Table 1

Questions to guide reflections on power in health policy and systems research

Preliminary steps
  • Why are you (or the group you are part of) interested in asking these research questions?

  • Who do you expect will benefit from the outcomes of the research?

  • Who is part of the research team and how have you engaged with issues of positionality, personal status, and diverse disciplinary backgrounds?

  • Who are you intending to work with, and what individual, group, institutional or social dimensions of power may impact these partnership?

  • What voices or perspectives, particularly those of individuals or communities with direct experience of your research topic, might you be missing?

  • How will you address issues of representation in your work, whether in terms of study design or in terms of team composition?

Concurrent steps
  • What are the mechanisms for capturing dissent or alternative views in the research process, both within the research team and with research participants and collaborators?

  • When analysing data, how do you account for differences in power among and between research participants and researchers?

  • What types of dialogue and consultations can you offer within the research team and/or partners and how frequently?

  • Whose voices are loudest within the process and can you do anything to shift that dynamic?

  • How are you building adaptive learning processes into the research to take into account diverse perspectives and modify your approach accordingly?

Concluding steps
  • Who is included in the analytical process and are there opportunities to expand participation in ‘meaning-making’ work?

  • How will you communicate and share the outcomes of your research, particularly with participants/respondents involved in the research?

  • Are there mechanisms in place to broaden your reach beyond ‘usual suspects’ (ie, academic circles)?

  • Have you put into place any process whereby data can be stored/archived in the places where it was gathered?

  • Are equal opportunities given for authorship among the research team and/or with local collaborating institutions or individuals?

  • What format will the publication(s) take and is there scope for writing in languages other than English and/or translation of results into other languages?

  • What other formats may results be presented in other than peer-reviewed journal articles?

  • If the work is going to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, will the resultant article(s) be open access?