]
• Provide sufficient resources for the qualitative research: this is important for parity of esteem, high-quality robust qualitative research and meaningful input to the trial [2, 6]
• Work from the assumption that both qualitative and quantitative data are essential for the trial and will feed into its development and conduct and its dissemination and eventual policy impact [6, 22, 26]
• Where possible, locate the qualitative research within the same institution as the trial team (ideally with geographical proximity)
• Establish regular meetings that enable the qualitative and quantitative researchers on the trial team to share the emerging findings and their implications for the trial, to coordinate data collection across the different workstreams and to develop a sense of a shared mission and shared goals [2, 6]
• Encourage and facilitate informal daily interactions that support collaboration, sharing of information and robust processes [2]
• Budget for infrastructure for shared IT provision (e.g. shared database management/development, shared secure servers for shared documents and databases)
• Recognise and acknowledge separate roles, responsibilities and expertise of qualitative and trial team members but allow for some sharing of tasks where appropriate and helpful (e.g. to ease bottlenecks and meet deadlines)
• Consider joint authorship of qualitative researchers and the trial delivery team on publications and other outputs
  1. This table combines key lessons from the literature (referenced) and insights from our practical experience on the SAFER trial