Building Effective Multi-Stakeholder Research Teams

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Building Effective Multi-Stakeholder Research Teams offers resources created to support all members of multi-stakeholder research teams in working together.

The website is organized into two sections, each of which addresses a key area for success as an effective multi-stakeholder team: Engaging Stakeholders and Working as a Team. Each section includes evidence-based information and resources for team members to learn new concepts and skills.

Browse Building Effective Multi-Stakeholder Research Teams

Research Fundamentals: Preparing You to Successfully Contribute to Research

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People new to health research or patient-centered research have many questions: What is patient-centered outcomes research? How does the research process work?  How can I be an effective partner on a research study?

To help answer these questions, PCORI's new on-demand training is designed for those who want to learn more about the research process. Research Fundamentals is a self-paced training that uses plain language to describe patient-centered outcomes research. It can help everyone, regardless of experience, engage and contribute with confidence. The modular format and downloadable glossary will help users quickly and easily apply what they’ve learned.

View Research Fundamentals

PCORI Engagement Rubric

How can researchers use the Engagement Rubric as a blueprint for implementing engagement strategies in the research process?.

PCORI's Engagement Rubric, developed collaboratively with our Advisory Panel on Patient Engagement, provides guidance on methods for engaging stakeholder partners throughout each phase of a research study.

The Engagement Rubric identifies opportunities for stakeholder engagement in the three phases of the research project—planning, conduct, and the dissemination of results—and is grounded in a set of principles that lay a foundation for equitable partnerships. It includes real-world examples of engagement strategies and activities drawn from our research portfolio. While not prescriptive, the Engagement Rubric provides guidance to applicants for PCORI funding about potential engagement approaches to consider.

Since 2014, when the Engagement Rubric was developed, it has become an influential resource as the practice of engagement has grown.

PCORI is in the process of updating and enhancing the Engagement Rubric. The next version will incorporate findings from evaluations of our research portfolio and practice-based knowledge to incorporate evidence-based guidance for meaningful engagement, broaden the spectrum of research partner involvement, and to more explicitly address the needs of different stakeholder audiences.

View the Engagement Rubric

Guide for Engaging with Research Partners about Data Analysis

Activities to Support Research Partner Involvement in Data Analysis and Interpretation

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Illustrations of people interacting with icons that depict data visualizations, data analysis, and bar and pie charts.

PCORI’s mission is to fund patient-centered, comparative clinical effectiveness research that can help patients and those who care for them make better-informed healthcare choices. Including the voices of patients, caregivers, advocacy groups, health system representatives, and others in study planning and design helps accomplish this. However, investigators are often unsure how to expand engagement during quantitative data analysis, interpretation, and results reviews. This uncertainty has led to an “engagement slump” that occurs during the data analysis phase in research projects.

To help close this gap, PCORI has developed a Guide for Engaging with Research Partners about Data and Analysis to prepare research staff to involve research partners in analyzing and interpreting quantitative data. The Guide will present concepts, terms, and examples that are specific to comparative clinical effectiveness research and patient-centered outcomes research methodologies. It provides a series of tips, resources, and activities to help research staff foster communication with partners and build their capacity to actively participate in data analysis and interpretation.

View/Download the Data Guidebook

Compensation Framework

PCORI’s Compensation Framework provides guidance for establishing fair compensation levels for patients, caregivers, and organizations. While it is expected that research partners are compensated for their expertise, time and contributions, researchers may have difficulty determining the appropriate levels and methods of compensation for varied contributions to the study.

PCORI’s Compensation Framework directs researchers to consider the intensity of partner involvement according to the activities and the roles and responsibilities of engaged partners.

View the Compensation Framework

Budgeting for Engagement Activities

When applying for PCORI funding, engagement costs should be included in the proposed budget. If awarded, PCORI will work with the principal investigator to finalize the study budget during the contract negotiation stage. Engagement components of the study will be reviewed as part of this process, and there will be opportunity to refine these details.

To help applicants incorporate engagement into their study proposal and budget, this document presents guidance to help researchers identify budgetary items associated with engagement within a research study.

View the Budgeting Guide

Engagement Plan (Updated Template)

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Effective engagement of patients and stakeholders in research requires a well-thought-out plan. Therefore, all applications for PCORI research funding must include an Engagement Plan that outlines how stakeholder partners will be involved in all phases of the study.

The Engagement Plan must be included in all PCORI applications to describe how the research team will be responsive to Criterion 6—Patient and stakeholder engagement—under PCORI's Merit Review Criteria for funding. The Engagement Plan is evaluated as part of the research award application in the merit review process to assess the patient centeredness and engagement elements of the proposed research study.

Many aspects of an engagement plan may change or evolve between the submission of the research application and the start of the study. These changes may reflect a refinement in thinking about the study’s needs and could result in changes to the composition of the stakeholders who are involved, the restructuring of advisory boards and governance committees, or the methods for engaging stakeholders and evaluating engagement.

Recognizing that engagement methods may evolve, PCORI awardees submit a more robust engagement design using PCORI's Updated Engagement Plan template within the project’s first six months. Sample updated engagement plans are available for PCORI awardees upon request.

PCORI Blog: Putting PCORI's Updated Engagement Plan Template to Work in Research

View the Updated Engagement Plan Template

Engagement Tool and Resource Repository for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research

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PCORI is committed to advancing patient-centered, stakeholder-engaged research and the meaningful involvement of patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders throughout the entire research process. We do this to ensure that the results of the studies we fund are relevant, trustworthy, and more likely to be used in practice. PCORI also supports the uptake of engagement practices and methodologies within the broader healthcare research community.

To encourage the spread of these practices, this searchable peer-to-peer repository contains engagement-related tools and resources developed and used by PCORI awardees. It includes resources that can inform future work in patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR).

View the Repository

Engagement in Health Research Literature Explorer

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Finding literature on engagement in health research can be challenging, because there are no standard search terms or language for describing what engagement means in this context. So, PCORI staff members have put together a searchable list of publications on engagement in health research, selected through a process described here.

This resource is sortable by article topic type, types of stakeholders engaged, and phase(s) of research in which engagement occurred, from identifying research questions to sharing study results. Articles are listed if they met our search and inclusion criteria.

View the Literature Explorer

Fact Sheets

Learn more about PCORI's focus on patient & stakeholder engagement.

Better Research Through Engagement
Find out what we mean by engagement, how PCORI engages patients and other healthcare stakeholders, and how we encourage others to do so.

Initiatives to Support Stakeholder Decision Making
Learn more about PCORI initiatives to build an understanding of existing evidence, comparative effectiveness research, patient-centered outcomes research, infrastructure development, and stakeholder engagement.

Engagement Challenges, Strategies, and Resources
Read about some of the challenges that are shared by awardees and stakeholder partners and those that are unique to each group.

Roles of Patient and Stakeholder Partners in Patient-Centered Research
Learn how researchers and partners work together to conduct patient-centered research

Research Done Differently
We're committed to a new approach to health research. Learn how it’s different.

Initiating Partnerships for Patient-Centered Research
Find out how PCORI shares lessons on the ways researchers can engage with patients and other healthcare stakeholders to improve patient-centered research.

PCORI in Practice Webinars

PCORI developed an ongoing series of webinars about advancing patient-centered outcomes research that are designed to:

  • Present examples of promising practices of meaningful engagement in all stages of the research process, featuring PCORI-funded researchers and other stakeholder partners
  • Demonstrate our unique approach to research done differently by highlighting our programs and initiatives
  • Feature PCORI-funded projects that address unmet needs of patients, caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare stakeholders in making personalized clinical decisions across a wide range of conditions, populations, and treatment options
  • Highlight the fundamental role that meaningful engagement of patients and other healthcare stakeholders plays in our work, and how you and your community can get involved

Please take a look at our archived webinars, as they provide both theoretical and practical guidance on planning and conducting meaningful patient and stakeholder engagement in the research process.


Posted: October 30, 2018; Updated: September 30, 2021

What's Happening at PCORI?

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute sends weekly emails highlighting results of our funded studies, newly funded research and engagement awards, opportunities to apply for funding, stakeholder workshops, and original feature stories about our funded projects.

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