Partnership Lessons 9: Colombia Community / Police Meetings and Fliers with a Multifaceted Partnership

no treatmentsinformational fliers
police-community meetingsinformational fliers plus community meetings
  • An organically developed chain of command among RAs can create intrinsic motivation for them to take ownership of the project and rise up to managerial positions, but it can also leave gaps for PIs to fill in terms of RA management and coaching. As research teams think about striking the right balance between organic and rigid chains of command, they should consider the complexity of their projects, the benefits of providing RAs with a source of intrinsic motivation, and their own availability to (at least initially) take on managing and coaching.
  • If PIs seek to integrate qualitative work into their studies, they should consider mechanisms to provide RAs with both the training and structure needed to ensure fidelity to the intended treatment and the flexibility required to leverage on-the-ground expertise and rapport. Providing RAs with thorough and clear reporting requirements can assist PIs with making sense of the heterogeneity in the implementation of treatments. Ensuring RAs have discrete, well-defined deliverables can also help them manage the complexity of mixed methods research.
  • When PIs expect RAs to lead particularly multi-faceted projects, they should make themselves available via methods of constant contact such as WhatsApp, Skype, and email. Researchers may consider cycling points of contact to spread the time commitment associated with being available to RAs. They also may consider establishing specific points of contact between themselves and RAs to limit streams of communication and empower RAs to resolve issues locally, when feasible.
  • Face-to-face communications are critical to ensuring all members of the broader research team can work together cohesively. This may require not only ensuring that PIs meet RAs, but also ensuring that other service providers (such as liaisons with government entities and survey firms) interact face-to-face with the RAs to allay potential sources of friction and facilitate integrated teamwork.
  • When hoping to work with entities that face political challenges, PIs should anticipate that RAs may be tasked with overcoming a range of hurdles to ensure the project proceeds smoothly.
  • Building a team of independent RAs, particularly outside the US, presents tradeoffs which researchers should consider. On the one hand, researchers can hire RAs with the right skills while limiting overhead expenses. On the other hand, researchers should anticipate that their institutions may present bureaucratic hurdles to paying their overseas RA teams. Researchers should anticipate and prepare for these bureaucratic challenges.