BMJ Qual Saf 2012 Dec 25;21 Suppl 1:i22-8. Epub 2012 Oct 25.
Centre for Clinical Governance Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.
Background: A multicentre, multinational research study requires careful planning and coordination to accomplish the aims of the study and to ensure systematic and rigorous examination of all project methods and data collected.
Objective: The aim of this paper is to describe the approach we used during the HANDOVER Project to develop a multicentre, multinational research project for studying transitions of patient care while creating a community of practice for the researchers.
Method: We highlight the process used to assure the quality of a multicentre qualitative study and to create a codebook for data analysis as examples of attending to the community of practice while conducting rigorous qualitative research.
Findings: Essential elements for the success of this multinational, multilanguage research project included recruiting a strong research team, explicit planning for decision-making processes to be used throughout the project, acknowledging the differences among the study settings and planning the protocols to capitalise upon those differences.
Conclusions: Although not commonly discussed in reports of large research projects, there is an underlying, concurrent stream of activities to develop a cohesive team that trusts and respects one another's skills and that engage independent researchers in a group process that contributes to achieving study goals. We discuss other lessons learned and offer recommendations for other teams planning multicentre research.