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Case study: Factors influencing decisions about whether to participate in health research by people of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds: a realist review

Reviewing inclusion in research

As part of a Health Education England/NIHR Predoctoral fellowship , CRN West Midlands Research Nurse, Eleanor Hoverd (pictured) undertook a realist review for her Masters dissertation at Warwick Medical School, as part of a Masters in Health Research in 2019/20. 

A realist review is a way of synthesising evidence focussing on what works, for whom, how and under what circumstances. It is particularly well suited for complex programmes, or systems, such as the health and social care research system. 

As a Research Nurse, Eleanor was particularly interested in understanding what factors may influence the decisions of people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds to take part in research. Her experience of working in Coventry, a super-diverse city, and witnessing the under-representation of people from these backgrounds in research led her desire to advance knowledge in this area. 

To do this, she formed a group of stakeholders who became “content experts” in the review. They included colleagues from around the West Midlands as well as NIHR (Public) Research Champions. As this review took place during the pandemic, Eleanor conducted stakeholder meetings virtually which enabled better access for brining stakeholders together from across the West Midlands. 

Findings from the review indicated the need for a more inclusive research infrastructure that facilitates diverse participation in health research, through incorporating adaptive processes that support shared decision making within the informed consent process, and in the conduct of research projects. Eleanor was supported by supervisors Professor Jeremy Dale (Warwick Medical School) and Professor Sophie Staniszewska (Warwick Research in Nursing).

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