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Crowdsourcing feedback on research proposals

The power of crowdsourcing is transforming many activities and sectors, with great significance for public health.

And here is one more application that may be of interest to Croakey readers: Dr Kishan Kariippanon (who will be familiar to the #hcsmanz Twitter group as @yhpo and is self-described as an “e-public health blogger”) is crowdsourcing feedback to his PhD proposal.

Why don’t you him know what you think – either by commenting on his blog or on this post.

***

Crowdsourcing feedback on my PhD proposal

Kishan Kariippanon writes:

Seeking feedback for PhD proposals is common, but how many PhD proposals are posted online for feedback?

A quick search on Google using ‘PhD’, ‘proposal’ ‘feedback’ as keywords showed 2 available proposals posted online in the last year. Having made contacts on Twitter and through my blog Youth Health 2.0, I was curious where this process of crowdsourcing feedback for my proposal would take me.

My research aim is to study young people’s use of social media in the Northern region of Australia and to describe models of effective online engagement. The study will identify how social media can be used to improve the design and dissemination of health information to youth.

The motivation

In the practice of Medicine 2.0 (Eysenbach, 2008), collaboration, networking, transparency and apomediation are the foundation for today’s health research agenda and the fuel for tomorrow’s health care practice. In line with these principles, developing my research proposal had to incorporate elements of collaboration, networking and apomediation.

Feedback

Crowdsourcing brought out the quality of feedback in a way that challenges the notion of the expert opinion versus the opinion of the community.

The feedback is divided into the following two distinct groups:

Group A:

Feedback from this group was varied. It was evident that only a few had read through the whole proposal and were able to give relevant feedback, despite their busy schedules (for which I am most grateful). Some were happy with reading the headlines, sub headings, and comments from other readers, and this was reflected in their feedback, which contained some misunderstanding of the content of the research plan. All of them however were generally pleased with the aim of the proposal, liked the idea but suggested that I narrow the research down even more.

Group B:

This group responded with greater attention to detail and a demonstrated a better understanding of the topic of the proposal. Constructive feedback with practical steps to help me narrow my proposal down to a realistic plan for implementation, were provided. This group understood that there is “not a lot of solid evidence and therefore the study needs to be broad”. They suggested a list of books on research methodologies and articles that can help me improve my proposal. Along with comments on the blog, one member of this group even sent me a Word document with track changes and in depth recommendations.

Reflections

Having no prior research experience, it was a challenge for me to open and transparent, knowing that the quality of my proposal is a work in progress.

Now I have a better understanding of the challenges ahead and how I should prioritise my study. I have found interested people volunteering as consultants during my research journey (e.g. a working group separate to my supervisors). Overall this exercise has confirmed for me that sharing research ideas can be an innovative way to enhance the contribution of research towards the improvement of health care.

Some bio

I work for the Northern Territory Centre for Disease Control. Outside work, I am an active e-Public Health Blogger on youth health and social media. I have previously lived and worked in health care and communications in Russia and Timor Leste. I am a supporter and part time moderator of the #HCSMANZ weekly Twitter chat and am an advocate for participatory health care. My vision is to see young people as empowered consumers of health care with the help of social media.